I travelled to Grantham by train and then caught the 27 bus to Sleaford, which stops outside the gates of Belton House, which is part of the National Trust. It is often called the quintessential English country house.
Rain was forecast, so I headed off to explore the outside areas first. There is a Dutch Garden and an Italian Garden. Although they are pleasant, they are not that exciting. I was just a little bit disappointed that the dahlias were all the same, one yellow round the fountain, and one red along the terrace. Although drifts work well, there are so many dahlias that you could still have had a drift of yellow or red using many different varieties. The bones of the garden are good, it just lacks imagination in planting. There were lots of rather basic plantings of pelargonium in the magnificent urns.
The Orangery is planted with fuchsias and abutilon as well as palms. The planting is dense with a central water feature. The shrimp plant (Justicia) was in flower. Immediately behind the Orangery are hydrangeas in a lovely deep pink and a lawn with what looked like medlars and a small herbaceous border on three sides. This was planted with plants grown from seed - Xerochrysum, the strawflower everlasting and Cleome, which you don't often see - I like its striking blooms but watch the spines. Agastache and Dahlias were combined effectively. There were also Sedums and Acanthus.
I entered the Norman church, not part of the NT. It's well worth a visit. There are some very ancient trees in this part of the garden. Then I came out and walked down to the Italian garden, nicely done, but at one time full of roses. You get wonderful views of this area from the house.
The house is the best part, I loved it. The interiors are perfect and elegant. I loved the Chinese silk room best of all. There is currently a raffle to save Darcy's desk.
There was also a display of embroidery by the local branches of the Embroiderer's Guild that is worth a visit. It is in celebration of Capability Brown.
There is a large deer park, but my legs were objecting so I returned to Grantham, to be greeted by a terrible storm - torrential rain, thunder and lightning. Honestly that sort of welcome was not necessary!
Facilities include a shop, garden shop and cafe.
Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2016