Wiltshire…. Summer sunshine was in full flow and it was time to discover a county to the south of Britain that is abundant in places to explore. Besides the beautiful rolling landscapes and canals there are also a lot of historical sites to see. Firstly, we decided to pay Iford Manor and The Peto Garden a visit. The manor and its garden has been home to architect and landscape designer Harold Ainsworth Peto from 1899 to 1933.  He turned it into a wonderful mixture of broad walks, pools, flowers, fountains and statues (acquired during Peto’s many travels abroad).

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Whilst walking around the garden I’m accompanied by the current owner, a charming lady who’s talking so passionately about the garden and its history, that I immediately fall in love with this place.

The love Peto had for the charm of old Italian gardens shows all the way, a virtue of different shades of green combined with flowers and old buildings and fragments of masonry. Taking you back in time. All signs that tell me this is going to be a wonderful stroll. Time to go up the steps and explore the grounds…

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The steps lead me to several pools and terraces. And along the way you will find lots of hidden statues in between trees and hedges. Eventually I end up at the Great Terrace and the Casita (see below). The Casita is a wonderful mixture of several different styles and items Pato collected during his travels. Like the dancing nymph and the Verona columns. The sides of the Casita are decorated with reliefs from Naples and Byzantine roundels and you can even find some Venetian-Gothic style works in the walls. And combined with the beautiful flowers, a treat to see…

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Everywhere I go I’m left in awe… textures, form and colour everything is perfectly designed to be a visual treat to the eye. In the far side of the garden there’s a charming 18th century Garden House. Which was moved here from the garden below the road. The small balustrade was rescued from the river. With all interior features to be original it’s a true little gem.

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The garden isn’t just a visual treat and a great place to take lots and lots of photos. It is also a venue for Iford Arts. The Cloister, Peto’s ‘Haunt of Ancient Place’, built in 1914 in Romanesque style from the local Westwood stone and decorated with antique fragments, is now used today as a venue for opera. And there are many more jazz proms and cloister concerts throughout Iford Arts Season. You can’t wish for more beautiful surroundings…

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An inspiring and intruging visit I will not easily forget…..

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