A GARDENS attraction in Hampshire is celebrating its 230th anniversary with a series of special events.

Houghton Lodge Gardens, near Stockbridge, is acknowledging the milestone with special openings, tours, a new guidebook, music and an outdoor cinema.

The gardens by the River Test surround the Grade II* listed cottage orné, Houghton Lodge, which was built in the 18th century. The grandchildren of the owners, Daniel and Sophie Busk, will be the sixth generation to live there.

Mrs Busk said: “This is a very special year for us and one that must be truly celebrated. We love the house and gardens and want to share the anniversary by putting on some special events that everyone can enjoy.”

Andover Advertiser:

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The gardens officially open on April 1 but special openings to preview the spring flowers will take place on March 18 and 19.

On Sunday, March 19 the Mayor of the Test Valley, Cllr Alan Dowden and Mayoress Celia Dowden, will be visiting to mark the anniversary ahead of the official opening.

In May, the new Oriental Garden will make its public debut with the cherry orchard, acer walk, rose garden, stream, Torii, Moongate and Japanese bridge and water-loving marginal plants growing on the banks of the pond and island on show.

Tours of the gothic-style house will take place throughout the year. A guidebook for the lodge and gardens will be available as part of the anniversary and in line with the first tours on March 18.

Andover Advertiser:

Guests will be able to explore what's inside including the drawing room, dining room, music room and treasures collected by the family. Additionally, stories dating all the way back to when the house was built in 1793 will be shared.

This year sees a special 230th party edition of Houghton Lodge's ‘Music on the Test' along the banks of the River Test. Picnics are welcome. 

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The 18th-century house will also stage an outdoor cinema in September with three new films on the schedule. 

Andover Advertiser:

In the autumn an apple day will shine a light on Houghton's heritage apples and pears which are grown within the walled garden. The orchard was grown more than 100 years ago and the fruit varieties are no longer available in supermarkets. During the event, guests can ask the experts on fruit tree growing and pruning in addition to tastings and children’s activities.

Short breaks are available within the six self-catering Apple Rooms at the lodge. Accommodation in the ensuite studio rooms comes with complimentary entry to the gardens.

For more information on the anniversary events or to book a visit go to houghtonlodge.co.uk/. Click through the gallery at the top of the page to see the house and gardens through time.