Just a 30-minute drive from Lakeside, located on the grounds of a medieval priory established around 1138, are The Walled Gardens of Cannington. Officially opened by HRH the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, many of the priory’s ancient buildings remain alongside the walls of the garden. Redeveloped extensively in 2009, The Gardens are not only a Quality Assured Visitor attraction according to VisitEngland, they are a Royal Horticultural Society recommended garden.
There are spectacular classic and contemporary features in the 2.5-acre garden, such as the herbaceous border, blue garden, a sub-tropical walk, and a Victorian style fernery. A botanical glasshouse is filled with arid, sub-tropical and tropical plants and The Bishop’s and Australasian Gardens are two smaller gardens inside the walls that are particularly tranquil.
There are special events such as ‘Cheeky Monkey Mondays’ from 10.30am to 2.30pm with toys and games in the Gardens. Adults accompanied by a child who have purchased a garden entry may enjoy a free hot or cold drink while the children play.
On Saturday 25th July, an all-day ‘Teddy Bears’ Picnic is taking place, where children and teddy bears are especially invited to The Walled Gardens to enjoy this delightful picnic in the summer splendour. Bring your own picnic or purchase refreshments from the Gardens’ Tea Room.
The Folksy Theatre has a fabulous outdoor theatre program, and on Saturday 11th July (at 2pm and 6pm) watch Kenneth Grahame’s classic ‘The Wind in the Willows’. On Friday 31st July (7pm), there’s an open-air Shakespeare production of ‘Hamlet’ and on Friday 7th August (7pm) the Pantaloons’ perform Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’.
For all outdoor theatre events, pre-booked tickets are: Adults – £12, Child / Concession – £8 and Family Tickets – £35. Adult and Child / Concession tickets are available on the door at an increased cost. Family Tickets are only available prior to the event. If you pre-book your tickets, you can either pick them up on the door or have them posted to you in advance.
Visit the tea-room, garden gift shop, and the plant sales area where plants, grown onsite in Cannington, are for sale. You can visit these places without purchasing admission to the Gardens, however The Gardens admission price in high season is £3.95 for adults (low season is £2.95), children under 16 accompanied by an adult are free.
Group visits (minimum of 15 people) are £8 per person, which includes a guided tour, hot drink, and a slice of cake. If you go for the day and really like it so much you want a season ticket, you can buy one and get the day’s admission fee refunded. Season tickets are £19 per person or £33 for a couple. The Walled Gardens is a dog-friendly park, so you can bring your canine companions along for the day! During July, August, and September, the gates open daily at 10am with the last admission at 4pm.