The Garden Landscape Guide

York Gate Garden

A one acre garden created by the Spencer family between 1951 and 1994, now owned and cared for by the charity Perennial. The garden is divided into rooms by yew and beech hedges.

Head Gardener's Comment

York Gate is widely recognized as an outstanding example of 20th century garden design. The one acre garden is divided into a series of smaller gardens with different themes and in contrasting styles. These include the Dell with half-hidden pathways and a stream, the famous herb garden with topiary and summerhouse, and a newer more contemporary garden with grasses and summer-flowering perennials. Other highlights include the White Garden with roses, peonies and campanulas and a Kitchen Garden. York Gate is also noted for its striking architectural features and a succession of exquisite vistas.


The garden was created by the Spencer family between 1951 and 1994. Frederick Spencer laid down the basic structure of the garden but it was his son, Robin, who was largely responsible for its development and for the exquisite detail to be found within it. Undoubtedly inspired by some of the outstanding gardens of the time, such as Lawrence Johnston's Hidcote, Robin created in just one acre, a garden which by the early eighties, was regarded by many as one of the most innovative small gardens in the world. His extraordinary vision, remarkable sense of perspective, inspirational use of materials and meticulous attention to detail were key to its success. Robin died suddenly and prematurely at the age of only 47. For the next twelve years his mother, Sybil, cherished the garden. She added to the already considerable plant collection but the overall layout remained largely unchanged. On Sybil Spencer's death in 1994 the garden passed into the care of the charity Perennial - Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Society.

York Gate Garden, Back Church Lane, Adel, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, LS16 8DW

2014 April, May & September: Thursdays & Sundays, 2pm - 5pm. June, July & August: Wednesdays, Thursdays & Sundays, 2pm - 5pm. Bank Holiday Mondays (Easter, May & August), 2pm - 5pm Evenings: Wednesdays 11th, 18th & 25th June, 6.30pm - 9pm.

Adults Standard admission £4.50. Adults Gift aid admission £4.95. Children (16yrs & under) Free. Season Ticket £11.

Visit the York Gate Garden website

Nearby gardens

Nearby hotels

Nearby nurseries


  • almost 6 years by Alan Wall 5 / 5

    Beautiful & deceptively small. You really do get a feel that the garden is a collection of 'boxes' each one special. Really enjoyed the garden and the staff who were there were really kind & knowledgable.

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.

Canal Garden, York Gate Garden Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial
York Gate Garden

Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial

York Gate Garden, Adel Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial
York Gate Garden, West Yorkshire

Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial

Old Orchard, York Gate Garden Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial
York Gate Garden, Yorkshire

Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial

Herb Garden, York Gate Garden Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial