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Earlier this Spring, in May, we traveled to England to partake of the Champagne Garden Tea Tour at Prince Charles’ Highgrove estate. I'd read his book and was of course most interested in viewing his organic garden and farm, especially the composting facilities.
But, because this was a champagne tour, it focused on the more publicly civilized aspects of the extensive garden. Although we never got close to the “working” part of the garden, we did indeed visit many of the nooks and crannies and approaches to gardening that the Prince is renowned for being such a truly hands-on gardener passionate about sustainability. It was fascinating.
Although we visitors can’t take photographs, many are available online, so I’ve pulled some of those to illustrate where we went.
If you anticipate planning a trip to The Royal Gardens at Highgrove (https://www.highgrovegardens.com/), be aware that reservations are usually filled many months ahead, and you must arrive at the estate guard house only 15 minutes ahead of your scheduled tour -- and you’re not allowed to wait there if you arrive early.
We’d arrived an hour early by taxi from the Kemble train station a half-hour away, and had to take the taxi back into the nearby town of Tetbury, 10 minutes away, until we’d be allowed to enter the Prince’s property.
To avoid paying the Kemble taxi again, we thought we’d utilize a Tetbury taxi. But, as we enjoyed our pasties and tea at a tea shop, we found that the three local taxi companies were either on vacation or didn’t respond.
Luckily, a local resident in the shop heard of our plight and volunteered to take us to Highgrove at our assigned time. Of course, he had never been there and didn’t really know where it was, so we got a very roundabout trip to Highgrove through surrounding countryside and arrived almost too late to be allowed on our assigned tour!
Following our tour, Highgrove called a taxi that they always deal with to take us back to the Kemble train station, so at least that end of the day went smoothly.
Even when you plan as much as you can, there’s always some new adventure….
So, on to our Highgrove tour!