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Starting the Folly Trail

Meet Sir George Take me here now

Your host and guide

Where to start

We recommend starting at the Coach House, where you can pick up a paper version of the trail from the reception desk. You can also download the map section from the link at the bottom of this page. 

How to find the locations

You can use the Folly Map to guide yourself, or the Google Map at the bottom of each page. Some of the folly locations have stone markers in the ground to help with navigation, but some you will need to use your judgement.

What to do

At each location you can listen to Sir George describing the folly and what it meant to him. In some places his folly still exists today, but in others you can see the design using the sliding images and computer-generated models on your phone. The first audio piece from Sir George is below - touch the red arrow to play. 

Doing the quiz

If you have the paper version of the trail, you can try to answer the quiz questions about the follies by listening to clues in Sir George's explanation. 

Make sure your volume is on: "Sir George talks about follies"

Show transcript

Hello and welcome, my dear friends. I am Sir George Staunton, second Baronet Staunton, Member of Parliament, botanist, expert in Chinese matters, tea magnate, and of course, the owner of this wonderful pleasure garden… but you can call me ‘Sir George’ for short, since you are my guests.

So you are interested in follies! I will be most delighted to show you the best ones in my pleasure garden and tell you a bit about them. I hope you don’t mind walking … they are mostly grouped around the lake.

First things first – a folly is a small ornamental building that one puts into a landscape to make it look more picturesque. They can be big or small, hidden away or right on the top of a hill, but the idea is to make a scene that really pleases the eye.

They are also an opportunity to show off your taste and culture, which is why a particularly tasteful and cultured man like myself builds so many of them. Twenty-eight of them, I think, at last count … but don’t worry, we won’t do them all.

Use the map to find your way to one of the follies and then ask me to explain what it is about, and I think you will be mightily impressed!

This page is part of FOLLIES TRAIL