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Explore Britain’s parks and gardens


Monday 20 Mar, 2017

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Focus will be on Britain's beautiful blooms in May as the world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show gets underway in London. The show is a taster of what to expect from Britain's parks and gardens - lush lawns, flourishing flowers and towering trees. We've rounded up some of the best spots to see seemingly endless drifts of daffodils, seas of snowdrops, rows of ancient roses, and even a maze or two.

 

Explore one of the finest rose gardens in the world, Hampshire, south England

Starting life in the 13th century as a priory, Mottisfont's heritage spans more than 800 years, culminating as the grand country house that stands today. Since its secular beginnings, the estate's land has always been shaped and cultivated, but it wasn't until its Georgian landowners that the garden became the expanse of pleasure grounds, riverside walks and fine trees that it is today. Boasting garden designers from the likes of Norah Lindsay, whose commissions ranged from quiet English manor gardens to royal residences, to Geoffrey Jellicoe who planned the lime walk to the north of the house, the grounds of Mottisfont are made extra special by the gardeners who have each left their mark. The walled garden is one of the most famous rose gardens in the world. Expect a breathtaking display of more than 500 varieties, including some that may otherwise be extinct, and hybrids so ancient they are prehistoric. Look out for the creamy pink blooms of Adelaide d'Orleans smothering the wooden arches. This is rose heaven!

Getting there:  Mottisfont is a two-hour drive from London.

 

Discover drifts of daffodils at the home of Earl Grey tea, Northumberland, north-east England

Famously known as 'the home of Earl Grey', it's not just finely blended tea that makes Howick Hall so appealing. Starting its calendar with a snowdrop festival, its gardens are crafted with the garden-lover in mind, and host events throughout the year from February until November. Stop by in spring and see the spectacular drifts of daffodils, or come when the season starts to warm up and explore the woodland garden, which is particularly lovely with its rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias. Head to the bog garden to spot unusual herbaceous plants grown from seeds collected in the wild, and take a turn or two in the formal gardens in summer to really see them come into their own. If you just can't resist a taste of the famous tea, then head to the Earl Grey Tea House to enjoy the blend with scones and clotted cream.

Getting there: Howick Hall is a five and half-hour journey from London by public transport, or is a 75-minute flight to Newcastle Airport followed by a 50-minute drive.

 

Explore Colby Woodland Garden's mining past, Narberth, Wales

Today Colby Woodland Garden is enjoyed as a haven of tranquillity, but these beautiful gardens have a surprising past playing an active part in Pembrokeshire's coal industry during the late 1700s. Discover the two sides of this interesting estate, where exploring a natural playground is teamed with uncovering Pembrokeshire's rich history. Stop by at the walled garden, or delve into the eight-acre woodland garden, and discover its wildflower meadow, meandering streams, habitat-rich ponds and towering Japanese Redwood trees. While exploring Colby keep a lookout for the Bedlam Pit - the old entrance to the mine - or follow the old tramway route which once transported coal to the coast.

Getting there: Colby Woodland Garden is a one hour 30 minute drive from Cardiff.

 

Take in the outdoor splendour of Scottish-Italian Renaissance design, Scotland

The 15th-century Drummond Castle is surrounded by the largest, and arguably finest, formal gardens in Scotland and boasts a spectacular mile-long avenue in the approach to the estate, where more than 600 beech trees tower above the narrow road. Laid from 1828 to 1838, the Scottish-Italian Renaissance style garden was replanted in the 1950s, with careful attention being paid to the ancient yew hedges and copper beech trees planted to commemorate a visit by Queen Victoria. Climb to the top of the terrace where you can fully take in the splendour of the gardens. Make sure to look out for the St Andrew's Cross with the 17th-century sundial at its centre.

Getting there: Drummond Castle is a 90-minute drive from Edinburgh, which is a 70-minute flight from London.

 

Discover Achamore Gardens on the community-owned Isle of Gigha, west Scotland

Take the short ferry journey from Scotland's west coast to the Isle of Gigha, uniquely owned by its local community, and you'll find Achamore House and Gardens. Having numerous owners across the years the house certainly has a story or two to tell. The garden, however, is where the real adventure lies, and has been called the island's ‘crowning jewel.' Surrounded by the beauty of Gigha - complete with white sandy beaches and coastal scenery - the garden is set in mature woodland and is full of hidden corners to explore. It culminates in a two-acre walled garden bursting with flourishing plants - all thanks for the island's Gulf Steam-influenced climate. The garden is open year-round. 

Getting there: the Isle of Gigha is less than five hours by car and ferry from Edinburgh, which is a 70-minute flight from London.

Lose yourself in the Painswick Rococo Garden, Gloucestershire, south-west England

Designed in the 1740s as a flamboyant pleasure garden, the Painswick Rococo Garden was created in a time when outdoor spaces were moulded into theatrical sets for decadent garden parties. Imagine a stunning vegetable garden framed with views of the surrounding countryside, as well as fanciful garden buildings, lofty trees, leafy woodlands walks and a maze to top it all off. There's even a cosy cafe to try homemade cakes or have a spot of lunch. Insider tip: the garden is definitely one to visit in February, as it has one of the largest naturalistic plantings of snowdrops in the country.

Getting there: the Painswick Rococo Garden is under an hour by road from Bristol.



For more information contact:

  • VisitBritain Media Team





Related Images
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Howick Hall  - Daffodils growing in front of Howick Hall in Alnwick, Northumberland
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Drummond Castle Gardens  - Drummond Castle Gardens from the top of the terracing, Perthshire
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Rococo Gardens - The Exeda Garden of the Rococo Gardens