The Newt in Somerset | Great Garden Escape
Posted on July 4th, 2021
The Newt in Somerset have created a way for you to escape from London for the day to visit their beautiful gardens in the heart of Somerset. The Great Garden Escape is a First Class adventure for any garden lover. “Learn something new, leave feeling inspired”
Last Saturday, I arrived at Paddington station to board the Great Western Railway with The Newt on hand to meet and greet. It began with a goodie bag filled with a delicious breakfast, made in their kitchens at The Newt.
It was the perfect start as we fled city life for a day in the rolling landscape of Somerset, aka Cider Country.
Great Garden Escape | What to expect
The day is filled with informative guided tours by the team leaders. Our first tour took us through the D-shaped Parabola where they grow over 260 varieties of apple.
The garden is a contemporary take on a Baroque walled garden, incorporating a maze of apple trees from across the world, displayed by country. It is the little details that make this place so special, and often leave you speechless at the beauty.
The Newt |Gardens galore
Scattered around the estate are various ‘themed gardens’. The Cottage Garden, inspired by Gertrude Jekyll, is particularly stunning.
Whatever your passion, The Newt has something to get your green fingers twitching.
The Newt is a sensory delight. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes so that you can enjoy the full expanse of the estate and get your step count up.
Another highlight on the tour is the Story of Gardening Walk. On your way, enjoy the wonderful view looking down over the dipping pond, and then cross the deer park to the elevated walkway which takes you through the tree tops, 40 foot above the forest floor.
You can understand why people pay to become members of these gardens – the landscape at every corner enchants and delights.
At the end of the long walkway is The Story of Gardening. A standalone barn with a series of garden rooms. It is full of interactive exhibits that explain how different cultures have influenced gardens around the world.
Eating at The Newt in Somerset
There are cafes dotted around the gardens to stop and rehydrate. Our lunch was up in the main restaurant that sits up overlooking the estate.
Lunch is a set menu of local produce and nothing short of 5 stars. From the homemade breads, dips and dishes, to the meat, each mouthful was better than the last.
Nicely washed down with their Babylonstoren wine. Their Mourvèdre rosé has been chosen as the official rosé for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021, and it is delicious.
And don’t forget the Farm shop. At the beginning of lockdown I won a competition for a food box from the Mobile Newt. It was a game changer, and I have continued to order from them on a regular basis. The quality of meat is second to none, and I shall now be adding rosé to my order!
After lunch you are left to wander for an hour. We discovered gorgeous fluffy chickens, beehive pods and some sassy frogs spraying water… and managed to track down the infamous great crested newts, after which the estate is named!
There is so much charm to The Newt that whatever you think you have seen, you know there is still so much more to see and enjoy.
The Newt | Cyder Tours
Last stop of the day was the Cyder Tour – we were in Somerset after all. (Cyder is made from a single pressing of fruit, much like extra virgin olive oil, whereas cider with an ‘i’ is made from repressing the cyder pulp).
Somerset and apples go hand in hand and The Newt is centred around them with beautiful orchards growing 40 varieties.
The Cyder press is very impressive and a work of art in its own right. Having been told how it is made, and been taken into the rooms where it is matured in vats and bottled, we were treated to a tasting.
Who knew there would be so much to learn about cyder – it was fascinating. Starting with ‘Fine Cyder’ with its beautiful light golden hue, we moved through the tones to ‘No.3’, which was much darker and more intense. Luckily we were taking the train home as some of it was 8% ABV…
Great Garden Escape|Heading home
Leaving this fabulous estate was very hard. Off we went back to the coach for the short journey to the station at Castle Cary to catch our train. Once on our way we were presented with a picnic tea – open sandwiches, cyder (of course) and the most delicious homemade scones to round off a day of fantastic feasting.
Great Garden Escape|Final thoughts
The Newt in Somerset has been on my radar since it opened for many reasons. The aesthetics of the gardens was one of them. I love pottering in our garden at home, though not as much as my husband. This day trip was utterly joyful and a real highlight for both of us.
The staff looked after us so well, and on hand to answer all sorts of questions, ensuring that we had the most perfect day. The bottom line is that we cannot wait to return. A year’s membership to the garden is included in your Great Garden Escape, and you won’t need much tempting to get you back.
Great Garden Escape at the Newt in Somerset is available until September, weekends only.