If you love gardening and visiting established gardens then Mottistone Gardens, with their semi tropical planting, are a must see on your holiday itinerary. And if you’re a Benedict Cumberbatch fan then you have to come, as this was the setting for his and Sophie’s wedding reception on Valentine’s Day 2015.
Bequeathed to the National Trust by owner John Seely in 1965, Mottistone Manor has long term tenants, but the gardens are open to the public. Surrounding the Elizabethan manor house on three sides, entry to the garden is via a huge tiled barn, which has a well-stocked gift shop.
The National Trust have selected Mottistone as an experiment to see which varieties of plants will grow in our changing climate and the result in the front garden is quite astounding, including bananas - did you know that they are in fact not trees but herbaceous perennials, originating in subtropical southern China (Musa Basjoo), Cistus rock roses from the Mediterranean. A variety of plants from Australia and New Zealand, including, Acacia baileyana (Cootamundra Wattle), Callistemons (Bottle Brush), Leptospermum from New Zealand, Phormiums (New Zealand Flax) many different varieties in the monocot border Pittosporums (Kohuhu trees from New Zealand) and not forgetting the feathery leaved Restios from Africa and Beschorneria succulents from Mexico.
Behind the house are the heavenly scented rose garden and the colourful herbaceous borders, both enclosed by a deep green yew hedge. Nearby the organic vegetable garden has soft fruits and healthy veg, scattered with soft scented sweet peas. And in the spring there are blankets of snowdrops, daffodils, primroses and bluebells.
Next to the tea garden (which serves freshly made dishes) you’ll find the old architects office, known as ‘The Shack’. A semi retreat for its designers and owners the architects Seely and Paget, the hard wood-clad interior in its 1930s splendour is just as it would have been then, and is dressed to give the illusion that the two gentlemen have just stepped out.
Sadly you cannot have your wedding reception here – Sophie is related to the former owners, which was why she and Benedict were given permission – but you can have a fabulous day out.
- open Sunday to Thursday only from 10 March to 31 October
- generally opens at 10:30 - please check the calendar on the left for specific days and times
- 30 minutes before closing time, it will close at dusk if this is earlier
- free large car park
- mobility spaces in the car park, drop off facility at the front gate
- grounds are partly accessible
- service dogs are welcome
- kids can find the hidden flowerpot people within the garden like Nanny McPea and Captain Jack Marrow
- make exciting discoveries in the garden trail
- kids can play hide and seek in the shrub-filled banks in a secure safe environment at the top of the garden
- baby changing facilities
- light snacks, cakes and hot and cold drinks available
- at the entrance to the barn, the gift shop has a good range of National Trust gifts and souvenirs
- plants for sale by the kitchen garden
Manor House opening days
- The house opens on 26 & 27 May only and additional charges will apply if you wish to walk around it.
- 26 May there are guided tours 09:30 -12:00 noon and free flow from 13:00 to 17:00
- 27 May it is free flow from 10:30 -17:00.
We hope you enjoy your visit and don't forget to tweet a pic
( @RedFunnel @nationaltrust)
Getting to Mottistone is easy from Southampton with Red Funnel.
By car - catch the hourly vehicle ferry service from Southampton to East Cowes, the journey will take 55-60 minutes. Upon arrival, head south on Dover Rd following the A3021 and A3054 to Betty Haunt Lane, Calbourne Road, The Middle Road/B3401, continue to B3399 (Postcode PO30 4EA). The journey will take about 32 minutes.
On foot - catch the Red Jet to West Cowes from Terminal 2 in Southampton, On arrival in West Cowes, Southern Vectis operate frequent buses from West Cowes to Newport (service 1). Change at the bus station in Newport for service 12 to Mottistone. Taxis are also available outside the East & West Cowes terminals. For car hire, we recommend Enterprise - they will pick you-up from either terminal if you tell them your arrival time.