A window to the past at Gunnebo House and Gardens
By John Sempill
This 18th-century mansion on the west coast of Sweden is a true gem. People come here to escape the big city, enjoy Swedish fika or a great meal, have a company conference or get hitched. Traditions are strong here, and this summer, you’re invited.
Gunnebo House and Gardens offers visitors a unique experience and a window into life in the 18th century. To start with, it belonged to one of Sweden’s wealthiest merchants. His name was John Hall and he wanted a house in which himself and his family could spend their summers. “He commissioned Gothenburg’s city architect Carl Wilhelm Carlberg to design the buildings, the interiors, gardens and parks,” says Anneli Stahre, head of marketing and sales at Gunnebo House and Gardens.
It was acquired in 1949 by the city of Mölndal and is now one of the most-visited destinations in the region of Västra Götaland. “Gunnebo House and Gardens is a preserved cultural site, and the main house is listed,” Stahre adds. “Looking at aerial shots from the 1950s compared to modern drone photography, it still looks as it did, while the surrounding areas have grown. This tells us just how important we are in the region, that we can offer a place for recreation and tranquillity.” The main building and its surroundings have been carefully reconstructed by studying Carlberg’s original drawings, inventory lists and blueprints.
It’s no further than 15 minutes from Gothenburg and there is car parking, although arriving by bus is recommended. Stahre describes pursuits that include swimming in the surrounding lakes, hiking in the picturesque trails, having a soothing cup of tea or coffee, or lunch in the large outdoor dining area. “We have our own bakery and restaurant, which is part of our sustainable approach,” she continues. “This is very important for us at Gunnebo. Aspiring gardeners, chefs and craftsmen come here for education, too. We want to educate the coming generations and make sure this knowledge doesn’t disappear.”
If you’re not looking to become a gardener or learn how to scythe, you might just be looking for the perfect conference facilities. In that case, Gunnebo House and Gardens has you covered. You can even get married here; the trellis, with its seven-metre ceiling height, is particularly popular. “To be able to come to the countryside is something we believe our visitors appreciate,” Stahre concludes. “As well as the sound of birds chirping, the smell of freshly baked bread and the scent of wood in the new orangery, of course.”
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