If you follow me on Instagram (@theweekendtourist) you’ll have seen that since lockdown measures have been slightly lifted and more outdoor attractions are opening, we’ve visited a few near to Tysoe to give you the low down.
You can view its art collections virtually (see my previous guide for places to visit locally from your sofa), but a £5 Grounds Pass will allow you access to the Capability Brown landscaped gardens and sculpture trail. The pass is valid to 4th July but must be bought online before you go (wifi is patchy there!)
Current pass holders do not need to purchase a Grounds Pass and children aged 18 and under can go free.
There are also outdoor tables and plenty of spots to take your own picnic. Toilet facilities were available when we visited on the second weekend of June. Gilkes Garage Cafe in Kineton makes a good stop to pick up a take out picnic as it’s just a 5-minute drive from Compton Verney.
We easily spent two hours wombling through the sculpture meadow, through the gardens around the main house and then the lakeside walk. There’s also a willow tunnel that was popular with small children, plus the ice house.
The Park is limiting numbers to ensure that there is plenty of space for all and hand sanitiser stations are in use.
Kiftsgate Court Gardens is about a 30-minute drive in Moreton in Marsh direction. The gardens have been nurtured by three generations of female gardeners from the Muir family and are famous for their own rambling rose – The Kiftsgate Rose.
The gardens are open from midday most days (check the website before attending as it seems each day may be different) and take contactless payments. Again WC facilities were open. The plant shop was also open and would take contactless payments.
There were fewer places here to have a picnic, but by the car park, is a table and a large lawn area where we sat to eat our lunch. We spotted others sitting in quiet spots although if the garden’s got any busier it would be harder to keep socially distanced.
The team have laid out a one-way route through the gardens to help with social distancing. It was easy to keep apart and actually handy for getting a good photo of key areas as people moved out of the picture ahead of you, although you’d better not wait too long otherwise you’d hold up the queue!
This is a really good time of year to visit Kiftsgate because all the roses and peonies, of which they have a vast collection, are all in bloom. This was one of our favourite trips from last weekend and for a couple of hours, you felt like you were in the Med!
Rollright Stones, Oxfordshire
The Rollright Stones have been open for a while and are free to visit, although donations to the charity that looks after them are greatly encouraged these can be made online via the QR code link on-site via PayPal or PayM. Suggested donations £1 per adult, 50p per child (a bargain!)
Find out about the 10 things you didn’t know about the Rollrights here! The stones are full of myth and legend and are part of several walking routes. A short diversion from Walk 17 in the 20 Walks in Shipston Country by Peter Titchmarsh (available to purchase in Tysoe Shop) fits in quite nicely here.
The site is open for visitors as long as you follow government rules regarding social distancing and outdoor meetings on no more than 6 people. Parking is limited to the two laybys by the King’s Stone and it’s not permitted to park on the verges. It’s also quite a busy road here. Advance closures will be listed on the website. There are no facilities here.