Great Garden @ Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon

‘Whenever I want to escape the hustle and bustle of Lisbon, and don’t want to travel far, I retreat to the gardens of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.

Covering roughly 17 acres, this beautifully landscaped garden contains a wide variety of well-established tropical as well as indigenous plants and trees that shelter subtly-appointed benches and seats. In the last few months a network of new, flat, winding paths has been opened through the garden.

There are picnic tables situated next to a lake where you can sit on bright winter days and soak up the sun, or watch the ducks with their fleets of ducklings enjoying the water in spring. At the weekends the gardens come alive with the sound of kids playing in the sunshine.

In the summer months, it is nice to disappear into this garden down one of the maze-like paths that snake through the shrubbery and to feel as if you are the only person in the world, surrounded only by birds scurrying around in the undergrowth or flitting in the trees. Somehow, the vast tree canopies manage to dull the sound of Lisbon traffic to the point you forget it is there and will also shelter you from the heat of the day.

The garden contains an open-air amphitheater where, during the summer, a programme of films or music events takes place in the evenings.

Whether on a hot, sultry summer evening or a bright, sunny winter day this garden is the perfect place to be and feel completely relaxed.’

Katy Pugh

Old School Gardener