Sadly, little remains of the original garden although the National Trust has recreated part of it.
Wander around the garden which includes the well-house, bowling green, herbaceous borders and a vegetable garden.
Visit William Morris’s other house at Kelmscott – it’s managed by the Society of Antiquaries.
The gardens are open on several days of the week from April until the end of October.
National Trust members visit for free.
William Morris, poet, author, textile designer and leading figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement believed that a garden should not imitate Nature ‘but should look like a thing never to be seen except near a house. It should, in fact, look like a part of the house.’ So to understand the garden, also explore the house.
William Morris commissioned Philip Webb to design a house ‘very medieval in spirit’. It was built of red bricks with a red tiled roof broken by gables, hips, valleys and ridges at different levels. The architectural importance of Red House cannot be over-estimated although historians have debated as to which genre it belongs to: High Victorian Gothic, the domestic revival, the Arts and Crafts Movement or the Modern Movement.
Stefan Muthesuis describes it as the most famous building of the late 19th century and comments on the fusion of the architecture and the interior design. Muthesuis believes it to be ‘the first private house of the new artistic culture, the first house to be conceived and built as a unified whole inside and out, the very first example in the history of the modern house’.
In 1865, Morris sold the Red House, finding it too expensive to run. Their next house was Kelmscott in Gloucestershire.
From 1865, the house changed hands several times until it was rescued in 2003 by the National Trust.