Lauded Edwardian architect Harold Ainsworth Peto designed the hilltop oasis, and each duchess in the lineage has added her influence to the picturesque setting. Further strengthening the sense of history, recently discovered documents have provided an even greater window into generations past.
In the Japanese Woodland, native plants mingle with hardy exotics grown from seeds collected during long-ago expeditions to the Far East. More than 250 camellias flourish in the fertile valley, along with rhododendrons, azaleas, and bamboo. Framed by yew hedges, the Rose Garden echoes appreciation for Asian culture. Peto laid out the fragrant parterre in the shape of a boat, crowned at the bow with a statue depicting a Chinese horse.
Several years ago, an archivist unearthed plans drawn in 1780 by the leading English landscape architect of the eighteenth century, Lancelot “Capability” Brown. Recovering these papers—presumed destroyed by fire in 1816—allowed Her Grace Emma Manners, eleventh Duchess of Rutland and current steward, to initiate the restoration of Brown’s vision for Belvoir, the final project of his career.
The storied estate opens to the public on select dates from March through October. Pathways invite guests to explore the tranquil charms of the landscape, while a full calendar of arts and entertainment brings live music, cinema, pyrotechnic displays, and competitions to the grounds. Whether for an impromptu picnic or a scheduled event, experiencing the gardens of Belvoir Castle immerses visitors in the equally enthralling wonders of nature and heritage.
Text Melissa Lester
Photography Jane Hope