Orangery + Mushroom House

Orangery + Mushroom House

Long Gallery

Long Gallery

Hanbury Hall is a large stately home, built in the early 18th century, standing in parkland at Hanbury, Worcestershire. The main range has two storeys and is built of red brick in the Queen Anne style. It is a Grade I listed building. The associated Orangery and Long Gallery pavilion ranges are listed Grade II*. From the Norman Conquest onwards, the Hanbury estate was within the boundaries of the Royal Forest of Feckenham. Feckenham's royal status was lost in 1629 and local families like the Vernons bought up land to increase their own estates.

Hanbury Hall was built by the wealthy chancery lawyer Thomas Vernon in the early 18th century. Thomas Vernon was the great-grandson of the first Vernon to come to Hanbury, Worcestershire, Rev Richard Vernon (1549–1628). Rev Richard and his descendants slowly accumulated land in Hanbury, including the manor, bought by Edward Vernon in 1630, but it was Thomas, through his successful legal practice, who added most to estates, which amounted to nearly 8,000 acres (3,200 ha) in his successor Bowater Vernon’s day.

Hanbury Hall is thought to stand on the site of the previous mansion, Spernall Hall, and Thomas Vernon first describes himself as ‘of Hanbury Hall’ in 1706, and this and other evidence leads to a likely completion date of about 1706. The date of 1701 above the front door is thought to be a Victorian embellishment, but no building accounts are known to exist.

Although Hanbury Hall appears to be of a very uniform style, the rear wall is clearly of a different and rather earlier style, and may mark the first phase of a building campaign when Thomas Vernon and his wife Mary first came into possession of Spernall Hall in 1692 when his bachelor uncle John Vernon died.

A notable feature of Hanbury Hall is the painting of the staircase, hall ceiling, and other rooms by the English painter Sir James Thornhill. They include a small representation of Rev Henry Sacheverell being cast to the furies – this relates to an incident in 1710 when Sacheverell, a Tory, was put on trial for sedition by the Whig government, and dates the paintings to that year. The focus of the paintings around the stairwell is the life of the Greek hero Achilles, as told by a range of classical sources. They are surmounted by a large representation of the Olympian gods on the ceiling.

The original plan of the Hall had a large undivided central hall with the main staircase leading off it, with many rather small rooms in the corner pavilions and north range – the south range was given over mainly to service rooms. The 18th century Worcestershire historian Treadway Nash, in his Collections for the History of Worcestershire, wrote “Here is a large handsome house built by Counsellor Vernon about the year 1710 when a bad style of architecture prevailed; many windows and doors, rooms small, many closets, few arched cellars, large stables and offices in full view, are marks of that time”.

When the heiress Emma Vernon (1754–1818) married Henry Cecil, 1st Marquess of Exeter in 1776, Cecil clearly was of the same opinion, as he remodelled the interior (other than the great hall) creating larger rooms and enlarging the north east pavilion. On the south façade, having removed a doorway he repositioned all the windows to lie under their first floor equivalent. On the south side there had been large formal gardens, clearly shown in Dougharty’s perspective drawing contained in the estate maps of the 1730s, and Cecil swept all these away (including the farm buildings in front of the Hall) and landscaped the park in the fashion of the time – he would have had contact with Capability Brown when being brought up by his uncle 9th Earl of Exeter at Burghley House.

Following Henry and Emma’s divorce in 1791 the contents were all sold, and the house remained empty until Henry’s death in 1804, when Emma and her third husband, John Phillips, were able to regain possession. As the house had lain unoccupied for so long, many repairs had to be carried out at that time. Emma died in 1818 and left her second cousin, Thomas Shrawley Vernon (1759-1825), as the heir to her estate after the death of her husband John Phillips. Phillips married again and had two daughters in Hanbury before finally moving out in 1829.

