Visits and events for Friends and their guests

Summer 2015 garden visits - download a booking form here.

Special events for friends and their guests, including:

The Friends' Summer Party.

The Friends' AGM

Late summer and autumn 2015 events and visits - download a booking form here.

Friends' coffee mornings at the Garden

Insight tours at the Arboretum


Summer and autumn 2015 events and garden visits


Friends should book for the following summer 2015 visit using this booking form.


Rycote Park

Thursday 20th August at 10.30am

Rycote Park, Nr Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 2PE, by kind permission of Bernard & Sarah Taylor

This private visit to Rycote Park will begin with coffee, tea and biscuits in the 18th -century barn next to Rycote Chapel and an introductory talk on its history from Sarah Taylor. The chapel was consecrated in 1449. It has a plain but pleasing exterior but what makes it of outstanding interest are the fine 17th-century fittings of the western gallery, two large covered pews, pulpit and beautifully carved reredos. Sarah and her team will then lead us on a tour of the chapel, historic grounds and gardens of Rycote, taking in the research done by Time Team, amongst others. Rycote Park was once a great Tudor palace much visited by royalty, including Elizabeth I as princess in captivity and then no fewer than six times as queen. It was bought by Lord Williams of Thame in 1539 and remained in the hands of his descendants, ultimately the Earls of Abingdon, until 1911. By then, the house was a shadow of its former self, having been largely demolished in 1807. During the course of the 20th and 21st centuries, three owners have added their stamp to create what is now a mellow comfortable house in a beautiful park, restored with the help of Elizabeth Banks, with echoes still of Capability Brown who designed the park in the 1760s.

  • Tickets £15, guests £20
  • Maximum no. 60



Friends should book for the following late summer and autumn 2015 visits and events using this booking form.


Pimms in the Garden – the Friends’ Summer Party

Thursday 6th August, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Meet the new Director Professor Simon Hiscock and see the Merton Borders in their full glory. All Friends and their families are very welcome.

No charge, but please let us know if you plan to come by completing the above events booking form.


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Double visit to the Saïd Business School and to Nuffield College - FULLY BOOKED, BUT WE ARE TRYING TO ORGANISE A SECOND VISIT

Friday 4th September

1.30pm: Saïd Business School, Park End Street, Oxford OX1 1HP

By kind permission of Professor Peter Tufano, Peter Moores Dean of the Saïd Business School

3.00 pm: Nuffield College, New Road, Oxford, OX1 1NF

By kind permission of The Warden of Nuffield College, Sir Andrew Dilnot

Walter Sawyer, Superintendent of the University Parks, who manages the gardens at the Saïd Business School and at Nuffield College, will take us round both gardens. The Saïd Business School was built on the site of the medieval Rewley Abbey and the layout of the building and the garden reflect the abbey’d layout. We will walk for 5 minutes to Nuffield College which has interesting planting, a large lily pond and two major sculptures in its quad, and a hidden Fellows’ Garden. Richard Mayou, Chairman of the Friends and Emeritus Fellow of Nuffield College will show us the highly regarded collection of modern and contemporary art in the Junior and Senior Common Rooms. We will also visit two little known interiors: the chapel, a complete John Piper design of 1960, and the recently restored room at the top of the tower which has spectacular views. We will have tea in the hall.

  • Tickets £20, guests £25
  • Maximum no. 20


Brightwell Vineyard

Sunday 13th September at 5.00 pm (Note: This is a change of date from that advertised in the spring newsletter)

Rush Court, Shillingford Road, Wallingford, OX10 8LJ

By kind permission of Bob and Carol Nielsen

Brightwell is Oxfordshire's largest vineyard on a 14 acre site just south of the Thames in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It produces high-quality white, rosé, red and sparkling wines which frequently win medals at National and International competitions. The one hour guided tour will cover the growth of the vines, the soil and climate. This will be followed by an hour of tutored tasting of five still wines produced at Brightwell, during which techniques of winemaking will also be discussed.

  • Tickets £20, guests £25
  • Maximum no. 32


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Friends' Annual General Meeting

Tuesday 22nd September 2015 at 7:30pm

In the Jaqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Oxford OX4 1DY

Further information here.


Egrove Park - FULLY BOOKED

Wednesday 21st October at 2.00pm

Kennington Road, Kennington, Oxford, OX1 5NY

By kind permission of Professor Peter Tufano, Peter Moores Dean of the Saïd Business School

Egrove Park, just north of Kennington, is part of the Oxford Saïd Business School. Friends will be given a tour of the main, modernist style building, which opened in 1969, and of the 37 acres of parkland grounds. These were landscaped by the late Alan Mitchell who planted a wide selection of specimen trees. There are also wild flower meadows, woodland and ponds. The tour of the grounds, lead by Nick Bishop, Senior Groundsman, will take up to an hour, and will include steps and uneven paths. Tim Royal, Head of Hotel Services, will give a tour of the building. Refreshments are included.

  • Tickets £15, guests £20
  • Maximum no. 20



A date for your diary

Friday 16th October (evening): fundraising concert in Merton College Chapel, Oxford.

Further information will be sent to Friend in the autumn


Regular events (no need to book)


Friends’ coffee mornings at the GardenGardens Curator Tom Price (centre) showing Friends the Merton Borders in the Lower Garden, September 2012

The first Friday of every month (except January, April and August) in the Garden’s Conservatory. After coffee a member of staff leads a tour of the Garden.

Fridays: 4th September, 2nd October, 6th November, 10.30am to 11.30am, no fee and no booking required, just turn up.





Insight tours at the Arboretum

Friends are very welcome to join these free tours on the first Wednesday of every month, which are a great opportunity for Arboretum staff to show off the latest developments, and for visitors to give their thoughts and opinions as well as to ask questions.

Wednesdays 5th August, 2nd September, 7th October, 4th November 1.30pm to 3.00pm, no fee and no booking required, just turn up.



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