If anywhere typifies northern Hampshire, it is Houghton Lodge Gardens. Pretty (without being spectacular), remote, reserved and very peaceful.
The house was designed in 1793 by John Plaw, a disciple of John Nash, in the cottage ornée style for the Pitt-Rivers family, and was probably originally intended as a fishing lodge. It is not normally open to the public.
However, the fifteen acres of gardens and water meadows are regularly open, and for opening times, admission prices, etc. please see the official site detailed below.
The River Test
The gardens are designed to complement the house using the eighteenth century Natural Style. This uses conservatories, French windows, terraces and verandas, vases of flowers and plant containers (both inside and out) to soften the boundaries between house and garden.
Beyond them are the water meadows, where the owners have opened up a number of walks. It is one of the few places were the banks of the River Test can be accessed.
Donʼt miss the dragon, that breaths a, not entirely convincing, fine mist at anyone who gets too close.