For someone who was deemed ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know,’ Lord Byron’s former home couldn’t be further removed from the depravity he was said to embody. It’s hard to believe that a peaceful, gorgeous little haven like Newstead Abbey is only 30 minutes from the always busy, bustling city centre of Nottingham, but as you drive through the entrance gates and down the mile-long approach towards the abbey, you could be anywhere in the world.
Anywhere that looks like this, that is:
Lord Byron lived at Newstead intermittently between 1808 and 1814, and I loved walking around the extensive grounds and gardens imagining that such a famous figure in English literary history once trod those same stones and paths over two centuries ago.
I travelled to Newstead Abbey midweek, which meant unfortunately that the house itself wasn’t open to the public (it only is on weekends, and you can find opening hours and prices on the official website here) but it cost £6 to park my car for the day, and entrance to the grounds was free of charge.
I felt that the price I paid for parking was absolutely worth it for the simply beautiful, themed gardens which Newstead has to offer. This map is from the official website and gives you an idea of all the different well-manicured gardens which are complemented by the expansive Garden Lake. The word picturesque was surely created with Lord Byron’s ancestral home in mind.
The Japanese Garden is charming and decadent, the American Garden felt more refined, and the French Garden could transport you straight to a Chateau in la belle France. The different sections have their own character but blend seamlessly into one another, making you feel immersed in a far-away world.
Closer towards the main house itself you find the Rose Garden, the Small Walled Garden and the Great Garden which are much more structured than those bordering the lake.
But of course, no country estate is complete without a tea room, and so I stopped for a green tea and a slice of banana and chocolate cake. It would have been rude not to.
Oh, and in case you still weren’t convinced, there’s a resident peacock.
Need I say more? I think not.
Visit Newstead Abbey’s official website here.