Just a 10-minute drive or taxi ride from Birmingham’s city centre, you’ll find a hidden gem: Winterbourne House and Garden. This Edwardian country estate was the home of the Nettlefold family during the early 1900s. Wandering around its rooms, you might feel as though they’ve just stepped out to the shops – that’s how well-preserved it is, with its furnishing and antiques from the Edwardian Arts and Crafts movement.
Be sure to allow a leisurely few hours for your visit – and wear comfortable walking shoes – because the wonder of this historic estate moves beyond its red-brick walls and into 7 acres of spectacular botanic garden. Margaret Nettlefold (the former lady of the estate) designed the garden herself, taking inspiration from horticulturist Gertrude Jekyll. Don’t miss out on any of the garden’s special features, including an orchid glasshouse, an alpine garden, a cactus glasshouse, a walled garden and plant collections from as far away as China.
The home’s final owner bequeathed Winterbourne to neighbouring Birmingham University in 1944, and to this day, students use the Grade II-listed heritage botanic garden for education and plant conservation. While you’re here, enjoy a cuppa in the bright terrace tea room, browse the locally produced items in the gift shop and page through some second-hand books at the hut next to the courtyard entrance.
If you’re heading there by rail, University is the nearest train station to Winterbourne on the Cross-City line; from the station, it’s a 10-minute walk. If the beautiful Winterbourne gardens leave you wanting more, you might want to hop in a taxi and head to the nearby Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which boasts exotic glasshouses and gardens galore.