In 1905 Barnett Hill was nothing more than a
wooded hilltop, when Frank Cook, the grandson of
travel agent Thomas Cook, bought the 26-acre site
and built his Queen Anne house.
The grounds, 360ft above sea level, have
magnificent views over the Surrey Hills. The estate
employed fourteen gardeners in the day of the
Cooks and is now overseen by Head Gardener
Della Connelly who will be our guide for the day.
In 1940 the then widowed Mrs Cook handed the
house over to the Red Cross and St John War
Organisation to use as a convalescent hospital.
Four years later she gave the house deeds to the
British Red Cross, who after the war, turned Barnett
Hill into their National Training Centre. In 2005
Barnett Hill was purchased by the Sundial Group
who ran the venue as an events and conference
centre up until September 2016. Barnett Hill was
then purchased by Alexander Hotels who have
renamed the venue as Barnett Hill Country House
Hotel. While the gardens continue to evolve with
new plants and projects, the ambience and sense
of history remains, partly from the planting and
structure but also from the teahouse, summerhouse
and greenhouse, all in their original condition, that
give a glimpse into the past. Known for its eclectic
plantings and tranquil setting the plants are not
generally bought for the garden, but rather grown
from seed and then propagated to increase the
stock in the garden.
The Perennial 2017 Special Events programme is kindly supported by Hartley Botanic