One of the best gardens to visit in Lincolnshire
Planned and executed according to Lady Grace Weigall’s lavish tastes by famous landscape designer Harold Peto, the gardens at the Petwood are open to the public all year. Each season has its beauty, but they are especially impressive in spring and summer when the colours are at their most intense. A leisurely stroll to absorb the ambiance of the quiet lawns, vibrant flowers and elegant features is a must in all but the most inhospitable of English weather. During the warmer months we also host various outdoor events, including outdoor theatre and the famous Woodhall Spa 1940s festival.
The grounds themselves have always been immaculately maintained. With lavish garden parties being held on the immaculately tended lawns, today's visitors tread in the footsteps of statesmen, aristocrats, actors and sporting greats as well as the wartime heroes who followed. In this era, Lady Weigall would have as many as thirty or more gardeners working for her, thinking nothing of spending eye watering sums on fresh roses or decadent displays to impress her guests.
The Long Walk restoration
In 2011, Park Hood Landscape Architects were commissioned to design the Peto garden restoration. The team researched at great length Peto’s Petwood scheme and used this to create a restoration design true to Peto’s original whilst still keeping in focus the Petwood’s role today as a hotel.
The restoration was undertaken by Whiting Landscapes and included extensive soft and hard landscaping works. The ‘Long Walk’, designed by seven-time Chelsea Gold Winner Julie Toll, is designed to provide colour from March to November.
The roses growing up the horley festoons offer beautiful bays of colour – and perfect photograph opportunities for wedding colour scheme coordination. Our planting guide (below) identifies the varieties used in Julie’s planting scheme.
We were delighted in 2017 when Historic England announced the Grade II listing of the Petwood Peto Gardens, cementing the legacy of Lady Weigall’s gardens for future generations. In 2018 the project was also the recipient of a prestigious BALI award.
To explore the planting in the Long Walk, please download a copy of our planting guide below:
From woodland walks to al fresco dining
Perhaps the most striking feature for garden visitors today is the rhododendron walk, which bursts with colour in the late spring and delights today's guests as much as those invited to Lady Weigall's garden parties. Thirty acres of woodlands provide pleasant short walks in the grounds and a gentle stroll is a very civilized way to follow breakfast. The beauty of the place is matched by its quiet poignancy too, with tributes to past lives from those taken by war to the late Princess Diana.
With so many quiet corners and surprises to find, there is always something pretty or thought-provoking to spot in the gardens. One of our Classic English Afternoon Teas on the terrace is a sublime option on a warm afternoon, affording fine views and pure relaxation. Alternatively, guests of all ages will enjoy a choice of classic garden games on the front lawn, including croquet and giant pick-up sticks, just ask at reception.