Dorney Kitchen Gardens, Dorney Estate and Dorney Lake
Wanting to purchase a new bird nesting box for my garden I asked my daughter if she fancied visiting somewhere I felt sure would sell handmade bird boxes. Happily she agreed, perhaps because I mentioned tea and cake would be involved, and off we set.
Dorney Court Kitchen Garden is a unique garden centre set in the grounds of Dorney Court Estate. With my locally handmade bird box purchased, as well as a few plants, we sat by the pond in the inspirational walled garden soaking up the sunshine. There’s a marquee here too which can be hired for private parties, it’s a beautiful setting, very peaceful.
The café serve locally produced (ingredients often grown in the kitchen garden itself) seasonal dishes and homemade cake; perfect! They have a large separate garden attached to the café with a children’s play area but we chose to sit in the section selling plants, overlooking the walled garden.
Dorney Court is a Grade 1 listed building which has been the home of the Palmer family for over 450 years. It is said to be one of England’s finest Tudor manor houses. I haven’t personally visited it yet but it’s definitely on my to-do list this summer. It opens to the public on Sunday afternoons in August, 1.30 – 5 pm where tours of the house take approximately 1 hour. Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnics to eat in the landscaped gardens, or you can visit the estate Tea Rooms.
Turning left out of Dorney Court Kitchen Garden we drove into Eton College Rowing Centre which, whilst private, has grounds open to the public. Dorney Lake hosted the rowing and kayak events for the 2012 Olympics and we’d heard it was a lovely place for a walk.
There’s no avoiding the £2.50 car parking fee but we felt it was money well spent (Note: we needed to pay via card or mobile phone, the machine didn’t take cash). It’s a beautiful open space, with perfect straight pathways suitable for wheelchair users, rollerbladers, joggers, dog walkers and even children learning to ride their bikes. Venture off-piste onto the well-kept grass to explore the 450 acres of parkland and woodland, or walk along the specific paths for pedestrians; whichever you choose it’s a great place for an afternoon stroll.
If you visit Dorney Lake in the summer check their website for details of rowing events as I expect it could get rather busy. There are public toilets beside the clubhouse BUT the clubhouse is private and is only accessible for Eton College or for private hire, there is no general public access.
Dorney Court Kitchen Garden, Court Lane, Dorney, Buckinghamshire, SL4 6QP 01628 669999 http://www.dckg.co.uk
Dorney Court, Dorney, SL4 6QP 01628 604638 http://dorneycourt.co.uk
Dorney Lake, Off Court Lane, SL4 6QP 01753 832756 http://www.dorneylake.co.uk