As spring unfolds, gardens throughout our fair land are bursting into life. So this weekend, why not escape the grey confines of city life and head to one of these stunning, bucolic green spaces? Explore magical secret hidden gardens, wander expansive lawns, taking in spectacular vistas – or sit back and relax among some of our country’s finest flowers and foliage. Here are a few of our favourite garden gems…
Wisley Garden, Surrey
Drift through foliage and flowers along the Glasshouse Borders as you enjoy glorious views down to the cathedral-like Glasshouse, home to a huge array of exotic plants and impressive seasonal displays. Or explore the woodland garden of Battleston Hill, which explodes into a riot of colour each spring as hundreds of Rhodedendrons burst into bloom. Workshops are also available for those looking to brush-up on their gardening expertise. Find out more here.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall
A genuine secret garden, The Lost Gardens of Heligan was lost for decades, its history consigned to overgrowth following the First World War – until a chance discovery of a door in the ruins, in the 1990s, led to the restoration of this once great estate. Wander through 200 acres of mystery, history and romance for a day of true escapism. Plan your visit.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent
From a prison in the 1700s to a home for the women’s land army, Sissinghurst has a fascinating and diverse history. But it was in the 1930s that poet and writer Vita Sackville-West began transforming the estate and its world-famous gardens into the spectacular destination they are today. Enjoy the colourful and abundant planting that is the legacy of the poet’s artistic work or head to the top of the tower to enjoy its breathtaking panoramic views. You can find more information here.
Kew Gardens, London
If you’re looking for some fresh and original ideas for your garden, you couldn’t find a more inspiring place to fuel your imagination than Kew Gardens. A mecca for plant lovers, Kew boasts a vast array of rare and beautiful plants and trees from around the world, as well as iconic glasshouses and imposing historical buildings, all set against a breathtaking landscape. Read our article on Kew Gardens.
Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire
In the early 18th-century, John Aislabie had great plans to impress visitors to his Yorkshire estate and so turned the wild and wooded valley of the river Skell into one of England’s most spectacular Georgian water gardens – famed for its formal, geometric design, extraordinary vistas, classical statues and follies. The ruins of Fountains Abbey, bought by Aislabie in 1767 complete the garden and create the ultimate imposing vista. To visit the abbey and gardens is to step back in time. Learn more here.
With its spectacular array of plants and trees from all over the world and its diverse terrain of sweeping lawns, grand terraces, verdant woodland and hidden corners, Bodnant has something to delight everyone. But its stunning panoramic views of the Snowdonian landscape have put this destination firmly on the map for visitors from every corner of the globe. Find out more here.
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
Having evolved over more than 450 years, the 105-acre Chatsworth garden is ever changing – and an ideal destination for families. Famed for its rich history, historic and modern waterworks and sculptures and the Victorian rock garden, it also boasts an impressive maze the kids will love. And for little adventurers and tireless toddlers looking for more fun, there is also a farmyard and adventure playground. Read more info here.
Threave Garden & Estate, Dumfries & Galloway
Rock garden, patio garden, secret garden, water features, heathers, conifers and herbaceous perennials… Threave Garden is made up of hundreds of acres of spectacular gardens, making it one of Scotland’s most popular attractions. Don’t miss the walled garden and glasshouses displaying succulent fruit and vegetables – the delights of which you might get to sample in the on-site café. Find out more here.