Lincolnshire Pride

Aubourn Hall Gardens

Built around 1628 and owned by the Nevile family for generations, there’s a wealth of local history surrounding Aubourn Hall, not to mention 12 acres of beautiful grounds. Along with 30 other landowners, the estate is going back to its roots, joining a diverse landscape recovery scheme, and making its own plans to open a new café with regular garden openings from Easter 2025

Aubourn Hall Gardens

Privately owned since the 17th century and absolutely unspoilt, Aubourn Hall’s 12-acres of grounds are at the heart of a Lincolnshire country estate cared for by the Nevile family for generations. Traditionally the gardens have opened on specific days during the summer but plans are underway to ensure that more people than ever will enjoy the gardens in 2025. In addition, the estate is joining around 30 other landowners 

as part of one of the country’s most ambitious post-Brexit ‘Environmental Land Management Schemes’ aimed at protecting Lincolnshire’s countryside for future generations to enjoy.

An upwardly mobile family in the late 1600s, the family moved to Wellingore Hall and kept that as their private residence. Returning to the property in the 20th century, Sir Henry and Lady Jean Nevile embarked on a post-war restoration of the grounds with Henry a keen agriculturalist and Jean the plantswoman of the two gardeners.

Both were prominent figures in Lincolnshire with Henry serving as High Sheriff, magistrate and Lord Lieutenant, as well as farming an estate which today extends to about 2,500 acres and includes cereal and mixed arable crops. The couple were also responsible for creating the meadows and orchards, as well as much of the overall layout as it stands today.

The incumbent generation of the family, Christopher and Annabelle Nevile remodelled the front driveway leading up to the property and created the Prarie Garden on the site of a former rose garden. A serpentine path passes through the centre with soft grasses to include, in mid to late summer, Stipa, Lythum, plus echinacea and lobelia varieties.

Annabelle created a new Rose Garden with an adjacent Croquet Border with dahlias and other blooms for bright vibrant colour in June and July. A peony and iris border includes alliums, cosmos and delphinium.

In total there are around 12 areas of the garden, from neat colourful borders to lawns, a curious ‘Triangle garden,’ stumperies and a turf labyrinth created by Ben Nicholson. Adjacent to the property’s swimming pool is a walled garden created by Lady Jean in 1985 and aimed at introducing both colour and scent to the space with roses, delphiniums, euphorbia, lavender and peonies. 

More recently, in 2003, the garden’s roses were replanted to establish a new parterre with better views from the house itself which allowed the previous rose area to be re-imagined as a prairie garden with mass plantings of mostly grasses other semi-wild flowers. A productive kitchen garden, Moat pond surrounded by spring bulbs and a wealth of mature trees are also features of the garden, as is the Grade II* listed church of St Peter built in the 13th century, remodelled in 1862.

Meanwhile, a recent partnership with St Barnabas, Feathers from Above, saw over 1,000 personalised ironwork feathers purchased by loved ones in memory of those they have lost, displayed in the garden with proceeds from the art installation benefitting the charity. 

June and July see various events held in the gardens from Pick Your Own Flowers event incorporating a hand-tied bouquet workshop held in conjunction with The Lincolnshire Flower Company’s Harriet Whitbread (14th June, 20th July and 6th October), plus garden open days on 13th July, 10th August and 25th August. Aubourn’s flagship Back to Our Roots event takes place on 16th June and includes a vintage festival with live music, food and around 50 classic cars, all contributing to a fun event ideal for celebrating Father’s Day. Later in the year, halloween and festive afternoon teas will provide a chance to look around Aubourn Hall itself.

Happily, there are expected to be many more opportunities to enjoy the gardens in 2025 too as the team prepare to open their new café and visitor facilities, converting existing farm buildings to create the new space and leading the way for the garden to open four days a week from Easter 2025. New branding and a new website will also help to open the estate up to more visitors than ever, and will provide an insight into the estate’s farming operations too.

Regenerative farming is seen as a relatively new concept in agriculture, but many aspects of it have been incorporated into the estate’s operations for a number of years. Late last year, Aubourn Estate announced its affiliation with the Lincoln and Witham Valley Farming and Nature Network (LWFNN). Alongside around 30 other estates – custodians of a combined area of 15,000 acres – the project is a post-Brexit Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) that is designed to demonstrate via a two-year Development Phase how sustainable, resilient and nature-friendly farming can be in the future.

In keeping with that aim, Auborn Hall and its gardens are keen for the property’s grounds to be more open and more widely appreciated than ever before beyond even this summer’s super programme of events.Aubourn Hall’s gardens are open for selected events through the summer including open days on 22nd June, 10th August and 25th August, as well as Father’s Day on 16th June. Aubourn, Lincoln LN5 9DZ, see