Tea on the Terrace

IMG_1933 Back home after a couple of days with Elder Daughter and a visit to Wisley yesterday, my last morning included brunch (not tea) with her in the Tea Terrace overlooking the roof garden above House of Fraser in Guildford, Surrey. The gardens were designed by Geoffrey Jellicoe, one of the twentieth century’s leading landscape architects, in the 1950s.

Inspired by the launch of the first Sputnik, the satellite which sparked the space race, the original design with its curved lines and circular shapes used to include a waterfall which disappeared over the parapet down to lower floors, although the latter no longer exists. The garden fell into disrepair in the 1980s but has been restored and many plants replaced in the spirit of the original. Although dry and mild today, overnight rain meant the outside tables were not in use but we can look forward to taking tea there in the summer and appreciating the view over Guildford and the North Downs.


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17 Responses to Tea on the Terrace

  1. Chloris says:

    How lovely, time spent with your daughter and Wisley too. What a treat. Are you going to show us what was looking good at Wisley? I am particularly keen to see what was going on in the alpine house.

    • Cathy says:

      It was indeed, Chloris. Hopefully I will post some pictures today but have been catching up on other stuff first. We did not, alas, make it to the alpine house as ED is ‘heavily pregnant’ and we couldn’t manage everything this time 😉

  2. I knew following your blog was a smart thing to do. I love this kind of post. I only wish I could join you and your daughter for tea later this summer in this lovely spot and meaningful garden.

    • Cathy says:

      You would be most welcome to join us if you were in the UK when we next go, Stepheny! It was beautifully light and airy up there, even without being outside in the garden – but I do look forward to seeing it close up the next time.

  3. I’ve haven’t visited Wisley yet, despite being a member of the RHS. It’s on my “to-do” list, hopefully, when I visit family in London. Love the “Sputnik garden” ! What we could see looks v. interesting to me – grasses and strong shapes. And what a view!

    • Cathy says:

      It was only pigeons and a pair of mallards enjoying it properly this time, but we shall be joining them next time although not in the water! ED lives only 20 mins or so from there and it helps to make the membership worthwhile as we both get in free

  4. Thanks for sharing this. Jellicoe has had such a big influence on contemporary garden design. I think this roof garden looks as though it could have been created last year rather than almost 60 years ago.

  5. Christina says:

    I used to live near Wisley and I miss just being able to pop in in all seasons when I had a free afternoon. I try to visit when we return to the UK but it isn’t always possible.

    • Cathy says:

      Having 2 dogs ED and partner don’t have much of a garden and I am pleased she has enjoyed these visits to Wisley – it was very different from last time which was in summer, as I shall hopefully write about today

  6. wellywoman says:

    I lived in Guildford for about 6 months a while ago. The House of Fraser had just been refurbished at the time. It’s quite a view from up there. Sounds like you had a lovely time.

  7. Annette says:

    Looks like an inspiring place to have a brunch. Nice planting too on their website. Glad, you had a good time with your daughter.

  8. Julie says:

    Sounds like you have had a lovely break Cathy and how exciting to hear that a baby is on the way! Do you think that the new arrival will distract you from your garden?

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Julie. – but even if ED was on the doorstep the garden would still be safe! As a family we are spaced out geographically and close without living in each others pockets, so it won’t be very different even with the new arrival. We may visit a little more often but partly as visiting will be easier now she isn’t working.

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