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50 acres of gardens, 1000 acres of landscaped parkland and an elegant 18th century mansion – welcome to Tatton Park, one of the best days out in Cheshire. Highlights include the beautiful Japanese, Italian and rose gardens, historic walled kitchen gardens, arboretum and an adventure playground. Among the largest and most spectacular gardens in the Northwest, Tatton Park is a place where history springs into life. The gardens today are an almost exact replica of how they existed in Edwardian times. And with so many different areas to explore, there is something for every season: the cherry blossom and bluebells in April and May, the fragrant roses in high summer and the reds and golds of the Japanese Acers in the autumn. Year-round exhibitions in Tatton Park’s mansion reveal its noble past, while the old stables have been converted to a cosy café. Pick up seeds from the Garden Shop and take Tatton Park’s own produce home from the Housekeeper’s Store for dinner. The highlight of the year-round event calendar is the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park in July, when the garden is bursting with colour.
Bishop's Palace & Gardens
With its impressive medieval architecture, lush countryside setting and stunning RHS partner gardens, The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens, located in the heart of the City of Wells certainly makes for a picturesque day out. Beyond the ancient ramparts and moat (where you should look out for the resident family of bell-ringing swans), there are 14 acres of Grade II listed gardens, including the shady well pools that give the city its name. Breathe in the fabulous rose-covered parterre, float past vast herbaceous borders or take a walk on the wild side in the Arboretum, where swathes of bluebells, primroses and snowdrops blossom. In Spring, the Quiet Garden’s ashy silver birches are ablaze with a carpet of red tulips. Here visitors can share a moment of reflection and contemplation – when they’re not snapping the eye-catching display. As well as more than 800 years of horticultural history, The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens also hosts alfresco theatre and art exhibitions. After a plant-packed day out, pull up a well-deserved seat at The Bishop’s Table, where you can tuck into produce grown in the community garden.
Kathy Brown's Garden
If you’re into art as much as gardening you’ll love Kathy Brown's Garden, which combines the two. Developed by owners Simon and Kathy Brown over the last thirty years, there are five areas which cleverly utilise the textures, colours and architectural qualities of plants to bring famous paintings to life. Prepare to feel engulfed by towering waves of feathery miscanthus and Calamagrostis in the Hokusai-inspired garden, lose yourself in a wall of colour in the Rothko Room and contemplate life among the shimmering grasses of the Monet inspired garden. But it isn’t just culture vultures who flock to Kathy Brown's Garden, the edible flower patch is a fabulous place to learn about the joys of cooking with plants, while guided by Kathy’s expert tips. In addition to the art-inspired areas, this award-winning garden includes a wisteria walk, an ethereal white-stemmed birch avenue, a fragrant rose garden and much more besides
University of Bristol Botanic Garden
"While primarily a place of learning, you don’t have to be a horticultural whiz to enjoy wandering through Bristol’s Botanic Gardens. That’s because the planting here isn’t just educational, it’s visually stunning too. From the riot of colour that greets visitors (and pollinators) in front of the Victorian house to the fragrant beds of the medicinal herb garden. The botanic garden is filled with an astonishing array of plants, which have been divided into four sections. There are displays telling the story of plant evolution, areas dedicated to drought-tolerant Mediterranean plants and a traditional Chinese herb garden. The garden’s commitment to conservation can be seen throughout, but is particularly pertinent at the displays of rare and threatened plants native to the Bristol area and the Southwest Peninsula. University of Bristol Botanic Gardens is situated in Stoke Bishop, just a few hundred meters from the edge of Durdham Down and a short walk from Bristol zoo. "
Gordon Castle Walled Garden
Got a thing for walled gardens? Nestled between the glistening River Spey and the rugged Moray Coast, Gordon Castle Walled Garden is one of the oldest, largest and arguably one of the loveliest kitchen gardens in Britain. Thanks to a sensitive restoration back in 2012, this vast space bustles with the sight of gardeners digging, sowing and harvesting – much like they did in 1803 when the garden’s present form was created. Not that you’d ever be able to tell the place had fallen into disrepair from the abundance of carefully trained produce and flourishing borders. Everything grown here is put to good use, whether it’s essential oils from the herb garden, cafe veggies from the supersized allotment or the fragrant cut flowers that decorate the cafe, holiday cottages and castle. The seamless transition from 19th-century private kitchen garden to the gem of an attraction it is today is down to renowned designers Arne Maynard and Craig Hamilton and head plantsmith Ed Bollom. The great thing about the grid-like layout – aside from being pleasing on the eye – is that it’s easy to loop around and make sure you haven’t missed anything. Very important when there’s this much horticultural flair on display.
