Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

56. The lawn

The Main Quad of Worcester College at Oxford University

A fine lawn is considered an English preoccupation, brought to perfection by the twin blessings of a benevolent maritime climate and fertile soils. As a calm, green backdrop to floral borders, beautiful trees or summer recreation, the lawn is without equal. And although its creation was, until the mid 19th century, a labour-intensive exercise only achieved with sharp scythes, modern-day machinery and specialist turf-seed mixtures have put great grass within everybody’s reach. The eternal question is whether stripes are in or infra dig.

‘Nothing is more pleasant to the eye than green grass kept finely shorn’
(Sir Francis Bacon, 1625)

Next page Previous page