The Garden Landscape Guide

Barnsdale Gardens

Barnsdale Gardens were designed by Geoff Hamilton, who presented BBC Gardener's World from 1979 until his death in 1996. Barnsdale was a Victorian farmhouse with 5 acres of pastureland when he found the property in 1984. Hamilton was interested in making gardening affordable by offering practical ideas for gardeners to recreate at home and encouraging the inventive reuse of materials. The gardens include a rose garden, Japanese garden, rock garden, knot garden, kitchen garden, bog garden and orchard.

Head Gardener's Comment

Set in the heart of the beautiful Rutland countryside, Barnsdale is home to Britain's largest collection of individually designed gardens, plus a tea room and large, well-stocked plant nursery, all on one 8-acre site. The 38 plots range in style from traditional cottage plantings to modern gardens, allotments, woodlands and formal ponds and have been likened to a ‘theme park for gardeners’.

History

When Geoff Hamilton bought his five acres of farmland in the small village of Exton, the 'Barnsdale' that millions tuned in on a Friday night to see, was born. A local farmer was asked to plough most of it and after transplanting one or two mature trees and shrubs from his previous home, Geoff began his first project. Gardeners' World was soon established in its new home, with his down to earth style earning him the accolade 'Britain's Favourite TV Gardener'. Geoff championed many good causes, in particular organic gardening and the use of peat-free alternatives, and nearly twenty-five years on the garden is still run on these organic principles by his son Nick.

Plants of note

Extensive collections of hemerocallis and penstemon as well as a wide variety of trees, shrubs and perennials.

The Avenue, Exton, Oakham, Rutland, England, LE15 8AH

All year. Daily except 24th and 25th December.

Visit the Barnsdale Gardens website

Nearby gardens

Nearby hotels

Nearby nurseries

Reviews

  • almost 2 years by grannygreen 5 / 5

    We love Barnsdale Gardens. There are so many lovely plants, trees, shrubs and fruit trees to see. The feeling is one of tranquility and calm. We had a lovely ploughmans lunch sitting in these pretty surrounds and thoroughly enjoyed our day.
  • almost 2 years by daisyd 5 / 5

    Pure delight. I have intended to visit for some years and finally got round to it, July 2012. Each garden evoked memories of Geoff Hamilton's television programmes and I found 'old friends' from the TV and his books. The gardens have matured and filled out but still capture the magic mix of colour, scent and form. It reminded me that gardens are not just hard work, but should always have space just to sit and contemplate. Enjoyed tea and cake during a rain shower and brought home an unusual grass from the garden center. If you love plants and colour, rather than manicured lawns, this is the place for you. I now want to redesign my herb garden for next year.
  • almost 2 years by daisyd 5 / 5

    Pure delight. I have intended to visit for some years and finally got round to it, July 2013. Each garden evoked memories of Geoff Hamilton's television programmes and I found 'old friends' from the TV and his books. The gardens have matured and filled out but still capture the magic mix of colour, scent and form. It reminded me that gardens are not just hard work, but should always have space just to sit and contemplate. Enjoyed tea and cake during a rain shower and brought home an unusual grass from the garden center. If you love plants and colour, rather than manicured lawns, this is the place for you. I now want to redesign my herb garden for next year.
  • about 3 years by Pete The Gardener 1 / 5

    What a disappontment! I had been looking forward to my visit for some time but found the gardens poorly cared for with many of them overgrown and parts unpassable. The 'Penstemon Bed' was typical of the overhyped approach: It consisted of very few specimins all in very poor condition and virtually without flowers. We retired to the tea rooms for refreshment and found it 'very ordinary'; the portions of soup were the smallest I have come across. Altogether an unfulfilling experience.

The reviews and ratings originate in all cases from third parties. Gardenvisit is in no case responsible for the correctness or accuracy of the reviews. Reviews and similar information are not an expression of Gardenvisit's opinions.

Pond, Barnsdale Gardens Photograph © Redshift Photography
Gladys, Barnsdale Gardens Photograph © Barnsdale Gardens
Barnsdale Gardens, Autumn Photograph © Redshift Photography
Potager, Barnsdale Gardens Photograph © Barnsdale Gardens
Knot Garden, Barnsdale Gardens Photograph © Barnsdale Gardens
Loveseat, Barnsdale Gardens Photograph © Barnsdale Gardens