Summer solstice marks the official start of astronomical summer – it’s the perfect moment to celebrate and plan the season ahead

Sunset on summer solstice illuminating the grasses in The Newt Garden
Summer Solstice falls at exactly 9.50pm on 20 June

While summer’s been slow on the uptake this year, today marks the official tipping point, when the sun rises for the longest day and reaches the highest point in the sky at exactly 9.50pm. Summer solstice is a magical moment to celebrate the joy of light and warmth; whether you’re seizing the chance to get outside for salutations at sunrise, clinking glasses at sunset or taking your cue from Midsummer festivities by lighting candles to mark the halfway point of the year.

Somerset, ‘the land of the summer people’, has long been linked to ancient rituals, mythical kingdoms and its own set of traditions. After Stonehenge, it’s Glastonbury Tor – a magic mountain, Arthurian hill fort and Druid initiation centre – where revellers gather to see the sunrise. It’s a symbolic meeting place, intrinsically linked to paganism and a deeply felt connection with the land. Magic is believed to be at its strongest during the summer solstice, with folklore depicting stories of the world turning upside down or the sun standing still; a time when humans could exceed the usual limitations of their world. So, in a nod to our forebears’ spiritual outlook, we’re planning to stretch out our favourite of all the seasons and make every sunlit second of summer count. 

From sunset picnics to Great Garden Getaways, eco-therapy in our ancient woodland and a chance to get away from it all with a summer stay, there’s no time like the present to plot your holidays…

Recharge & Reset

Whether you’re in the mood for a midweek getaway or longer break to truly relax and ease yourself into the season, come and join us for a stay at Hadspen or Farmyard. A chance to explore more and buggy, bike or wander the Somerset landscape, you can lose yourself in glorious gardens and experience the buzz of high summer across the estate. Pack your sun cream, swimsuit and favourite book, and we’ll pass a Newt G&T…

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An all white bedroom at The Newt in Somerset
Airy luxury awaits in the Farriers Loft

Great Garden Escapes

Our Great Garden Escape day trip from London Paddington to The Newt (and back again) runs every Friday and Saturday from June to September, alongside a series of seasonal specials. We’re sharing the wonder of Bees & Honey (19, 20 July); leading an archaeological adventure back in time to Roman Somerset (16, 17 August); celebrating Harvest spoils (20, 21 September); introducing our first Somerset Stopover (3, 10 October); and sprinkling some pre-Christmas fairy dust to showcase Midwinter Magic (6, 7 December).

See our gardens at their peak, enjoy tours, tastings and freshly plucked fare throughout the day. It’s the dream gift for green-fingered friends or treat for yourself!

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Golden hour in the gardens lights up the landscape
Golden hour in the gardens illuminates the landscape

Picnic after Hours

We’re celebrating National Picnic Week in style at Garden Lates this week! Running on Thursday evenings throughout June and July (except 27 June), you can book a pitch to enjoy a speciality BBQ – with a focus on the best of estate and local produce – against a backdrop of summer beats and dreamy sunsets. Members and non-members can book to join us, then all you need to do is stroll up, relax and sip a cyder or two.

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Get Back to Nature

Steal away for an hour on a Sunday morning wellness workshop. It starts with a guided walk in the woods before you’re led through the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku or ‘forest bathing’. You’ll use all the senses to consciously connect with the natural surroundings and learn the process of effective immersion, healing and mindfulness among tranquil ancient woodland.

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Eat the View

Summer’s in swing at the Garden Café with a new set of ingredients in play, alongside a tempting set menu and seasonal cocktails – special mention to the Bitterlekker Spritz! – for June. Tuck into the likes of peas & beans with water buffalo mozzarella; barbecued cauliflower with glasshouse pepper romesco; and lemon verbena curd with gooseberry, meringue and salted shortbread. 

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A terrace table at the Garden Café set for a summer lunch with views overlooking The Newt's garden
Summer has arrived at the Garden Café