From then, the eldest son of Emma's heir, Thomas Tayler Vernon (1792–1835), was able to occupy it. His grandson Harry Foley Vernon (1834–1920) MP, was created 1st Baronet of Hanbury in 1885, and was succeeded by his son Sir (Bowater) George Hamilton Vernon (1865–1940), 2nd Baronet. Sir George led an unhappy life, separating from his wife Doris, and spending his last 10 years living with his secretary and companion Ruth Horton, who later changed her name by deed poll to Vernon. During this time the agricultural depression led to a reduction in rental income, and Hanbury Hall suffered a lack of care.

In poor health, Sir George Vernon took his own life in 1940. There were no further heirs to the Baronetcy which became extinct. Sir George's estranged wife was able to move back in after his death, dying there in 1962. In the meantime, negotiations had led to the National Trust having the reversion, and after making essential repairs on Lady Vernon’s death, the hall was let to tenants and opened to the public on a restricted basis. In recent years the hall has been managed more commercially and is now open daily.

** – The Gardens – **

Hanbury Hall is the very essence of a countryside retreat; impressive yet intimate and welcoming. It owes much of that feeling to its beautiful, recreated eighteenth century gardens. The original gardens were designed in 1705 by George London, predecessor to other renowned designers Kent, Brown and Nash. He was the most celebrated garden designer of his time creating gardens for royalty and nobility at Chatsworth, Hampton Court and Kensington Palace.

The English garden was influenced heavily by Dutch, William of Orange’s Gardens at Palais Het Loo as well as those of Louis XIV at Versailles. In their interpretation by George London, garden designs became softer and more incorporative of the surrounding English Landscape. London created gardens where his patrons could escape the tumultuous early eighteenth-century world within his formal designs, using mathematical precision and newly discovered and imported plants; he created a safe haven for drama, fun and recreation.

Later, as the Landscape movement gained momentum through the mid-1700s, formal Parterres and closely trimmed topiary gave way to more relaxed, Brownian landscapes. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the gardens at Hanbury were also swept away, replaced with wide open spaces and uninterrupted views. They remained as such for the next 200 years.

The formal designs of George London were mostly lost due to the changing fashions in garden design at the time. Perhaps only one original garden remains, at Melbourne Hall in Derbyshire but other London gardens have been faithfully recreated, first at Hampton Court Palace in the Privy Garden and then at Hanbury Hall in the Great Garden.

In the early 1990’s work began on the recreation of London’s garden at Hanbury Hall. Not a trace of the original garden remained but using London’s original 1705 plans along with other historic plans and drawings, the National Trust's Gardens and Park Manager, Neil worked with a team of experts to determine the layout of the topiary and hedge framework that made up the stunning structure of the Great Garden. Historic planting guides were also used to select appropriate plants to fill the parterre and surrounding borders with colour and scent throughout the seasons.

"It has been a privilege seeing the garden develop over the last twenty one years it seems like only yesterday that the grand opening took place. Like all great gardens they change and develop over the years, their character matures but like Peter Pans they never really grow up."

  • - Neil Cook, Gardens and Park Manager.
  • On 28th July 1995, the gardens were officially opened and since then, the gardening team at Hanbury have lovingly and patiently maintained this recreated historic gem. Hanbury’s garden is now one of just three of its kind in the country. So whilst we continue to celebrate Brown’s momentous achievements in landscape design, let’s also remember to celebrate the quiet perfectionist gardens of George London at Hanbury.

    After the foggy mornings and dark evenings of winter, enjoy the beginnings of spring as life returns to Hanbury’s gardens. From beds of colourful tulips to buds of delicate blossom, our gardens are finally waking up. Spring is the ideal time to explore Hanbury’s gardens. From mid-February onwards we start to see early signs, as the trees begin to show hints of green once again, the buds start appearing in the borders and the first of the new lambs arrive out in the park.

    The first signs of spring come with the appearance of swathes of snowdrops around the gardens. Typically the best display is lining Cedar Walk from the Great Garden all the way down to the Ice House. Daffodils typically follow in March and April - quintessential sign of spring with their bright-coloured blooms; see them at their finest down in Kytes Orchard.

