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.

The gardens remain open at present. We will keep potential visitors informed on this website should there be a change of policy by Reading Borough Council.

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 2020. 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.

Getting here and general information

In season

SEPTEMBER

The most dramatic plants in the gardens this month are the smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens) whose huge rounded white flower clusters can be seen in the White Garden funded by The Friends and located just beyond the Tea Kiosk. This plant is a native of the eastern United States and very different from many of our other hydrangea species which arrived from Asia. In the States the large white flowered variety Annabelle is sometimes called the sheep flower. The blooms will persist into autumn.

The hydrangeas share the White Garden with Himalayan Birch trees with their attractive white bark and with white flowering hellebores and snowdrops.

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The gardens (RG4 7AD) are 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.

The Eastern Border is now a mix of interesting plants, many of which would have been popular when the Simonds family lived in the Gothic mansion on this site in the 19th Century. Look for the purple thistle like flowers of the Cardoons (Cynara cardunculus). A tall plant it is a native of the Mediterranean area extending from Portugal to Croatia. The cardoon is grown for its edible creamy stems ridged like celery sticks.

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.

We ask that you respect these historic gardens:-

* dogs are welcome but on a lead, please,

* please use the bike rack, no cycling allowed

* bring a picnic, but please do not light barbecues!

* no loud music

Facilities

The Tea Kiosk in a converted Arts and Crafts building, sells teas, coffee and cakes in aid of local charities.

Hot drinks and home made cakes are served (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) by volunteers every Saturday and Sunday throughout July and from Tuesday to Sunday during August and September. Volunteers are from ‘Ways and Means Trust’ ‘Women’s Institute’, ‘Sue Ryder/Duchess of Kent Charity’ and the ‘Royal Berks Charity’

There are 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.

Illustrated Talks

Our volunteers can also provide illustrated presentations on the history of the gardens and related topics (see Garden News for details)

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 (currently delivered by Zoom) 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 here.

You can download the Self Guided Tour of the Gardens here.