Though small in size, Driftwood is bursting with character. Since 2004, Geoff Stonebanks has transformed this plot, (a mere 112ft by 40ft) from your standard lawn-and-borders backyard into a paradisal garden wonderland complete with quirky nautical props. His efforts have won him multiple accolades, including a seminal appearance on the BBC’s Gardeners’ World. Taking inspiration from its scenic coastal location in Seaford, East Sussex, visitors are greeted by a scene of seaside plants thriving among old fish crates and anchors, while the exposed tip of the garden is home to durable plants that can withstand a battering from strong winds and salt spray. In between visitors are submerged in a sea of cottage plants from fuchsias to heucheras. The bijou space also doubles up as an alfresco gallery for the work of local artists. But the beautifully unfettered borders aren’t the only reason people are drawn here. Stonebanks is not only a superb gardener but a dab hand at baking, and this beautiful garden is the perfect setting to enjoy his homemade cakes.
Sherborne Castle & Gardens
Designed by the legendary “Capability” Brown, the 42-acre castle gardens at Sherborne are a stunning example of his craft. This Grade 1 listed garden was one of Capability Brown’s first commissions. Using Sherborne Old Castle as his backdrop, he designed the lake in 1753 and reshaped the Pleasure Gardens in 1776, creating the gently rolling landscape we see today. An RHS partner garden, there is something to see all year round – from the spring bulbs to the autumn colours reflected in the lake. Please note, due to COVID restrictions, the gardens are open but the castle itself is closed. Contactless entry is available and we ask everyone to adhere to social distancing guidelines on site. More details on our COVID policy here: https://www.sherbornecastle.com/season-ticket-holders/
Backhouse Rossie Estate
Fife’s Backhouse Rossie Estate is an RHS partner garden and for good reason. Just seeing the rare collection of delicate daffodils housed here, (known as the narcissus Backhouse cultivars) is worth a visit alone, but visitors are also dazzled by the magnificent scented rose archway, said to be the longest in Scotland. A garden for all the seasons, the summer months see herbaceous borders and colourful perennials vie for attention while the towering Champion Trees and woodland walk offer up an enticing pallet of Autumnal colours. Within the carefully restored walled garden, you’ll also find a medieval-style grass labyrinth decorated with alliums, the serene waters of a formal pond and lovingly renovated orchards. The Garden Café serves up seasonal grub grown on-site, which can be washed down with the estate’s freshly-pressed apple juice. And visitors looking for a floral momento should swing by the Backhouse Shop, which sells fresh flowers from the gardens and more.
Dunvegan Castle & Gardens
A tranquil haven amid Skye’s wild, rugged landscape. Step into the elegant castle gardens at Dunvegan and discover five acres of immaculate grounds and a romantic castle, like no other. Amble over ornate bridges in the Water Garden, where tranquil ponds are surrounded by a huge variety of colourful flowers and herbaceous plants. See the impressive Japanese Holly centrepiece in the more formal Round Garden, before wandering around the Walled Garden, with its 17th-century sundial and ‘Dunvegan Pebble’ sculpture. Then get a glimpse of the castle and Dunvegan Loch on the shady Woodland Walk. Around 30,000 of the estate’s half-hardy plants are grown from cuttings – find out more about them in the Garden Museum before a snack in the Macleod Tables Café. Or explore Dunvegan Castle itself, home to the Clan Macleod for over 800 years.
Nestled in the lush Cotswold Hills is Miserdon, a garden which has managed to retain much of its 17th-century charm even as the world has evolved around it. Mature yew hedges provide a velvety green backdrop to borders which zing with colour from spring to autumn thanks to an inspired mix of shrubs and herbaceous plants. If it’s original features you’re after, Miserden has them in spades. From the magnificent Mulberry tree that dates back to 1620 to the rustic stone summerhouse and light-filled cafe housed in a striking converted glasshouse. The rose-draped pergola adds a heady splash of romance to proceedings. This garden also scores points with eco-friendly gardeners for its commitment to greening the estate as evident in the hedgerows and untamed field margins where birds and dormice happily flit about.
