Set beyond the Arboretum amidst more than 2,000 acres of sprawling pastures and woodland in and around Arley, Upper Arley and alongside the River Severn, Arley House and Arboretum has remained a beloved part of this corner of Worcestershire for generations. Although the estate and gardens have only been open tot he public since 2002, Arley Arboretum enjoys a long and fascinating history that dates back more than two centuries. Once a modest botanical garden, today the estate is home to jaw-dropping architecture, glorious flower plantings and tree forests, not to mention an array of exciting events and activities that young and old can enjoy.
The Estate along with the village and gardens was left to a charitable trust on the death of its last owner, Roger Turner and the trustees have enhanced many areas whilst maintaining the special beauty of the area.
History of Arley House and Arboretum
The story of Arley House and its renowned arboretum dates back to the early 1800s when Earl Mountnorris, a celebrated name in botanical discoveries and insight, began planning its construction. By the middle of the nineteenth century, his dream had been realised and the arboretum was flourishing with tropical plant life, with some of the original specimen trees still considered some of the premier collections in the country. In 1852, ownership of the estate changed hands when Robert Woodward acquired it. The estate and its arboretum would remain in the Woodward family for over a century, although by the 1950s it was in a state of neglect and in dire need of refurbishment. Thankfully, a new owner would soon register their interest and the Arley House and Arboretum that you see today was truly born.
Evolution of the Estate
In 1959, local industrialist and philanthropist Roger Turner purchased the estate and quickly got to work in refurbishing it to its former glory. Turner not only set about restoring the arboretum and its Grade II listed gardens to their former glory, he also commissioned work on 27 new buildings which included the Arley House that stands today, in addition to a local sports and leisure club that quickly became the heart of a bustling community. Although Roger Turner passed away in 1999, his legacy endured when he bequeathed the entire estate to his charitable trust. The trustees of the Roger and Douglas Turner Trust put a renewed on the historic arboretum, expanding with new plantings and areas before opening it to the public in 2002 with the aim of educating and inspiring visitors of all ages.
Events and Activities
There’s plenty to keep you occupied at Arley House and Arboretum. If you’re a fan of plant life, there’s several gardens to enjoy, with the Italian Garden home to many formal plantings and water features, with a design inspired by the Italian Renaissance gardens of the 1500s. The Magnolia Garden is also an ideal place to idle away an hour or two, with spectacular springtime blooms and an impressive array of magnolia trees that range from classic magnolia white, to vibrant pink in colour. Once you’ve enjoyed a wander, enjoy some refreshments at the Garden Tea Room, or try your luck at solving the meandering maze. If you’d like to take a little piece of Arley home with you, we also offer a plant sale service with beautiful blooms and cuttings grown by our very own gardeners. There’s also plenty for little ones, with our forestry club and kids trails giving children the chance to enjoy exhilarating outdoor adventures.
The Ideal Venue for Special Occasions
Arley House and its gardens can also be hired for private use, serving as the ideal venue for milestone anniversaries, birthday parties and weddings to remember. We cater to all kinds of weddings with an incredible array of packages, with nearby Arley Church, otherwise known as St Peter’s Church, offering you a superb setting for more traditional celebrations that’s within walking distance of the main house.
Interested in tying the knot in this glorious corner of Worcestershire? Get in touch today to enquire about our wedding packages and services.
Plan Your Visit
We’re open 5 days week, Wednesday to Sunday, from 11am until 5pm for most of the year. However, if you’re stuck for something to do with the kids in summertime, you’ll be glad to know that Arley House and Arboretum is open seven days a week, with great deals on family passes and season tickets.