Yorkshire Garden Trip: Newby Hall

One of my favorite gardens we visited on our Yorkshire Garden Trip was Newby Hall. Newby Hall was built for William Weddell, but the first home wasn’t like the stately one now standing. The main part of the current house was designed by Sir Christopher Wren for Sir Edward Blackett. Sir Blackett must have had some pull to get Wren who also designed St. Paul’s Cathedral and many other buildings after the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Newby Hall’s Proud History.

The Weddell family eventually acquired the land and the home and set about making it theirs. They made improvements and employed architects to enlarge the house. If you loved the television show, Downton Abbey, as I did, you’ll be happy to know that a real Lord Grantham lived in the home at one time, and it is currently owned by Richard & Lucinda Compton, who are related indirectly to the Weddell family. Complicated, isn’t it? Lucinda Compton is a conservationist which is good since she now co-owns a historic property.

Newby Hall has been the film set for many television shows and movies, including starring as both Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace in the ITV series Victoria.

The Gardens.

But, as beautiful as the house is, I was more interested in the gardens.

Of course, I was.

Newby Hall is surrounded by forty acres of gardens. You read that right. Forty glorious acres filled with statuary, pergolas, arbors and mature trees and shrubs.

Richard Compton’s grandfather, Major Edward Compton, inherited Newby Hall in 1921, and there weren’t many gardens left to see. In fact, he is often quoted as saying “I found I had inherited an exceptionally beautiful home but no garden to speak of – a lovely picture but no frame.”

Major Compton completely redesigned the gardens, and it took him over fifty years to finish his “Grand Design.” He died in 1977. Here you can read more history about the gardens, His son, Robin Compton VMH, was a botanist who put his own stamp on his father’s design, and his wife, Jane, also loved flower design. They both carried on the legacy.

Wide-angled steps in Newby Hall planted with heat-loving plants.
Wide-angled steps in Newby Hall planted with heat-loving plants. I thought the texture was particularly nice.

Lucinda Compton and Mark Jackson, Head Gardener, now manage the gardens with volunteer help and a dedicated garden team. Although the gardens are relatively new in comparison to the home’s age, they seem very mature because of the large trees on the property. Bill and I found these trees to be invaluable on the day we visited because the weather was quite hot.

Part of Newby Hall's National Cornus Collection.
Part of Newby Hall’s National Cornus Collection.

In June, Yorkshire was in the midst of a drought which you can see from the browning in the Great Lawn. Newby Hall holds the National Cornus Collection of flowering dogwoods, and we were right in time to see them at their best.

Sylvia’s Garden.

However, by far, my favorite garden was Sylvia’s Garden. I thought its gated and multi-level sunken room was charming, and the surrounding yew hedge was the perfect backdrop for all these fantastic blooms. Sylvia’s Garden was one of the earliest gardens designed and planted by Major Compton. It was named after his wife, Sylvia Farquharson, and it is now her memorial garden. Although it is very formal in style, it doesn’t feel that way because billowy blooms spill into walkways. In fact, it feels almost frothy. Please click on the photos in the galleries, above, to enlarge them. They are worth seeing for their exquisite detail.

Newby Hall also boasts a children’s garden and a miniature railway which is quite popular. I’m sorry I didn’t take any photos of the latter because I was overwhelmed at all of the other gardens, and honestly, railways gardens are just not my thing.

Please don’t hate me for it.

I did find this beautiful Damask rose for you.

Rosa 'Leda.' This appears to actually be 'Pink Leda,' an old Damask rose, one of ancient varieties of rose.
Rose identified as R. ‘Leda.’ This appears to actually be ‘Pink Leda,’ an old Damask rose, one of the ancient varieties of roses.

What else can I say about Newby Hall? Next time, if I have time, I’ll also visit the house. There never is enough time on trips, is there?


  1. I love Newby Hall and so glad Layanee included it in the itinerary when we discussed it. I HAVE been on the railway, but then in my defence we did have my (then) small niece and nephew with us. Newby Hall is a poignant location for me as it is the very last time the whole Chapman family were together. That moment is precious.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Michelle, that is a lovely story. You know, when I have another grandchild, I’ll be all about the railway gardens I’m sure. I thought it was a beautiful place, and I can see why you love it so much too.

  2. Sometimes I wonder what I would do with 40 acres to garden and the financial resources to accomplish my vision. But there is nothing that can equal the element of time. I am glad the current owners had the ambition to restore the garden and take advantage of what had been created by the previous generations.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Kathy, I had a similar feeling as I read the family’s story. I sometimes wish I had a gardener helper to keep up with what I’ve got. I’m glad the family at Newby Hall loved their legacy enough to keep it going. The family actually lives in a portion of the home which about the size of a three-bedroom apartment.

  3. Gail says:

    I can see why you love that garden and I know what you mean by formal, but frothy. Your photos are lovely.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thank you my sweet!

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Delphiniums and foxgloves grow like weeds in England. Amazing to me. I can see why you liked Sylvias garden. It was so colorful, full of life. What a gorgeous place. You are so right about not having enough time for touring.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Lisa, I can’t imagine them growing like weeds. They are darn near impossible to grow here in Oklahoma. It was a beautiful place.

  5. Tee says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! Love all your pictures.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thank you so much Tee! Thank you also for stopping by. Nice to see you.

  6. Carol says:

    Oh, pretty. Love your pictures of what sounds like a fantastic garden!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thank you! I did my best. It was a wondrous place to visit. Ready to go to England yet?

  7. Layanee says:

    Newby Hall’s gardens were everything one could ask for in an English garden. Lush(in spite of the drought), floriferous and with garden rooms to delight the dreams of every gardener. Great post and lovely pictures!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      They were fantastic. So glad you picked them out.

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