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 programme is as follows:-
Sunday 7 April, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens, plus music from The Chord Capers Ukulele Band
Sunday 5 May, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens, plus Look, Draw and Build! an architectural trail for children.
Sunday 2 June, 2.00 to 5.00 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens, plus Family Croquet. Further details of the croquet below
Sunday 7 July, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens, Plant up the Wheelbarrow, Gardening for Children
Sunday 4 August, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens.  See also additional attractions listed below.
Sunday 1 September, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens.

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.

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 a jazz band and tea and cakes available from the ever popular tea kiosk.


Friday 14 June, 6.30 p.m.
In a world of fakery what becomes of true love?  Join 'Heartbreak', the Montagues, and the Capulets for an exclusive, star studded, red carpet event. Will these two notorious families behave themselves, or will it be another fiery battle at dawn as the fabulous feud continues? Join us for this super glam contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's star crossed lovers. 
Full price ticket - £17.50 (inc. £2.00 cmsn)
Over 60 or student - £14.50 (inc. £1.50 cmsn)
Under 16 - £11.00 (inc. £1.50 cmsn)
Tickets are also available at the gate on the night.

Sunday 30 June, 7.00 p.m.
A new Gypsy-Folk musical drama by award-winning playwright John Foster, director Charmaine K Parkin and developed alongside singer-songwriter Hui Hue and harpist Caolan Walpot.
Exploring racism, community, the gypsy experience and the conflict between logic and intuition, this compelling one-woman show follows the story of eighteen-year-old Simone as she is gripped by a magnetic and overwhelming wanderlust.
Adult £12.00 (inc. £2.00 cmsn)
Child under 14 years or people over 60 years £9.50 (inc. £1.50 cmsn)

Saturday 13 July, 1.00 p.m.
This is a truly traditional fete, combining entertainment, refreshments, stalls and sideshows, children's races and a kids' zone. There are sideshows from hoopla and hook-a-duck to choice of tombolas.  Stalls will be selling everything from cakes, books, plants and bric-a-brac to crafts, jams and preservatives. 

Sunday 14 July, 2.00 p.m.
A performance of 'All Hands on Deck'. Full of dots, dashes, semaphore and song, a love story between the Royal Navy and their loyal 'Jenny Wrens'.
Mikron annually commission two new scripts with original music, that they perform in 'rep' touring by road in spring and autumn and, in summer, on board their  historic narrowboat Tiesley. They are the only company to tour professional theatre to canal and riverside venues by inland waterways.  Their work is rooted in social history and contemporary movements, rarely explored in an artistic  context, with the aim of increasing audiences' awareness of important events, their context, their relevance to contemporary issues, and in opening debate and inviting curiosity.
Bring your own chair and/or a picnic.  No tickets required.  There will be a cash collection after the show.

The following films will be screened in the gardens:-
'Mama  Mia! Here We Go Again (Thursday 18 July)
'Bohemian Rhapsody' (Friday 19 July)
'First Man' (Saturday 20 July)

Sunday 28 July, 12.30 to 6.10 p.m.
Tickets are £25 plus booking fee

Sunday 4 August, 12.00 to 2.30 p.m.
Ways and Means Canine Capers - bring your pooch along for a fun dog show.

Salvation Army Band - the band will play  between 3.00 and 4.30 p.m.
Friends of Reading Museum and Friends of Reading Abbey will have exhibitions in the gardens throughout the afternoon.
Friends of Caversham Court Gardens will be offering guided tours between  2.00 and 4.30 p.m.

In mid-June, the wonderful Tulip Tree on the lower lawn is now in bloom.  This tree located just beyond the tea kiosk and nearer the river bank is a variegated form with characteristic green and yellow four lobed leaves.  A native of America this lovely tree has a long tall, straight trunk much prized by native American Indians in the past as it proved ideal for making large canoes (their people carriers).  The name tulip tree comes from the flowers which are tulip shaped.  The flowers are showy with six petals, pale green at the edge and deep orange at the centre,  This year our tree is laden with flowers.  Have a look at them before they shrivel in July. 


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.