    Elsewhere, look out for the signs of the Parterre’s ribbon border returning to life. The explosions of stunning, bright colour are carefully planned with thousands of bulbs planted every autumn ready for the following spring. With a colourful array of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths the parterre is sure to be filled with impressive colour and scent. The lovely old Walled Orchard is also a must see, here their gardeners grow 56 varieties of apples including Golden Pippin, Howgate Wonder and the traditional Bramley. In spring, they are always assured a stunning display of pink-tinged apple blossom on the branches. Be sure to stop and take a look at the trees heavy and laden with blossom in May!

    It’s a great time for wildlife watching too. Hanbury provides the ideal habitat for birds, insects and a whole host of other animals and is a great place to watch the wildlife go by. After the long winter, migrating birds return to spend summer in the garden. The return of the birdsong dawn chorus is a sure sign that spring is on the way. Spot chiffchaffs from mid-March, swallows and house martins from mid-April and swifts in late April or early May. Also, look closely and you may spot a small brown bird blending in with the bark of a tree - as it creeps upwards, reaching the treetop canopy before flying back down again, know that you've spied a treecreeper. One of the favourite sights in the spring is the new ducklings. They’re frequently seen down at the Mirror Pool or following mum around the gardens and Stableyard.

  • Walled Garden.
  • Enjoy a little seclusion among the flowers, fruits and vegetables of the peaceful Walled Garden. The Vernon family would have used the seasonal produce grown here to supply their kitchen and they continue this tradition by using the fruits and vegetables in their tearoom.

    Spread over one and a half acres, the productive Walled Garden is certified organic by the Soil Association. The spring months are some of the most productive here with a bountiful harvest of winter leeks, kale, cabbages and rhubarb. Top of their gardener’s to do list at this time of year is to harvest the early produce for use in the tearooms and for sale at the produce stall in the garden for you to enjoy at home.

    Over in the tearoom, delicious warming soups are made with Hanbury grown produce. Rhubarb from the Mushroom House is used in their freshly baked cakes and crumbles. Even the eggs are fresh from the chickens which live down in the Walled Garden too. The Walled Garden has also been home to their chickens since 2010. They currently have Bantams, Pekin and Dutch Gold as well as White Leghorn chickens and four Cheshire Blues. They usually feed the chickens between 1.30 and 2pm each day, so stop by and say hello. You’ll also find our bee hives in the garden too which are looked after and cared for by their volunteer beekeepers, Tim and Lucy.

    ** – Historic Walk – **

    Starting and finishing at Hanbury Hall's gardens, this leisurely walk takes you around Hanbury Park, where you'll find a variety of trees and wildlife. The walk is classified as Easy and is one and a third miles long. It should take around 45 minutes. Free parking is 150 yards, toilets, shop and tearoom available.

  • Start: Hanbury Hall gardens, next to the mirror pool
  • 1. The walk begins at the Cedar Walk within the garden, which is best approached from the far end of the Wilderness by the mirror pool.
  • Hanbury Hall. Hanbury Hall is a fine example of the type of mansion built during the reign of William and Mary in the 18th century and was built in 1701 by Thomas Vernon, lawyer and MP. The clay that was used to make the bricks which built the Hall was dug up from Brick Kiln pond, now a valuable wildlife habitat. Inside the house is a painted staircase, with wall paintings by Sir James Thornhill - the only surviving examples of his work in a Georgian house of this age.
  • 2. Follow the pathway and walk through the gate, over the ditch (known as a ha-ha) and down the slope. On your left you'll pass the ice-house, which was used to store ice, collected during the winter months before the use of refrigerators was widespread.
  • The garden. The 20 acre (8ha) garden contains the recently restored formal early 18th-century gardens, including the parterre (pictured), a symmetrical garden with clipped hedges.
  • 3. Follow the track down the hill until you reach a gate by a black poplar tree. Black poplars were common in the Middle Ages, but due to modern agricultural and woodland management practices, they're now very rare. Follow the worn path to your right, straight across the field. Pass the remains of an old oak plantation (containing a monument to one of the Vernons horses, Pulpit) to your left until you reach an iron gate.
  • 4. You are now next to Brick Kiln Pond. Once through the gate continue uphill, keeping the plantation on the right, known as The Semicircle. This rare landscape feature originally had vista lines cut through to provide views to places of interest in the surrounding landscape. It's currently being restored and has been planted with oak, field maple and hazel trees.
  • 5. Keep the fence to your left and pass the ancient oak trees until you reach Lime Tree Walk; a newly planted avenue of trees. Continue straight ahead, up the incline, through an avenue of oaks until you reach a gate.
  • Wildlife. Hanbury's ancient oaks and pools offer a habitat for hundreds of wildlife species, from rare fungi and insects to protected species like the great crested newt.
  • 6. At this point turn right and walk down another avenue of oaks (Church Avenue). Follow this until you meet the road.
  • 7. Follow the road in the direction of the house. At the cattle-grid, pass through the kissing gate to reach your journeys end.
  • End: Hanbury Hall gardens

