This year Houghton Lodge Gardens is celebrating its 230th anniversary with special events.  Bridgerton Bliss: A Regency Afternoon of Tea, Tunes and Twirls will be held on 6 August from 12.30pm to 5pm and is a great opportunity to travel back in time and experience the magic of Regency England.    With dancing, promenading, music and afternoon tea or picnics this will be a unique event for the region, celebrating the anniversary and the Regency heritage of the historic house and grounds.

The Hampshire Regency Dancers will provide authentic music and dancing during the afternoon, giving visitors an opportunity to watch, learn and take part.  The Bossard Quartet will be performing Bridgerton-style Regency live music beside the beautiful River Test and Bloom Bloom, who run the café in the Orangery will be serving delicious afternoon teas (with or without Prosecco) and providing cream teas in a box or picnic boxes to pre-order.  There will be a Regency Trail around the gardens linking to plants that have Regency origins and historical games such as lawn bowls will be happening over the course of the afternoon.  The historic activity of ‘promenading', much loved by Jane Austen and her contemporaries, will be taking place in the walled garden and lawns. Guests are encouraged to come in Regency costume but it's not obligatory!

Says Sophie Busk, owner and resident of Houghton Lodge; ‘this event seemed the perfect occasion to show off our wonderful house and gardens during our 230th anniversary and to celebrate their Regency heritage.  There will be lots of events during the afternoon for all the family to take part in and a chance to enjoy delicious food. We hope it will attract new visitors who have not previously been here and who will now want to return again and again'.

Houghton Lodge is one of the finest and earliest surviving examples of a Cottage Ornée - a genre of ‘picturesque' Gothic architecture that flourished for about 25 years from 1790. Today the house is Grade II* listed. There are both formal and informal gardens, a traditional kitchen garden enclosed within chalk cob walls, an orchid house, new Oriental Garden, topiary dragon, peacock garden and extensive lawns. At the end of the eighteenth century there was a gradual move away from the formal layout and plantings of English parks and gardens to the desire for ‘natural' landscapes. An increased sensitivity to the world of nature, and the importance of the picturesque and romantic movements led to the development of the Natural Style. The gardens at Houghton Lodge are a charming example of an eighteenth-century informal garden designed in this ‘Natural Style.'

For ticket prices, booking and other details visit the website at Step into the Past with Bridgerton Bliss: A Regency Afternoon of tea, tunes and twirls at Houghton Lodge Gardens | Houghton Lodge and Gardens/ All tickets need to be booked in advance.

Another event to mark the season and to celebrate both the 230th anniversary and the many wonderful heritage apples and pears in the garden will be an Apple Day during the Autumn. Visitors will be treated to a range of exciting apple-related entertainment and will be able to explore over 32 varieties of apple trees, as well as pear, plum, fig and kiwi trees in the kitchen garden.

For visitors wanting to take a short break accommodation at Houghton Lodge - the Apple Rooms - provide luxury self-catering accommodation in a bespoke collection of 6 individually designed boutique en-suite studio rooms.  Guests can enjoy complimentary entry to the gardens during their stay, 10% off refreshments in the tearoom and can use the walled garden in the evenings after the gates close to the public.  Early risers can also enjoy a morning riverside walk!

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