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5 Must-Visit Peaceful Japanese-Style Gardens in the UK

GemmaKH
Published on October 4th 2021
5
by CandideUK (All rights reserved)
A garden with water in the background
Heiw'a means 'peace' in Japanese and is a feeling traditionally all Japanese gardens aim to help visitors find.
But you don’t necessarily have to travel to Japan to achieve this. From the home of the world’s first Crystal Garden in Nottinghamshire to a show-stopping serene space in Wales, and a secret Oriental haven in the Scottish Highlands, here are five tranquil Japanese-style Gardens in the UK to add to your ‘must-visit' list.

Pinetum Gardens

Pinetum Gardens
Image credit: David Chapman
A garden with water in the background

Pinetum Gardens

If it’s a leisurely mooch you’re after, bring your walking shoes and let the majestic 30-acre Pinetum Gardens do the talking. In the last four decades, the largest 'new' garden in Cornwall has sprouted ten individually themed “garden rooms” which are furnished with around 6,000 plants and some of the county’s most spectacular trees. Wander among giants in the Pinetum, where redwoods rise out of a manicured woodland made up of 80 different types of conifer. Find inner peace amid the harmonious blend of mindfully placed pebbles, plants and water in the Japanese garden, look out for an abundance of wildlife at the dragonfly speckled water garden or just admire the floral eye candy on display in the colourful borders of the courtyard garden. The Pinetum Gardens is a fabulous place to engage children and teens with nature as most of the plants have been helpfully labelled. And the charming Courtyard Cafe is the perfect place to reflect on your favourite plants over lunch.

Escape into nature, ignite your imagination and welcome a 'Zen' state of mind – something at the heart of this Cornish garden’s soothing design. The Garden or 'Shakkei' (meaning 'borrowed scenery from beyond') is just one of 10 themed garden rooms set within glorious parkland. The peaceful site overlooks 'borrowed' views of the wildflower meadow and lake and houses an authentic tea pavilion. It’s filled with plants from Japan’s Kyoto Botanical Garden including the striking Prickly Ash and Japanese Rice Paper ‘Champion Trees’ - the largest of their species.
But, as much as this garden is about aesthetics, it’s also about expression. Walk by rocks that symbolise mountains, listen to water that symbolises the sea, tread on pebbles that symbolise the beach and cross over a bridge that symbolises the journey of life. Learn more from the audio tour in the Candide app.
Pinetum Gardens
Image credit: David Chapman
  • Opening times: 10am - 5pm daily during April-September, 10am - 4pm daily during October - March

Attadale Gardens

Attadale Gardens
Image credit: Attadale Gardens
Nestled within the Scottish Highlands, providing stunning vistas of the Isle of Skye is Attadale Gardens’ remarkable Japanese-inspired garden.
Attadale Gardens
Image credit: Attadale Gardens
While the 20-acre RHS Partner Garden is known for its fern collection, there are also impressive plants in the Japanese Garden; cloud pruned Azaleas and miniature Conifers rest among rocks, Cherry and Maple trees add a splash of seasonal colour and Acer Palmatum Osakazuki gently guard the wooden bridge while Pine and Bamboo trees signify good fortune. Look out for the stonefish ‘swimming’ up the gravel 'river,' representing an individual achieving their goal in life by their own efforts. The Shakkei at Attadale is of the Applecross Hills which is analogous to Mount Fuji in Japan. Continue your journey with an audio tour in the Candide app.
  • Opening times: 10am - 5pm daily during April - October

Pure Land Centre & Japanese Gardens

Pure Land
Image credit: pureland.uk
Picture this: You’re following a winding path past rocks, and as you walk towards the idyllic pond ahead, featuring reflections of nearby evergreen shrubs, a ripple in the water grabs your attention – the trail of an orange Carp. A bridge arches over the pond, mounds of lush grass form nearby miniature hills and trees protectively border this peaceful and secluded spot. This is the Pure Land Centre and Japanese Garden.
Pure Land
Image credit: pureland.uk
Located in North Clifton, a two-acre field has been transformed into an award-winning Japanese sanctuary. Moss, Bamboo, Cherry and Maple trees beautifully pair with English flora. The latest addition is what is believed to be the world’s first Crystal Garden. An expression of the beauty of nature, mountains, a river, fields and an ocean are formed out of sparkling crystals, gems and precious stones. Visitors can also attend magical lantern-lit evenings.
  • Opening times: 10am - 5.30pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays from end March through October

National Botanic Garden of Wales

National Botanic Garden of Wales
© National Botanic Garden of Wales
Want to leave the hustle and bustle and escape to a place of tranquillity and calm? Head to the National Botanic Garden of Wales’ Japanese Garden. Called ‘Sui ou tei,' which refers to the national flowers of Japan and Wales (the Cherry Blossom and the Daffodil), the area combines three traditional Japanese garden styles: the Pond-and-Hill Garden, the Dry Garden and the Tea Garden.

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Originating as a Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2001, winning a Gold medal, it is now a ‘miniature world with mountains, forests, lakes and oceans.' Water cascades down a hill into a pond, a circle of silver gravel symbolises the moon, a stone bridge is supported by a turtle-shaped island, a group of three sacred stones (a sanzon-seki) stand among greenery and plants, pruned using the Japanese technique niwaki, thrive. Begin your peaceful journey with our audio tour in the Candide app.
National Botanic Garden of Wales
© National Botanic Garden of Wales
  • Opening times: 10am - 6pm daily during April - October, 10am - 4pm daily during November - March.

Mount Pleasant Gardens & Sculpture Trails

Mount Pleasant Gardens
Image credit: Mount Pleasant Gardens
Just a short distance from the centre of Chester is a place where Oriental and rural beauty meet. Once a bare patch of Scrubland, a Japanese garden now effortlessly blends into the glorious Cheshire countryside.
Part of a wider 10-acre garden, the tiered grounds are set across two levels; the that greets visitors on the top level is a must-see with a hidden surprise. The waterfall feeds into a glittering pond, surrounded by huge sandstone rockery, with a traditional ruby red Japanese bridge above it. Throughout, you can find a range of plants including Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Magnolias, Ferns, Acers and Water Lilies. Why not purchase a home-grown plant or shrub as a souvenir? While at Mount Pleasant, meander along their popular Sculpture Trail or uncover more secrets with an audio tour in the Candide app.
Mount Pleasant Gardens
Image credit: Mount Pleasant Gardens
  • Opening times: 11 am - 4 pm Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays during May - September