Visits and events for Friends and their guests

Summer garden visits    Autumn garden visits   Friends' coffee mornings at the Garden     Insight tours at the Arboretum


The Friends' al fresco opera: L’Infideltà delusa by Joseph Haydn

Wednesday 16th July
The Warden’s Garden, New College, Oxford

5.00pm: Pre-performance talk by Professor Michael Burden
6.30pm: Opera performance by New Chamber Opera

The earliest recorded performance of L’Infideltà delusa (‘Deceit outwitted’), a burletta per musica, was given at the Palace of Eszterháza in Hungary on 26th July 1773. This was the name day of the Dowager Princess Estaházy and is the date given in the printed libretto. The opera is set in the Tuscan countryside and tells the tale of rural folk, with much trickery and many disguises, but ending as all good tales should, with not one but two marriages.

There will be an optional pre-performance talk at 5.00pm in the ante-chapel, followed by a glass of sparkling wine in the New College cloisters. The first act of the performance will start at 6.30pm in the Warden’s Garden (or in the ante-chapel if wet). During the 75-minute interval guests will return to tables set out in the cloisters to enjoy their picnics.

Pre-performance talk tickets £2.50; opera performance tickets £44.00

Please book on this opera booking form.

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Summer garden visits

Friends should book for summer garden visits using this booking form.


COACH TRIP to the London Wetland Centre

Saturday 26th July
The coach will leave Oxford’s Water Eaton Park & Ride at 9.00am. Please note that parking at Water Eaton is no longer free. We plan to be back in Oxford at around 5.00pm.

The London Wetland Centre is an oasis just ten minutes from Hammersmith, comprising a 100-acre mosaic of pools, lagoons, gardens, reed beds and meadows. It was formed in 2000 from four disused Victorian reservoirs, tucked into a loop of the Thames, and provides a haven for hundreds of species of birds, insects and wetland mammals. The site includes several inspirational gardens which demonstrate that beauty, support for wildlife and sustainability can go together. After refreshments on arrival, we will have a guided tour of the Rain Garden with its wildflower meadow, green roof planting, stream with lush, bold vegetation along its edges and rocky ‘dry’ stream. In the afternoon we will be free to explore the rest of the site including the Wildlife Garden with its trees and stretches of tall reeds and grasses running down to the edge of the stream, and the Slate Garden, a riot of colour, designed to provide bold swatches of brightly hued flowers which offer an eye-catching display from spring through to autumn. Lunch is not included so bring a picnic or visit the excellent Water Edge Café. Also bring your binoculars.

  • Tickets £31.00, guests: £36.00
  • Maximum no. 50


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Autumn garden visits

Friends should book for autumn garden visits using this booking form.

COACH TRIP to East London Parks: Victoria, Queen Elizabeth Olympic and Thames Barrier

Saturday 13th September

Leaving Oxford's Water Eaton Park & Ride at 8.45am; we expect to be back in Oxford at about 5.45pm.

Our visit starts with coffee at the Royal Inn on the edge of the recently-renovated Victoria Park. We will then take a short stroll around part of the park before continuing to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for a guided walking tour and free time for lunch and to explore further. Our day will conclude with tea at the Thames Barrier Park. Coffee and tea are included, but not lunch; there are three cafés in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, or bring a picnic.

  • Tickets £35, guests £40
  • Maximum no. 50




COACH TRIP to Coton Manor and Cottesbrooke Hall, Northamptonshire

Thursday 18th September

Leaving Oxford's Water Eaton Park & Ride at 9.00am; we expect to be back in Oxford at about 5.30pm.

Coton Manor by kind permission of Mr & Mrs Pasley-Tyler

Cottesbrooke Hall by kind permission of Mr & Mrs AR MacDonald-Buchanan

Coton Manor has a 10-acre garden set in peaceful countryside with old yew and holly hedges and extensive herbaceous borders containing many unusual plants. There are water, herb, kitchen and woodland gardens and a specialist nursery selling plants propagated from the garden. The owner Mr Pasley-Tyler will give us a talk. After lunch we will visit nearby Cottesbrooke Hall where we will be given a guided tour of the house, which dates from 1702, and an opportunity to explore the gardens. The park was landscaped in the 18th century but the formal and wild gardens have mainly been developed during the present century by garden designers including Robert Weir Schultz, Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe and Dame Sylvia Crowe. There will be refreshments on arrival at Coton Manor, but lunch is not included. There is a café at Coton Manor or bring a picnic which you can eat in the car park there.

  • Tickets £35, guests £40
  • Maximum no. 50


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Thenford House Gardens and Arboretum

Saturday 18th October at 2.30pm

Nr Banbury, OX17 2BX

By kind permission of Lord & Lady Heseltine

Due to popular demand we are returning to Thenford to see the wonderful autumn colours and to visit the walled garden, the arboretum, the waterfall garden, the medieval fish ponds, lakes, and the sculpture garden displaying contemporary works of art. Please note that all Friends and guests must be named, and the list is sent to Thenford in advance of the visit (i.e. if your name is not on the list, you will not be able to enter).

  • Tickets £15, guests £20
  • Maximum no. 50


Wytham Woods: Oxford’s Ecological Laboratory

Wednesday 29th October at 2.00pm

Sawmill Yard, Wytham, OX2 8QQ

A two-hour autumn guided walk to uncover the secrets of this delightful woodland on Oxford’s doorstep. Nigel Fisher, Conservator of Wytham Woods, will tell us about the ecology, history and research interests of the site. The woods will be in full autumn splendour. This will be a leisurely walk with the opportunity to re-trace your steps at the half way mark if a two-hour walk is too long. Refreshments are included.

  • Tickets £12, guests £17
  • Maximum no. 30


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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 and August) in the Garden’s Conservatory. After coffee a member of staff leads a tour of the Garden.

Fridays: 5th September, 3rd October, 7th November, 5th December, 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 6th August, 3rd September, 1st October, 5th November, 3rd December, 1.30pm to 3.00pm [note new, earlier time], no fee and no booking required, just turn up.



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