National Trust in Basingstoke

Five centuries of history are brought to life in this former Tudor palace turned 17th-century family home, set in 1500 acres of gardens, woodland and wetlands.

 

The House at The Vyne

An intimate family home, the history of The Vyne spans the centuries. You can lose yourself in the surroundings that inspired great authors such as Jane Austen, discover a chapel whose stained glass windows are of national importance and find an oak gallery fit for a king.

Step inside and explore each room to discover intriguing stories about The Vyne's former residents and find out about the exciting roof project from friendly and well-informed Room Guides.

The musically inclined can play on a 19th-century Broadwood Grand piano in the saloon. In the 18th-century staircase hall, you'll be whisked away to a world of classical antiquity.

As you wander through 500 years of history, take a moment to pause in the calm stillness of the Tudor chapel. Here you can gaze up at the youngest depiction of Henry VIII in stained glass which dates from the early 1520s.

 

The Gardens at The Vyne

With origins in the medieval period, the romantic landscape setting of The Vyne lies 2 miles north of Basingstoke on undulating land within the catchment of the River Loddon. The 454ha working estate has a homely atmosphere, a tranquil lake and an abundance of wildlife and wildflowers.

Today, the 9ha garden surrounding the house demonstrates the input of 400 years’ worth of tweaks and fashions by a family sympathetic to their ancestor’s concepts. The largely informal setting offers the chance to laze on the lawn, meander through the meadow or stroll through the organic parkland into the ancient woodland.

Historically, cattle and sheep grazed right up to the house, poking their heads in the windows in between spates of natural lawn mowing.

The 9ha garden includes two lakes, a walled garden, formal garden and meadow along with lawns and a Graham Stuart Thomas herbaceous border. The wider estate includes a wetland, ancient woodland and remains of medieval fishponds.

Since acquiring the estate in 1956, the National Trust has continued the spirit of an inviting family atmosphere and country estate.

Walled Garden

Discover the Walled Garden which dates back to the 18th century, An ambitious restoration programme has restored a glass house plus fruit and vegetable beds, providing our Brewhouse tea-room and visitors with seasonal produce.

The Summerhouse

The Summerhouse which is possibly the earliest domed garden building in England, dates from c1635. Designed by John Webb and built in the shape of a Greek cross, it is thought to be one of a pair planned for the gardens.

Originally, the Summerhouse was ornately decorated with plasterwork and richly painted. It was variously used as a banqueting house, a 'lust' house and a dovecote.

 

Woodlands and Wetlands at The Vyne

Don't forget to take time to explore the ancient woodland when you visit. Stretch your legs and enjoy following one of several way marked paths across the 452 hectare estate.

History of the Woods

The main park was formed by the lords of Sherborne Coudray after 1268. Fish and game would have been gathered from the park and the remains of the medieval fishponds still remain in Morgaston Woods.

In Tudor times a much larger area was crossed by many more tracks linking small groups of settlement. Parkland and arable land tenanted out, woodland managed by NT and forestry commission.

By 1608 much of the parkland was being turned into farmland which it has been ever since, leaving about 40 acres around the house as gardens and park. The park is planted with English Oak, supplemented by Turkey Oak and a few exotic species.

During World War 2, Morgaston Wood was used for military storage purposes, reputedly for an ammunition dump and railway system. What survives today is the concrete road and remains of a concrete loading bay.

The Wetlands

The wetlands were formed in early 21st centruy from the remains of a water meadow. Water meadows were commonly used between the 17th century to the early 20th century to improve the growth of grass by the water raising the temperature above the air temperature and supplying additional nutrients. Water flowed continuously over the sword of the grass without completely covering it.

 

Finding The Vyne

Vyne Road, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 9HL.

By Road
4 miles north of Basingstoke between Bramley and Sherborne St John

Parking: free, one third of a mile walk through gardens from visitor reception to house

SatNav: will not deliver you to the main car park, instead follow National Trust brown signs.

By Train

Basingstoke 4 miles - taxi rank available outside of train station. Bramley 2½ miles - requires a walk of 2½ miles from this station. Note: The Vyne road has no foot paths.