The 18th-century Iford Manor is best known for its Italianate-style gardens, which were designed by Harold Peto between 1899 and 1933. The property is on the banks of the River Frome, 4km (2½ miles) southwest of Bradford on Avon, and it is a pleasant excursion from either Bath or Bradford on Avon.
Ilford Manor and the Peto Gardens have been used as a filming location for several films and television series including Mistresses (2009), Sanditon (2019) and the Secret Garden (2020).
What to see at Iford Manor Gardens
At just 1ha (2½ acres), the gardens are relatively compact. They are set on several terraces that incorporate colonnades, water features and other architectural follies in the Italianate style that make it like a little bit of Tuscany on the Somerset/Wiltshire border.
There are also lovely views of the Frome River Valley from the gardens.
Visiting Iford Manor Gardens
Iford Manor Gardens are located on the banks of the River Frome, 4km (2½ miles) southwest of Bradford on Avon. The access roads are very narrow and are unsuitable for larger vehicles.
It is a one-hour walk from the centre of Bradford on Avon. It is a lovely walk that follows a canal as far as Avoncliff, where there’s a 16th-century country pub with a riverside beer garden. It is also possible to take the train as far as Avoncliff (or Freshford if you’re coming from Bath) and walk the last half hour, although this means that you’ll miss the nicest part of the walk.The gardens are open from April to October. Credit cards are not accepted so you’ll need to bring cash to pay the £7.50 admission fee.
The nature of the gardens means that there are long flights of steps (many without handrails) so it is not the best place to visit if you are disabled or have mobility issues.
Picnics on the ground are not allowed but you can enjoy a cream tea at the Housekeeper’s Tearoom. Alternatively, you can stop at the Cross Guns pub in Avoncliff for a drink and a bite to eat if you’re walking here from Bradford on Avon.
Most people spend between one and two hours visiting the gardens. Add another two hours if you’re walking here from Bradford on Avon.