A sealed off mansion house surrounded by opulent gardens and only open a few days a year to the public, this is the Frogmore House and Garden.
Situated a short walk from Windsor Castle the grounds have been in royal ownership since the 16th century, with the main house variously leased out until the time of King George III, when it became a Royal retreat.
The main house was upgraded and expanded as befits a regal occupant and was last lived in by the Queen Mother. No longer a Royal residence, it is still used for parties and picnics.
It is also the long term residence for a number of junior royals, next to Queen Victoria’s Mausoleum.
It is also still private, and only on a handful of days can the general public goes through locked gates and wander around the gardens and have a look in the house.
Going in through the Mausoleum gate, resulted in probably the most invasive security bag search I have ever seen, which even included opening my spectacles case to check what was inside.
A short intro from the charity — for the ticket sales for the garden visits go to charity, and then off for a wander.
It’s a decent-sized park with lots of formal gravel paths to steer people around in a series of loops and detours, all around a large lake in the centre. This is very posh landscaping, with exceptionally mown lawns and per cent circles cut out of the lawns where trees protruded.
The heart of the gardens is the Royal Mausoleum, the burial site for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The Mausoleum is grand and impressive from the front, but it’s the back where there are burials in simple stone tombs for non-sovereign royals. At the very far corner, the burial plots of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor — granted permission to be buried here, but at a distance from everyone else.
Wandering around, green fingered sorts may delight at the very wide range of trees that have been put here, including a tall Giant Redwood, while others may delight in being let into a private garden that is so carefully maintained even though hardly anyone ever sees it.
At the top of the lake is Frogmore House, and here’s where I ran into a problem.
My ticket was for the garden, but why not go inside the house, for a mere £7 extra — but it was cash only. There was no warning from the charity I bought tickets from, with my credit card, that the House was a cash-only operation.
Yes, I should have grabbed some cash from the bank on the way as general insurance, and usually do, but sometimes I forget and not bring pre-warned meant it wasn’t really on my mind. Holding a single-entry ticket, and being a fair distance from a cashpoint, I was left to look at the house from the outside.
I wonder how many other people were similarly caught out.
Oh well, but now I have an excuse to go back next year when it opens again for the annual charity open days.
Some more photos