    ** – Black Walk – **

    If you want to explore further than the Hanbury estate, this trail offers walkers the option of detouring slightly to the Hanbury village church. The walk is classified as Easy and is one and a half miles long. It should take around 45 minutes. Tea-rooms serving light lunches, hot and cold drinks and cake. Toilets including baby change unit and disabled access. There is a shop and there are water bowls and dog waste bins. This is a dog-friendly walk.

    Start: Hanbury Hall and Gardens car park

  • 1. From the car park, follow the hard path up towards the house. Enter the forecourt and pass to the right hand side of the house. The curved path leads to the shop and toilets. Go past these facilities and continue through a kissing gate to the right of a cattle grid.
  • A view of the hall. Turning the corner after passing visitor reception, you see the symmetrical, red brick house built in 1701 for Thomas Vernon, a successful lawyer from London.
  • 2. Follow the gravelly path across the parkland and look to your left to see a large cedar tree. The path leads to a kissing gate and to the left is the ice house. Follow the path downhill along the avenue of oak trees until you reach a small pond.
  • Black poplars and cedar. See the 300 year old cedar tree, the only plant to have survived since the original planting. Peep into the dark and cool ice house and see rare black poplars.
  • 3. Turn your back to the pond and take the left hand fork. As you walk up the slope, on your left you will see a small monument. Feel free to leave the path to get a closer look. Returning to the path, continue straight and on your right you'll see a fenced, semicircular feature of trees and shortly after, an avenue of young limes framing a view of the house.
  • Monument and semicircle. See the stone monument over the graves of Pulpit, a Vernon horse, and Allan, a family dog.
  • 4. Continue along the path, which soon runs along a line of trees, up to a wide gate and a kissing gate. From here you can take an optional walk up the hill, and leaving the Hanbury Hall estate through another kissing gate, cross the road and continue up the hill to the church, which is not National Trust owned. There are good views from the church yard. Come back to the wide gate the way you came.
  • Hanbury park. This part of the walk gives you the option of visiting the Hanbury village church.
  • 5. Turn a sharp right at the gates and walk down the avenue of oak trees. Continue straight, cross a small road and walk along the side of a newly-planted orchard until you pass through a kissing gate and meet Hanbury Hall's front drive. You can then turn left to return to the car park.
  • Church Avenue and Gosling Croft. Walking along Church Avenue, you may see faint white numbers on the trees which denoted which oaks were to be felled for timber in the 1960s.
  • End: Hanbury Hall and Gardens car park. You made it!
  • parterre at Hanbury Hall

    Parterre at Hanbury Hall


    ** – Visiting – **

    There are plenty of places to enjoy good food at Hanbury Hall. From their hearty lunches in the Servants’ Hall to delicious afternoon tea served in Chambers, you’re sure to be spoilt for choice. Here at Hanbury they are proud to use home-grown, organic seasonal produce from their very own Walled Garden. The fantastic team of dedicated gardeners work hard to provide many of the delicious fruits and vegetables they use.

