Rhododendron Gardens Leith Hill.
I’ve always liked the Rhododendron Gardens Leith Hill. And I have found as I have got older that I like them even more. Now, I’m not giving you this spiel about age bringing wisdom because, demonstrably, in my case, it has not! But, I think I have got to the age where I like to stop occasionally and smell the flowers.
And if like me, you like to do that too, then the Rhododendron Gardens Leith Hill could be just the place you’re looking for. Obviously, being a rhododendron would, it’s at its best in late April and May. The photos in this article were taken in the second week of May. It can get busy there, and as I wandered around through the little pathways and the arches created by the rhododendrons I met a few people, who like me were there to stop and smell the flowers.
The Amazing Smell
Of course, I can’t get over to you how great the smell was. Nobody has invented “Smell ‘O’ Vision yet”. So, therefore if you’re in the area I’d recommend going. Of course, it’s fabulous at all times of the year. But the best time of year to visit is late spring.
Anyhow, back to the rhododendron gardens. There are many different shades and many different smells. Some of the rhododendrons had a pretty subtle fragrance to their flowers. Others have the subtlety of a well-timed tax bill, tied to a brick, and thrown through your window! And when you smell the yellow ones you know what I mean! Do keep an eye out for the yellow ones. It’s quite a sweet smell and for some strange reason, properly because it’s so alluring, it’s what I imagine triffids smell like in that John Wyndham novel.
There is ample car parking and when approaching by car look out for signs saying parking Leith Hill Place. Both the Rhododendron Wood and Leith Hill Place are National Trust places in the car park is the same for both of them. I also love Leith Hill Place having spent some of my childhood there. Parking is an honesty box, the suggested donation is £3.50
The gardens were created by Caroline Wedgewood, yeah, that Wedgewood family, shortly after she moved into Leith Hill Place in 1847. She was the sister of Charles Darwin, famous for the theory of Biological Evolution and author of the book, “Well, you’re a monkey, mate”. It is believed that Darwin gave specimens and seeds that he’d received to his sister and were planted in the Rhododendron Gardens Leith Hill.
How to get there
For more Surrey Hills stuff, see my Surrey Hills and my Historic Pubs of Surrey. The Plough at Coldharbour and a plethora of others are just around the corner if you’ve worked up an appetite looking at the Rhododendrons!
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