Nant y Bedd
From the striking Black Mountain views to the bracken strewn forest, where ancient giants loom, Nant y Bedd certainly takes the joy of exploring gardens to new heights. Perched 1200 feet up in the undulating green hills of Brecon Beacons National Park, this lush plot (also known as the garden in the forest) is a wonderful place to lose yourself in the beauty of nature. And there’s plenty of opportunities to do so – from entrancing woodland strolls to experiencing the thrill of an unchlorinated natural swimming pond. Its winding wood chip paths and wildlife-friendly planting hint at the eco aspects of the garden. Among the abundant vegetation (the garden swears by organic principles), you might come across a rustic shepherd’s hut, a tree-sculpture called Cedric and a treehouse tucked into the embrace of a 178-year-old Sycamore. If black mountain magic exists, you’ll surely find it while picnicking in the enchanting surrounds of Nant y Bedd.
National Botanic Garden of Wales
Wales’ national botanic gardens are home to a dazzling range of themed gardens including the world’s biggest single-span glasshouse, unique Welsh plants, and a centre for birds of prey. Taking centre stage here is the Great Glasshouse, as well as the tropical butterflies in Plas Pilipala – keep your eyes peeled for the enormous Atlas Moth. See a rare Katsura tree in the traditional Japanese Garden and learn about beekeeping in the Regency-period Double Walled Garden. Then wander to the Apothecary Garden, laid out according to different parts of the body. Little ones will love climbing the trees in The Ghost Forest, and if you’re after some peace and quiet, visit the three Necklace of Lakes, where you might catch a glimpse of otters, kingfishers and dragonflies. Just moments from the more formal gardens is the wilder Waun Las National Nature Reserve, where you can see orchids in summer and wild mushrooms in the autumn. If you want to pick up a plant or two, stop at the Y Pot Blodyn Garden Centre before you head home.
The Newt in Somerset
Woods, orchards, and cultivated gardens are nurtured using age-old skills at The Newt in Somerset. Close to artistic Bruton, this large working estate immerses visitors in the tranquillity of nature. The world-class gardens at The Newt cleverly evoke different historic eras. Explore the Cottage Garden for a glimpse of Gertrude Jekyll’s famous landscaping style, and see the flowers that scented 19th century gardens in the Victorian area. The Cascade is a contemporary twist on traditional water features, and the Colour Gardens feature hellebores, astrantias and anemones inspired by garden designer Penelope Hobhouse. Her family home was The Newt’s Georgian manor Hadspen House – now a luxurious hotel. Once you’ve taken in the gardens and explored the woodland walkways, you can refuel at The Garden Café. Or, at the Cyder Press, sample the cider made from the estate’s 3,000 apple trees, perhaps enjoying a guided tour of the cellar and apple pressing demonstrations. Make sure to activate your Garden Membership on Candide, and return to The Newt as often as you like over the next 12 months. Accessibility Information All gardens areas are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, though via indirect routes – often up thick lawns, steep gradients, uneven ground and gravelled pathways. Pushchairs may be stored at the Threshing Barn, and for longer distances transport is available for those requiring assistance.
Holker Hall & Gardens
Steeped in history yet always evolving, the award-winning gardens at Holker Hall are a must-see if you’re visiting this part of the Northwest – just a short drive from the central Lake District. There are 23 acres of gardens to explore, with walks like The Cavendish designed to showcase the highlights – from fountains and topiary to evergreens and wildflower meadows. Stand beneath the 400-year-old Great Lime before wandering round the curious Holker Labyrinth. Along with a huge variety of flowers and exotic plants, the gardens are also famous for their beautiful collection of rare Styracaceae. Each generation of the Cavendish family has left its mark on Holker Hall and Gardens, with the estate never having been bought or sold. Go on a tour of the house before enjoying views of Cumbria’s landscape from the Courtyard Café. You can pick up books on the gardens as well as seasonal plants in the gift shop.
See what's happening in gardens right now
Martin talks us through the history of the Patte d'Oie here at Lowther Castle, and our shift towards bulb planting in recent years. #virtualgardens #gardendayuk #spring #getgrowing
Our Wisteria, which we believe was planted around the mid-1920s, is looking spectacular at the moment. #virtualgardens #wisteria #solaceinnature
Back at the start of the month, our Head Gardener, Simon Tetlow, carried out soil preparations ready for the planting of 20,000 onion sets! Anyone else planting onions this year? #virtualgardens #getgrowing #GrowYour Own
My potting tips to ensure minimal water spillage! #virtualgardens
Attadale Gardens #virtualgardens #solaceinnature #getgrowing #horticulturehelps
Arthur gives us a brief tour of the parabola, where we have many different varieties of apple growing 🍏 #virtualgardens #getgrowing #spring #blossom