Visiting Caversham Court

Opening times

The gardens are open to the public every day, except Christmas Day, 8 a.m. to dusk. The gazebo and vaults are open when a gardener is on site. Special events are sometimes held as well.

Getting here and general information


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The gardens (RG4 7ADare located on Church Road (A4074), about 300 metres from Caversham Bridge. The main entrance is between St Peter's Church and The Griffin pub.

Parking is limited nearby - your best bet is on The Warren - but there is disabled parking at the main gates in Church Road, from where there is wheelchair access to and around Caversham Court including the disabled toilets.

There is a bike rack inside the main gates.

Buses 22, 24, X39/X40 all stop on Bridge Street near Caversham Bridge, a short distance away.

Dogs are welcome but on a lead, please.

Bring a picnic, but please do not light barbecues!

Facilities

The Tea Kiosk, in a converted Arts and Crafts building, sells teas, coffee and cakes in aid of local charities. It is open in 2019 from March to the end of October on Tuesdays to Sundays, and on Bank Holidays, from 11am to 5pm.

There are also toilets/disabled toilets, with baby changing facilities.

Let us show you around

Volunteers from the Friends of Caversham Court Gardens are available to take groups around the gardens to talk about the history of the site and about the garden. If you would like to arrange a group tour, or for a speaker to come to your meeting, please contact the Friends - friends@fccg.org.uk. We also offer special sensory tours for the sight- and hearing impaired and their carers.

First Sundays

Volunteer guides will be on hand on the first Sundays from April to September between 2.00 and 4.30 p.m. to answer questions and to offer informal tours. Craft, music and family events are planned for some First Sundays in 2019 (see the Events section of the website).

Illustrated Talks
Our volunteers can also provide illustrated presentations on the history of the gardens.  

From the home of Augustinian friars in the C12th to a country club in the C20th, the land known as Caversham Court Gardens has a long recorded history.  In between came litigious money-lenders, travelling antiquarians and bankers and brewers with an eye for profitable business.  Speakers from the Friends can offer a fully illustrated talk about the research which aids our understanding of the families, the houses they lived in and the gardens they planted.

If your group would like such a talk please contact us at friends@fccg.org.uk

Schools groups

Please contact the Head Gardener - friends@fccg.org.uk

More information

Our Facebook page can be accessed on https//www.facebook.com/Friends-of-Caversham-Court-Gardens785840.  

You can download the Self Guided Tour of the Gardens from our sub-page (see below)

The gardens have been awarded a prestigious Green Flag award and Green Heritage Site status for each of the last ten years, most recently in September 2019.  The Green Flag award is given where a park is seen to be welcoming, healthy, safe and secure and well-maintained.  Green Heritage status signifies that the gardens promote the value of and best practice in the care and upkeep of an historic site.

Newsflash

Conservation work has now started on the 'house' footprint in the gardens.  The footprint marks the site of a splendid Victorian Gothic mansion, remodelled extensively by the Simonds, Reading's banking and brewing family during the 19th Century.  The work is being done by Reading Borough Council's contractor, local stonemasons, A F Jones and is scheduled to be completed by the end of August.  The footprint is currently fenced off while the work is done to replace stonework damaged by winter frosts.  The new stonework will be in a stronger limestone which is more able to withstand weather erosion




In season

January

Snowdrops appear under the branches of the family yew

February

Crocuses are in flower on the Lower Lawn next to the Thames and several plants grace the Winter Walk (alongside the steps leading to St Peter's Church). Smell the perfume emitted by the delicate flowers of sweet box which forms a low hedge at the top of the steps.

March

The daffodils are at their best now and delicate blue flowers of Chionodoxa (glory of the snows) appear in the grass under the old mulberry tree in the Carriage Circle.

April

The magnolia near the Tea Kiosk blooms with large white waxy flowers tinged with pink. 

Near the steps to the churchyard, elephants ears or Bergenia are flowering.  

In the borders next to the Long Walk, small blue forget-me-not like flowers of Brunnera 'Jackfrost', bloom around the tulips. 


May

The purple globe heads of the onion-like Alliums decorate the East Border whilst behind them hang the lilac flowering heads of the trailing Wisteria.


June

Catmint (Nepeta) - flowers under the yew hedge on the Long Walk - the blue flowers are  beloved by bees.  Roses are now in full bloom in the borders

A  flamboyant display of bedding plants colour the Vinery - reminiscent of a recreational greenhouse in a wealthy Victorian household.

Grape vines are growing up the trellising erected over the Vinery.

Look for the lovely peonies flowering in the West Border and the thistle-like head of the giant cardoon in the East Border.

The Japanese pagoda tree (Sophora Japonica) flowers – look for it between the magnolia and the Tea Kiosk.


July

The Lavender Bank is in full bloom and you can see lavender ‘Hidcote’, blue flowered hyssop, dwarf purple coloured Berberis, grey/green-leafed Ballota and several different types of cotton lavender (Santolina).

In the East Border, the giant grey leaved plant at the back is plume poppy (Macleaya cordata). The other giants of that border are the tall and very scented  ‘African Queen’ lilies.

August

Bedding displays are now at their best in the Font and the Vinery Bed.

September / October

In the East Border see the purple daisy flowers of Aster frikartii ‘Monch’ and the plum coloured Penstemon ‘Garnet’ that have now been flowering since May. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and Anemone hupehensis ‘Splendens’ are starting to flower.

Autumn colour.  Admire the pin oaks and  Amelanchier down by the Riverside Path. The black walnut is always a good yellow and the beech turns deep orange/brown.

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