Famed Edwardian garden designer Harold Peto, an arch-romantic, was seduced by the manor’s Georgian façade beside the babbling River Frome, just as visitors are today. He made it his home from 1899 – 1933 during which time he created the magnificent, Grade 1 Listed gardens, a showcase of his abilities as a designer. His use of architecture alongside lush and ebullient planting in small spaces, draws visitors on in anticipation of the next surprise.
The Iford Arts Festival provides a rare opportunity to picnic in the garden and relax in a secluded spot, amongst the many statues and beautiful vistas. A visit to the tranquil, Italianate gardens is “like stepping into another world” (Ben Pentreath, 2016) and has been described as “one of the most beautiful gardens in England” (Jane Garmey, The Wall Street Journal). Enjoying the garden is the perfect prelude to an Iford Arts performance in the Grade II listed cloister, located at the end of the garden and built by Peto in 1914.
Peto’s creativity continues to inspire and was recently featured in the Series 2 finale of Monty Don’s “Big Dreams, Small Spaces” on BBC 2 (aired 2016). The 2.5 acre garden regularly features in international publications and films. Tantalising glimpses of the garden can be seen in the current trailer for “Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes For Lizards”, the documentary on Manolo Blahnik which will premiere in New York in September 2017.
Today the manor and gardens remain in private hands, actively cared for, restored and lived in by two generations of the Cartwright-Hignett family who kindly allow Iford Arts to use the garden for these events. The Peto Garden is also open to the public for garden visits, from which all proceeds help towards the essential maintenance and restoration of the heritage. Please see www.ifordmanor.co.uk for details
All events during the Iford Arts Festival offer a chance to relax over a pre-show picnic, whilst enjoying the peaceful tranquility of the Peto Garden.
All Festival goers can pre-order picnics to collect on arrival at Iford 01225 868 124 or filling out the order form below:
Gates open at 6 pm* for picnics with most events starting at 7.30 pm.
The garden is steep in places but free porterage is available. Bring your own tables, chairs, blankets etc but please no gazebos.
In bad weather shelter is provided in the tea room and under gazebos provided by Iford Arts for up to 60 people.
Operas typically have a 30 minute interval during which complimentary tea, coffee and housekeeper’s biscuits are served on the conservatory lawn.
At the end of the interval, all guests are asked to pack up their picnics. Porters will then move them down to the manor gates ready for collection at the end of the evening.
Reserved picnic areas: Prepared tables are provided for Iford Arts Angels and Patrons on opera nights, please see support pages for more details. There are no reserved areas on other nights.
*Angels, Principal Patrons and Patrons only may arrive at 5.30pm