  • Servants' Hall Tearoom.
  • Visit the Servants’ Hall tearoom, open daily from 10am. Every day there is a great selection of freshly prepared food to choose from, whether it’s a warming bowl of soup, a tasty sandwich or a lovely scone. Lunch is served between 12 noon and 2.30pm but don’t forget to leave room for something sweet, they’ve got a tempting assortment of cakes and scones, perfect for a mid-afternoon treat.

  • Chambers Tearoom.
  • You’ll find Chambers tearoom on the first floor of the house, offering stunning views of the surrounding Worcestershire Countryside. It’s the perfect place to linger and treat yourself to a delicious afternoon tea. Relax, take in the views and enjoy being waited on by their friendly catering team. Afternoon tea is one of their specialities. Sit back in beautiful surroundings and enjoy a selection of mouth-watering sandwiches, delicious cakes and clotted cream scones served with loose leaf teas and local cold drinks. Tables are available between 1pm and 4pm. To book, please call 01527 821214.

  • Time for a picnic.
  • There are many beautiful spots perfect for a picnic in our gardens. They have picnic tables nestled underneath the trees in our Stableyard or take a stroll down to the Orangery Lawn and enjoy the peace and quiet of the nearby parkland. If the weather is less than ideal or you want a break from the sun, stop by the back of the house with your picnic and take a seat in the Tea Tent. All dogs are welcome in the Tea Tent too!

  • Shopping.
  • When you visit their stableyard shop, you'll find a gift for everyone. Locally produced beers for the ale buffs, Hanbury grown plants and beautiful throws for your home fill the shelves. Whoever you might be looking for, there are gifts to suit everyone. For those foodies, they've got local ales, chutneys and preserves. For anyone who enjoys home comforts, there are sumptuous throws and candles. And to brighten up an outfit, they've got bags and scarves in beautiful colours. There are always offers in their shop - do pop in and browse during your visit. They have got a great selection of local food and drink to tempt you, including Pershore apple juices and cider, local beers and jars of honey from Solihull.

    Pick up a good read. Visit their new second-hand bookshop in the summer house in the stableyard and pick up a bargain. All money raised goes towards the upkeep of Hanbury Hall and Gardens. They always need donations, so why not have a clear out and bring books along on your next visit?

    ** – Facilities – **


  • • Tea-room.
  • • Shop.
  • • Free parking.
  • • Enjoy homemade cake in our open-air café.
  • • Buy a Hanbury-grown plant to take home.
  • • Toilet.
  • • Tours available, Groups welcome, please contact them before you visit.
  • • Dogs on leads in the park, on footpaths only.
  • Family:-

  • • Baby-changing facilities.
  • • Hip-carrying infant seats for loan.
  • • Children's play area.
  • • Children's quiz/trail.
  • Access:-

  • • Adapted toilet in stable yard.
  • • Designated mobility parking in main car park.
  • • An adult changing facility is available in the Visitor Centre.
  • • Braille and large print guide available.
  • • Sensory experience.
  • • Parking drop-off.
  • • Manual wheelchairs can be used on the ground floor of the house.
  • • Personal mobility vehicle available to borrow, please reserve in advance.


    Location : Hanbury Hall, School Road, Hanbury, Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, WR9 7EA

    Transport: Droitwich Spa (National Rail) then bus or taxi - 4 miles. Bus routes: Worcester to Birmingham 354 (passing close Droitwich Spa train station), alight Wychbold, 2 miles.

    Opening Times Park: Daily, 09:00 to 17:00; Earlier in the winter.

    Opening Times House: Daily, 11:00 to 17:00; Until dusk in the winter.

    Tickets Whole Property: Adult $12.00;  Children £6.00.;  Under 5 free

    Tickets Whole Property Group: Adult $11.00;  Minimum 15 people.

    Tickets Park + Gardens : Adult $8.00;  Children £4.00.

    Tel: 01527 821214