March 28, 2013

Life in England: Exploring Rousham

The other day I was driving back from Bicester Village (I bought a Céline silk blouse and Marni guipure lace top) with my friend Miranda who is a renowned landscape designer. When she saw the sign to Rousham, she insisted we take a detour. Before the house even came into view we had already seen a stone cow shed in the shape of a mini-castle and a charming gate house with three uniquely decorative chimneys. Then we saw the house in the distance. It was first built around 1635 and has stayed in one family the entire time. Even on a gloomy, frigid early spring day, the house was magnificent. At the end of the long drive we noticed a sign offering garden tours, so the next day we packed up our children and husbands and brought them back to explore the gardens with us. What a treat to go with Miranda who explained to me all about 18th century gardens (they don’t include flowers, but they do include lots of water and romantic landscaping), and showed us all the best vantage points along the way. There were statues representing the Greek gods, a stone colonnade, a long winding river, a million ideal picnic spots, and then, of course, the house. You could tell right away that it was completely unspoilt. No dramatic recent renovations, additions or excessive cleaning – just stunning architecture and the charm of age. Peeking in through the windows, I saw long silk curtains with shredded linings, oversized fireplaces, wide plank wood floors and centuries-old antiques. In the butler’s pantry were actual bells labelled for each room in the house in order for the residents to ring downstairs for help. In the summer months, you can actually have a tour of the inside. I can’t wait to go back.

The chicest cow shed I ever saw. I love how it looks like it’s yawning.


The gate house. I’ve never seen anything like those carved chimneys before. I also love the richness of the stone color.
Rousham itself.



Wouldn’t it be great to have this charming little greenhouse to put all your indoor plants in?


The rustic construction around this stable yard door caught my attention.


The river runs through most of the garden. I can’t imagine a lovelier place to be in the summer.
For me, such formal architecture only works because of its obvious age.


The three “garden fairies” daring to peak over the edge.
Each arch of the colonnade had its own bench inside to sit and watch the view looking out over the garden.


The intricate window frames were one of my favourite parts of the house. Photo courtesy of Miranda Brooks.
The amazing stable yard. Photo courtesy of  Miranda Brooks.
My slightly pained look represents the combination of frozen fingers and toes and the thought of how cold that water must be!
The dovecote, the espaliered trees and the snow-covered box hedge made this one of my favourite walled gardens.


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Amanda Raponi
7 years 2 months ago

Beautiful photos, Amanda!

Helen James
7 years 4 months ago

how positively magical what a wonderful place some lucky person calls home

7 years 4 months ago

Beautiful photos Amanda. Wish i could see all those beautiful places. You are lucky to have the Celine outlet so close