The Friends are holding a photography competition this year to celebrate 10 years since the refurbished gardens opened in the summer of 2009. We invite all our visitors to submit pictures which capture the spirit of the gardens through the seasons.  Closing date for entries - 31 Oct. 2019.  All entries should be sent to and identified for the Photo Competition.

Further information and rules of the competition - see Photography Competition.


Volunteers will be in the gardens on the FIRST SUNDAYS of the MONTH (2.00 to 4.30 p.m.) starting on 7 April.  

They will be pleased to give guided tours of the gardens on these dates between April and  September, or possibly October, dependent on autumn weather.  If you would like a tour at a time to suit yourself, your family or an organisation you belong to please contact us (
Special sensory tours for the partially sighted or hearing impaired visitors are also available on request.

This year we plan to make more of the First Sundays adding music, crafts and other activities for all the family. The next dates and activities are as follows:-

The remaining First Sunday of a successful summer in the gardens is -
Sunday 1 September, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens and children's crafts session.

Our volunteers will be pleased to give guided tours of the gardens on these dates, no need to book, just turn up.  Tours will give you the history of the site and of the families who lived here over the centuries, as well as introducing the plants and trees in this lovely spot on the bank of the Thames.

If you would like a tour at a time to suit yourself, your family or an organisation you belong to please contact us (  Special sensory tours for the partially sighted or hearing impaired visitors are also available on request.  Look for updates on our Facebook page.

A Children's Crafts session is scheduled for Sunday 1 September (2.00 to 4.30 p.m.).  Come along and enjoy the fun of making a paper flower or perhaps a bumble bee to create a large collage for the garden.  The event is weather dependent and we ask that each participating child is accompanied by an adult.

The Tea Kiosk is open from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays but not on Mondays other than on Bank Holidays.  Four charities and Compass Opportunities take it in turn to stock and staff the Tea Kiosk serving hot and cold drinks and home-made cakes.  The four charities are The Ways and Means Trust, Duchess of Kent-Sue Ryder, Women's Institute and The League of Friends of the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

(S. Lewis)

Sunday 2 June
A successful fundraising day was held in the Gardens organised by 'Made in Caversham'
The event was well supported by visitors, the 'Friends' and by members of the Caversham Croquet Club. Those who participated enjoyed this tactical battle of mallet, hoops and balls re-creating a game which would have been played on the lawns of Caversham Court in its Victorian heyday.  The afternoon was enhanced by some lively music from the Abbey jazz Trio and tea and cakes available from the ever popular tea kiosk.

Saturday 21 September, 2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Guided tours of the beautiful riverside gardens and the listed 17th century summer house give a unique glimpse into the history of the house that once stood on the site, of the families who lived there, and of the history of Caversham and its links with Reading across the Thames.  Sensory tours for visually or hearing impaired people are available on request, run by experienced guides from the Friends of Caversham Court Gardens.  Families can also follow an architectural trail which takes them on a fascinating journey of exploration and discovery around the summer house.  On the way, children (+ 4) will search for shapes, feel building materials, measure with their bodies, draw through the window and enjoy building the house of their dreams.  The activities along the trail will engage the youngest ones and even adults will look at the building in a different way.  St Peter's Church, above Caversham Court Gardens, will also be open for tours on Saturday 21 September.

THE GARDENS THIS MONTH   In the eastern border the 'thuggish' tall plume poppies alongside the wall compete for attention with several red flowered roses and patches of Garnet penstemons.  Another colourful display in the vinery features attractive blocks of summer bedding with broad-leaved coleus, feathery flowered plumes of celosia, flowering geraniums and brown coloured Heucheras provide a fine contrast in colour and leaf pattern with the dark heads of millet also prominent. Sitting with a refreshing drink outside our much enjoyed tea kiosk, admire the now maturing White Garden with its mop-head white hydrangeas amongst fine Himalayan birch trees which have an equally white bark.


Green Flag Award

The Friends are pleased to announce that Caversham Court Gardens has won the Green Flag and Green Heritage Site awards again this year. This is the ninth year the gardens have won these awards.  

The Green Flag award is awarded to parks and green spaces that are welcoming, healthy, safe and secure and are well maintained.  Green Heritage Site status aims to promote the value of and best practices in the care and upkeep of historic sites.

Britain in Bloom

Reading won a silver gilt award in the Thames and Chilterns Region competition of Britain in Bloom. Reading also won a silver gilt award in the 'city' class of the national competition this year. The class was won by Aberdeen whilst the overall title Champion of Champions was secured by the city of Truro. 

The Friends contributed to Reading's entry in both competitions by funding the superb border of coleus and begonias in the vinery and by running a project for children who planted up an old wheelbarrow. The judges were impressed with the vinery and the stumpery funded by the Friends as well as the children's efforts when they were judging the gardens in the summer.

Heritage Open Days

This years theme focussed on suffragettes to mark the century of women gaining the vote.  Volunteer guides offered guided tours of the gardens on 8 and 9 of September and, in the gazebo, displayed a small exhibit about 'Inspirational Women of Caversham'.  This exhibition has recently been on display in Caversham Library.