This is without doubt one of the best gardens in the country. It is a Grade I garden inspired by Italy and the gardens of ancient Rome. Built on a hillside overlooking the river Frome, Iford Manor is an Elizabethan manor house, with a classical front which was added in the eighteenth century, when its woodland walks, planted with drifts of snowdrops and martagon lilies, were renowned for their beauty. The house had become dilapidated by 1899, when it was bought by the architect and designer Harold Peto, who made it his home for more than thirty years. Peto had become increasingly interested in garden design, and at Iford he found the country house he had been looking for. Here he created a unique and romantic hillside landscape, with terraces, sculpture and magnificent rural views.
In the centre of the historic town of Malmesbury, on top of the hill, next to the old Abbey, is a garden recently created, but easily good enough to compare with any historic garden. Overlooked by the ruined arch of the Abbey, the garden evokes a sense of history, introducing new planting to an ancient site, using a combination of formal design and modern sculpture in a fascinating mix of colour, and texture.