The Garden Guide

York Gate Garden

Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial

Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial

Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial

Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial
Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial

Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial

Photograph © John Whitaker/Perennial
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. York Gate Garden features a bright new shop stocked with a lovely range of gifts. Our newly refurbished Tea Rooms serve sandwiches and savoury platters as well as a selection of freshly baked cakes, including a daily gluten free choice.


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

27 March – 30 September Sunday to Thursday (and Bank Holiday Mondays): 12:30 – 4:30pm Evenings in June Every Wednesday in June: 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th: 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Adults: Standard admission £5.00 / Gift Aid admission £5.50 Children: (16 and under) Free The companion of a disabled visitor is admitted free of charge.

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  • over 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.

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