BBC One's new adaptation of Howards End features the leafy country home of the Wilcox family, surrounded by peaceful gardens.


The real life location for the house is Vann, a private home in near Godalming in Surrey. The original house is timber-framed, and dates from the 16th century, but has repeatedly been extended in successive centuries since then.

Close to the house there is a series of garden rooms.

In late summer the shrubs begin to glow with the first autumn shades.

The ground here was always wet. Vanne – sometimes spelt Venne or Fenne in historic records – means fen or bog. The Water Garden was created by the great designer and plantswoman Gertrude Jekyll in 1911; a quarter-acre pond feeds a chain of small ponds.

Further from the house there are wild gardens and woodland, dappled with golden sumlight in summer.

Now visit...

The garden is open to visitors on Wednesdays between April and June, and at other times by appointment. For details visit

Vann is one of several major gardens of the era in Surrey – including Jekyll's home, Munstead Wood, just five miles to the north, which is open by appointment only, Mondays to Fridays, March to October.


The real Howards End

Vann is not the house author EM Forster had in mind when he wrote Howards End – that is Rooksnest at Stevenage in Hertfordshire, where Forster spent part of his childhood.


Joe PontinFeatures Editor