Burnby Hall Garden
Burnby Hall Garden

This wonderful garden is the creation of Major Percy Marlborough Stewart, a second cousin of Sir Winston Churchill. Stewart bought the Burnby Hall estate on the edge of Pocklington in 1904, and for the next 58 years, he devoted his energies to creating a fabulous garden of exceptional beauty, based around two lakes which feature the national collection of hardy water lilies. This is one of the largest collections in Europe where the lilies can be seen in a natural habitat.

Major Stewart was a world traveller and an avid collector, and on a series of 8 round-the-world trips he amassed a large collection of curiosities from every corner of the globe. These can be viewed in the Stewart Museum, near the garden entrance.

Exploring Burnby Hall Gardens is like opening a treasure chest. Everywhere you turn a new, unexpected path opens out into a hidden gem of a smaller garden. There is a Victorian garden, rock garden, and a Secret Garden designed by local students from an agricultural college.

In addition, there is a small aviary and an area with formal bedding plants. Outside the main garden area is a Primrose Wood with shaded walks interspersed with sculpture by local students.

The gardens are very popular with local families, and for good reason; children adore it. I never saw so many happy young faces as those gathered around the edge of the lakes to feed the fish.

And it's not just the children; I saw elderly visitors in wheelchairs laughing aloud at the antics of the fish as they try to get closer to the shore as visitors throw food into the water for them (fish-friendly food, I might add, available at reception).