I’ve driven past the entrance to Harlow’s Gibberd Garden many times over the years, and I finally got the opportunity to visit it today. It was well worth the visit.
Sir Frederick Gibberd was the architect of Harlow, and he lived on the outskirts of the town for much of his life. His garden and home are now open to the public throughout the year (and they host a beer festival once a year!)
The garden was a real revelation to me. It’s not perfect in the way many other gardens that are open to the public are, but that’s what made it so fascinating. There’s lots of wooded glades and vistas, as well as some more secret tucked away corners. There are some beautiful specimen trees alongside formal and informal ponds and streams. And for children there’s a lovely castle with a moat and a flag flying high at the top for them to play in.
And I mustn’t forget the amazing sculptures that populate the gardens. Gibberd was a great believer in public art, and there are now lots of sculptures and statues in the public areas in Harlow. This is reflected in the garden where there is a beautiful collection of art work positioned throughout the grounds that visitors can enjoy – and a detailed map is available to help you find them!
I stopped for the all-important cup of tea in the café, and was able to sit outside and enjoy the views of the garden whilst I drank it. And if you have the time, just over the road is the Mayfield Farm Bakery, where you can buy delicious artisan bread and homemade cakes to take home with you.