Winterbourne House and Garden, University of Birmingham

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Winterbourne is a rare surviving example of an early 20th century suburban villa and garden. The house was built in 1903 for John and Margaret Nettlefold, of Guest, Keen & Nettlefold. Designed as a small country estate the house boasted rustic outbuildings and large gardens.

Both the house and garden follow the style of the Arts & Crafts movement with examples of local craftsmanship throughout. The house has large airy corridors and south facing rooms designed to make maximum use of the sunlight.

Nettlefold was a pioneer of town planning who carried the ideas seen in his own home to the less wealthy areas of the city.

Margaret Nettlefold designed the garden, inspired by the books and garden designs of Gertrude Jekyll. After a period of restoration the garden was Grade II listed by English Heritage in 2008.

John MacDonald Nicolson was the last private owner of the house and a keen gardener. He developed many new areas, including a scree garden and small alpine features around the garden.

Nicolson died in 1944 and bequeathed the house and garden to the University. The garden became the University’s Botanic Garden and new areas for teaching and plant conservation were developed within the historic layout.

The garden today is still used by students but is also open to the public to be enjoyed by everyone.

Venue Type:

Historic house or home

Opening hours

April - October 10am - 5.30pm weekdays
11am - 5.30pm weekends
November - March 10am - 4pm weekdays
11am - 4pm weekends

Last admission is an hour before closing.

Closed period: Please check our website.

Admission charges

2017 Prices
Adults £6.00
Concessions £5.00
Children (Under 5) Free

University of Birmingham staff and students get free entry on production of their ID card.

Botanic gardens display collections of plants from all around the world. At Winterbourne there are over 1,700 different plants originating from as far away as Brazil and Japan, many you may recognise.

At home, your gardens, kitchen and medicine cupboards are filled with plants and plant ingredients from all over the world, from the wheat in toast, to the cotton in clothes, perhaps even the place you work is an industry which uses plant ingredients.

At Winterbourne there is a chance to see plants and plant habitats from around the world and to find out about the plant hunters who discovered them. Closer to home, our Botanical Birmingham project highlights and explains those plants in the garden particularly significant to the people of the West Midlands. A walk around Winterbourne really will take you on a journey around the world!

Collection details

Natural Sciences

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
The Fairy Queen, Cadbury Research Library

Fables and Fairytales

  • 16 March 2017 — 2 March 2018 *on now

An exhibition exploring the elemental themes of earth, air, fire and water in Victorian and Edwardian fairytale illustrations. Fire-breathing dragons, mermaids, flying horses and earth spirits introduce us to a weird and wonderful world where anything is possible. The artists featured include Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac.

A family-friendly trail will invite you to use your imagination while exploring the beautiful garden.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the Cadbury Research Library and Winterbourne House and Garden.

Standard admission to the house and garden apply with no additional cost for this exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Standard admission to the house and garden apply with no additional cost for this exhibition.


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Hallowe'en Crafts

Children’s Hallowe’en Crafts

  • 26 October 2017 10:30am-12pm

Come to Winterbourne and take part in Hallowe’en craft fun this half term. Artist Claire Leggett will lead this session with lots of different crafts set up for you to make together, with Claire’s help. You can make a bat hat, a spooky lantern, paper pumpkins, black cats and cotton wool ghosties, and more.

This activity is intended for 3-8 year olds.

Pre-booking is strongly recommended as spaces are limited. Tickets cost £5 per child, with participants welcome to spend the whole day at Winterbourne (parents/carers are subject to standard admission). Tickets can be purchased from the Winterbourne shop or via the Book Now button on this page.

Claire Leggett is a painter and designer with an eye for colour. Claire has experience as a teacher, and loves sharing her creativity, running courses and workshops with both children and adults.

Just a reminder – children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Suitable for

  • 0-4
  • 5-6
  • 7-10




Sketch of St Pauls by Wayne Attwood

Sketching at Winterbourne

  • 2 November 2017 10am-3:45pm

Join RBSA artist Wayne Attwood to develop techniques and approaches for producing drawings from direct observation in the grounds of Winterbourne House and Garden. Suitable for all abilities.

Depending on weather conditions, sketching will take place inside the house and in the garden. Participants should bring their own sketching materials, which should be easily portable as there will be movement around locations. These should include something to draw on, such as a sketchbook and also a standard ball-point pen.

If participants feel uncomfortable drawing standing up, sitting on the floor or need to sit down for health reasons, it is recommended that they consider bringing a portable, fold-up camping chair/stool.

Pre-booking is essential.

“Wayne is a superb tutor and the gardens offer a wonderful choice of subjects for the artist” – participant at Wayne’s sketching workshop in March 2017.

Our courses are suitable for 18 years or above.

Suitable for

  • 18+




Foundational Hand

Foundational Hand – Calligraphy at Winterbourne

  • 11 November 2017 11am-4pm

Visit Winterbourne to learn to write in Foundational Hand. Foundational Hand was developed by the calligrapher Edward Johnston over 100 years ago. It is based on the 10th century English Carolingian script and is an excellent starting point for those wishing to learn the art of calligraphy.

Nick will demonstrate how to construct each letter on a stroke by stroke basis as well as how to space letters and words.

Pre-booking is essential.

You will need to bring the following items with you:

HB Pencil
Pencil sharpener
Calligraphy fibre tip pens: broad and fine
Italic/Calligraphy Fountain Pen set. A good make is Manuscript.
Plain paper
Lined paper
For advice on stockists, please contact Gemma using the Ask a Question button.

Nicholas Caulkin’s work is in private collections across the world. Nick has been teaching calligraphy for many years and is also the Chairman of the Birmingham Calligraphy Society.

“Inspiring tutor” – participant at Nick’s workshop at Winterbourne in February 2017

Our courses are suitable for 18 years or above.

Suitable for

  • 18+




Winterbourne House and Garden, University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
58 Edgbaston Park Road
B15 2RT




Information line

0121 414 3003

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.