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Windsor Castle's East Terrace Garden opens to public for first time in 40 years

The East Terrace Garden at Windsor Castle, created by George IV in the 1820s, has reopened to visitors at weekends for the first time in four decades.

RC_East_Terrace_Quick_022.jpgRoyal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

The large formal garden, overlooked by Windsor Castle’s famous east façade, features clipped domes of yew and beds of 3,500 rose bushes planted in a geometric pattern around a central fountain. On weekends in August and September, visitors with tickets to Windsor Castle will be able to explore the garden and enjoy the view from its terraces across the surrounding area.

The East Terrace Garden was designed for George IV by the architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville between 1824 and 1826, to provide a pleasant view from the King’s new suite of royal apartments along the east front of the castle. It was created on the site of an old bowling green made for Charles II in the 1670s. Plants were specially imported for the new scheme, including 34 orange trees, sent to George IV by the French King, Charles X.

In the 19th century, Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, took particular interest in the garden’s planting scheme. Victoria recorded in her diary: “Albert is daily occupied…in superintending the planting of the garden in the inside of the Terrace. The plots were before so scrubby & scraggy, but are now being very nicely arranged with laurustinus, bays, &c.”

Rose_garden.jpgRoyal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

The garden has been open to the public intermittently over the centuries. George IV sought total privacy there, but public access was granted by his brother, William IV, and continued throughout the 19th century. In the early 20th century, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra held large garden parties there each summer.

During the Second World War, some of the flowerbeds were repurposed as allotments to grow vegetables. Her Majesty The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) and her sister, Princess Margaret, were each assigned a small plot on which to cultivate tomatoes, sweetcorn and dwarf beans. After the War, the planting scheme was simplified into the pattern of formal rose beds seen today. In 1971, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh redesigned the flowerbeds and commissioned a new bronze lotus fountain, based on his own design, for the centre of garden.

In addition, on Thursdays and Fridays in August, visitors with young children will be given special access to the castle’s Moat Garden beneath the iconic Round Tower. This secluded informal garden is thought to date from the reign of Edward III, and it is believed that Geoffrey Chaucer used it as the setting for The Knight’s Tale, the first story from his Canterbury Tales. Visitors to the Moat Garden will be able to join guided walks, take part in family art activities, relax with a picnic on the lawn and climb the castle motte for magnificent views of the surrounding area.

Moat_Garden.jpgRoyal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

Janet Redler, Chief Executive of Janet Redler Travel and Tourism, said: “The reopening of the East Terrace Garden to the public this summer is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to see a long-private part of the castle gardens. The beautifully laid out formal garden is a must-see for anyone interested in English gardens and indeed for all fans of royal castles and palaces.”

If you or your group would like to enjoy a tailor-made tour of England, visiting its royal palaces and castles, and some of the many wonderful English gardens, please do contact our friendly team.

Tags: England  Windsor  Windsor Castle  

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