We are delighted to announce that our Members have been invited for a Private Visit to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales’s Estate, Highgrove in Gloucestershire, on a Midsummer Evening in June, for a Private Garden Visit followed by a delicious Three-Course Champagne Dinner. This is an exclusive invitation, as no other private dinners are planned by Highgrove this year. Summer in the Prince’s Garden is enchanting—and what could be more perfect than to be there alone, after the public have gone home for the day, to see this magical Garden in solitude, to dine, and drink Champagne?
The Prince has spent more than 30 years creating one of the finest and most pleasurable gardens in England, and at this time of year the Garden—and the English weather in which to enjoy it—is at its most lovely. June is a time of striking colour contrast in the Prince’s Garden. and the period of greatest scent. In the long daylight hours of a fragrant evening in balmy weather, it will be a magical time to be there.
We shall begin the evening with a private, guided tour of the Garden, accompanied by His Royal Highness’s expert garden guides. From the moment you walk between the impressive pillars at the Garden entrance you begin a journey which reveals one delight after another, each setting giving a glimpse of a wonderful English garden in summer, underpinned by the Prince’s personal taste and philosophy. While various fine gardeners, including Lady Salisbury, Rosemary Verey and Dame Miriam Rothschild, made their contributions, the Prince is hands-on: notwithstanding the small army of gardeners, it is he who makes the decisions.
And as the Prince says, ‘I have gardened to a certain extent from a painter’s perspective. Each part of the garden is a separate ‘painting’ and the result of ceaseless walking, ruminating and observing those moments of magic when the light becomes almost dreamlike in its illuminating intensity. It is in those moments when you are lost in wonder that such beauty is possible and inspiration can come …’
It is this beauty, in the peace of the Garden, when the public have gone home and we are there on our own, that we shall see this magic for ourselves, literally as well as figuratively, in the footsteps of the Prince of Wales.
When the Prince speaks of the ‘excitement’ of the garden, and how the longed-for arrival of a particular plant ‘becomes a treasured feature of one’s existence’, it is clear that the garden holds deep meaning for His Royal Highness. This, after all, is his own home garden, where his son and Heir to the Throne William spent his formative years. As the Prince says, ‘The Garden is an expression of what I hold dear.’ If you want to understand the Prince of Wales, what makes him tick, how he works, his deep loves, private passions and quiet reflections, the Garden at Highgrove is where the Prince’s soul is laid bare. It is also a measure of the practical Prince: here are broad visions and also minor details, ideas with which to transform our own gardens, or simply to enjoy the beauty of an English garden and the creative spirit of the Prince.
Highgrove, as with all great gardens, does not reveal its charms all at once. Each garden room contains its own private pleasures, then takes the viewer on to the next scene, with the House sometimes the focus, at others glimpsed through the trees. Close at hand are the Terrace Garden, the Cottage Garden, Thyme Walk, Lily Pool Garden, Sundial Garden and Carpet Garden. Farther afield come the Walled Garden, the Model Fruit Garden, the Cutting Garden, Azalea Walk, Lavender Orchard, Southern Hemisphere Garden, Woodland Garden and Arboretum.
Among the characteristics of these gardens there is humour: as in the Ego Garden. And pathos: the memorial to Her Majesty The Queen Mother. Strong architectural features: the Temple of Worthies, The Sanctuary and the Wall of Gifts. Some eccentricities: The Stumpery, for one. And Miriam Rothschild’s ‘Farmer’s Nightmare’—well named, being a wild flower meadow bursting with poppies, corncockle, cornflowers and cornfield marigolds. National treasures and rarities abound. Highgrove hosts national collections of beech trees and large-leaved hostas, among others.
Many English rarities are grown, including varieties now virtually extinct. Underlying it all is the Prince’s deep-felt conviction that his garden must be self-sufficient, with emphasis on water conservation, green waste recycling, natural pest control and organic fertilisers. As such, the garden works on all levels: beautiful to the eye of any beholder, and an inspiration to gardeners wishing to benefit from the Prince’s experimentation over more than three decades.
Wildlife thrives in this environment; from songbirds to dragonflies, butterflies, beetles, newts and bumble bees. The Prince is justifiably proud of his Garden, and a long evening in June will be the perfect moment to see Highgrove at its glorious best. June is delphinium time at Highgrove, their striking iridescence in purples, blues, whites and pinks quite unrivalled. They are the Prince’s favourites and, as he says, well worth the effort. Heady fragrance is everywhere, scenting the air from all angles—even the Kitchen Garden is scented, with gloriously fragrant sweet peas for the House and crab apple trees in full blossom, alongside the early crops for the Prince’s table—and our own on this special evening—the rows and beds of vegetables: sweet carrots, lettuce, beetroot, spinach, rhubarb and peas that look too beautiful to pick. A tunnel trained with apple trees deceptively releases the smell of apples, which actually comes from the Sweet Briar Rose (Rosa rubiginosa). There are plump espaliered apples, pears, gages, plums and redcurrants lining the walls, grown at just the right height to pick and test their ripeness.
Inspired by the Garden, our appetites whetted by the scent of sweet ripe summer fruits and vegetables, we shall return to the Terrace to toast the occasion with a chilled glass of Highgrove Champagne. We shall then move into Highgrove’s delightful Orchard Room, and to the accompaniment of the Highgrove pianist we shall take our seats for Dinner. A delicious three-course menu, sourced locally and from the Highrove Estate itself, will be specially prepared by the Highgrove chefs, accompanied by your personal choice of wines and followed by teas and coffee.
BOOK YOUR PLACES NOW FOR THIS EXCLUSIVE HIGHGROVE EVENT
This will be a memorable and unmissable midsummer evening event—particularly so at the exclusive price for the entire private event of only £89 per person, including VAT. We know it will be a popular event with our Members and their personal guests, and numbers are of course limited, so please don’t delay: Click here for instant reservations online, or call the Member Services team on 020 7399 2960.
EXTEND THE PLEASURE: STAY THE NIGHT AT A CHARMING COTSWOLDS MANOR
If you would like to extend the pleasure with a night’s stay nearby, we have special Club rates at Members’ favourite Cotswolds manor, Calcot Manor & Spa, only 10 minutes’ drive from Highgrove. Warm hospitality and Cotswolds charm make this a delightful base in which to relax before and after our evening at Highgrove—or after a hard day’s sightseeing the following day. There is much to see in the area and you can turn the visit into a longer break if you wish. Stay for the night, including full English breakfast and the Private Champagne Dinner and Tour of Highgrove Garden, at the following rates, which are per person, including VAT and service charge, for two sharing a double room:
One night sharing a delightful double room on Monday, June 15, with complimentary upgrade (including the Private Champagne Dinner and Tour of Highgrove Garden, full English Breakfast and VAT), total £197 (RR £295). Book Highgrove Garden Private Champagne Dinner with a Night at Calcot Manor.
As above, with two nights at Calcot Manor (June 14 and 15, or June 15 and 16), total £299 (RR £395). Book Highgrove Garden Private Champagne Dinner with Two Nights at Calcot Manor.
Our numbers are strictly limited, and we know this will be popular with our Members and their personal guests (we still have a waiting list from last year!). To make immediate reservations by phone, kindly call Member Services on 020 7399 2960, or click your preferred link above to make instant reservations online. However you choose to book, places will be secured on a strict first-come-first-served basis.
Please note: This event is now over-subscribed and a waiting list has been created; to join this waiting list, and for up-to-date information about future events, please call Member Services on 020 7399 2960.