So, it was gone four on a sunny afternoon and I was heading home after enjoying quite possibly the best quiche lorraine of my life in Henley-on-Thames, when it occurred to me that Greys Court was fairly nearby. Although the house remained open until five, I figured that would be best left for another day when I could take the time to enjoy it. Instead, after learning both the tearooms and gardens also remained open until 5pm, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to see through the day's final hour of sunshine accompanied by flowers and cake!
I can now confirm that carrot cake and rose lemonade is the perfect combination. Place those two tasty factors in a spacious, fresh and airy tearoom and you've got yourself one very happy visitor! For some reason, I've always enjoyed visiting places later in the day and only now have I realised why that's the case. As the afternoon progresses, most locations open to visitors spread over England's countryside begin to empty out (unless they're specifically catering to a night-time audience). You can wander for minutes and at times even miles before encountering anyone at all! As you can see from the photos shown, most visitors had finished their sandwiches by this point, explored the house, strolled through the grounds and returned to their cars. Not a noise was to be heard besides the odd bird's tweet or volunteer gardener rustling around in an apple tree. For this hour at least, the breathtakingly beautiful grounds of Greys Court seemed to be entirely our own.
Access to the large tudor property's walled gardens was through the ornate gate shown above. By this point, there's a definite 'secret garden' appeal - something that was enhanced by the butterfly that shot by my head! Admittedly, it probably would have been more charming had I not shrieked thanks to my (shameful) fear of butterflies...
As we crept closer and closer to five o'clock, the sun began to descend and we found ourselves entirely alone. There couldn't have been a better time to have stumbled across a heavy green door, opened it and been met by an abundance of 120 year-old Wisteria! I'm aware I've probably been watching too many fairytales lately, but I don't think anyone could deny this scene exudes definite Alice in Wonderland vibes. Speaking of which, I could have done with Alice's ability to shrink here on a couple of occasions!
Cardigan - Hobbs Black Bonnie Cardigan
Jacket - Mango 70s Suede Jacket
Jeans - Topshop Tall
Boots - Kurt Geiger
I often compare destinations to fairytale scenes, though on this occasion I feel entirely justified. The gardens/grounds of Greys Court are welcoming, intimate and depending on the time of day, quiet. Blissfully quiet. I've lost count of how many times I've spoken about 'winding down' and 'relaxing', but I really do believe it's essential to find places outside of the home where you can truly relax and feel at ease. Places where you forget entirely which county or even country you're in. Greys Court is now one of those places for me - now I just need to visit the house!