The Excedra at Painswick Rococo Gardens
The Excedra at Painswick
Rococo Gardens
On the outskirts of the village of Painswick is the local manor, Painswick House. Surrounding the manor are 6 acres of formal and informal gardens known as Painswick Rococo Gardens. The garden, which may more properly be called a "pleasure ground," is a rare survivor of the very brief rococo period in English garden design. Built in about 1740, the gardens were allowed to fall into disrepair, and by the 1970s they were overplanted with woodland and almost completely lost.

However, an extensive restoration project was begun in 1984, using as a model a 1748 painting by local artist Thomas Robins showing the garden in its original glory. Unlike many English garden styles, rococo does not rely on a wide variety of plantings. Instead, the viewer is presented with surprising vistas, architectural accents and oddities, and an asymmetric design that provides constant surprises.

Formal parterres at Painswick
Formal parterres form a maze
One of the oddities is a curvilinear construction known as The Exedra. Looking almost oriental in style, this free-standing wall, topped by miniature pinnacles, stands before a circular pond fed by a spring. The flowerbeds are planted with species known to be popular in the mid-18th century. Beyond the formal garden are extensive woodland walks, where wildflowers grow in profusion.

Among its undoubted attractions, Painswick Rococo Gradens are best known for the wonderful display of snowdrops in late winter and early spring. At these times the hardy flowers create a veritable carpet among the trees of the woodland areas. Traditionally, villagers were allowed to enter the gardens one day each year to pick the snowdrops. Nowadays the flowers are for viewing only!

Painswick for families
Our children, aged 11 and 5, enjoyed the mazes immensely, and also had a good time on the nature walk, as well as climbing up the narrow stairs inside the Pigeon House. Our daughter, the 5 year old, enjoyed the [optional] animal hunt (looking for animal symbols scattered throughout the gardens).

Painswick Rococo Garden Photo Gallery

About Painswick Rococo Gardens
Address: Painswick, Gloucestershire, England, GL6 6TH
Attraction Type: Garden
Location: half mile NW of village on B4073
Website: Painswick Rococo Gardens
Historic Houses Association
Location map
OS: SO864101
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


HeritageWe've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.

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18th century (Time Period) -


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