Gardening is more popular in England than anywhere else and this is reflected in the number of gardens open to visit in England. As an island surrounded by choppy seas and protected by a powerful navy, Britain's territory was physically secure from an earlier date than other European countries. English towns could spread beyond their medieval walls much earlier than in continental Europe. Instead of apartment blocks, the typical English dwelling was a small house with a small garden. The aristocracy always wanted 'a place in the country' for the summer and a town house for the winter. Also, the climate is never very cold and partly because it is never very hot. One usually has to be up and doing something.
A wide range of design styles are well represented in England, although the most famous period in English garden history is the eighteenth century, when the original English landscape gardens were made. England has some wonderful cloister gardens attached to the great cathedrals. The best are simple rectangles of grass. England also has many castles - but no ancient castle gardens. Nor are there many renaissance survivals. There are baroque gardens but not nearly so many as in France and Germany. But from the eighteenth century onwards Britain has excellent examples of most styles of garden design.
Escorted Garden Tours in England
FLORA Garden Tours, 2015 small group tours of up to 12 people
Flora Garden Tours take small groups of up to 12 people to the best English gardens - large and small. The tours last 3-6 days but special interest tours can be run to suit your group.
FLORA will tour Cornish and Devon gardens 16-17 April 2015; Cotswold gardens 28th May-2nd June 2015; Wiltshire & Somerset gardens 17-21 June 2015; gardens in Kent, Sussex & Surrey and Hampton Court Flower Show 7-12 July 2015 as well as Cambridge & East Anglian gardens 11-16 September 2015.
The tour director, Dr. Barbara Sommerville, guides all tours and gives evening power point talks. www.flora-garden-tours.co.uk
or +44 (0) 1366 328 946
The Gardens of Kent and Sussex, departing 24th May, 25th June and 13th August 2015
This is an excellent tour for visitors to London who would like to visit gardens in Kent and Sussex. The countryside is varied, well-wooded and very favoured from the points of view of garden makers and garden visitors. The tour includes visits to Lullingstone Castle
, Great Comp
, Great Dixter
and Hever Castle
Chelsea Flower Show, 21st May 2015
The tour includes a full day at the Chelsea Flower Show
, which is the most famous horticultural event in the world, a visit to one of the best known Arts and Crafts gardens in England ( Sissinghurst
), a tour of the RHS's flagship garden ( Wisley
) with its new glasshouse, and a visit to one of most complete historic gardens and estates in England ( Tatton Park
Small group garden tours
Adderley Travel Limited operate small group garden tours, throughout England, Scotland & Wales for discerning garden lovers from around the world. ". . . the Gardens and Castles of North Wales tour was unbelievably perfect - from the venues you chose to visit, to the places where we stayed - and every expectation was met and exceeded, just as in the Kent tour we took a few years ago. Our traveling companions were the nicest people, and to think we had all traveled with you before just demonstrates the quality and excellence of Adderley Travel Limited." Kathy and Joyce, Connecticut, June 2013
Sisley Garden Tours: An English Spring with Chelsea Flower Show, departs 16th May 2015
Join us on our Chelsea Flower show tour to one of the most charming and quintessential corners of England. Visit the architectural gems of Canterbury, Rye & Royal Tunbridge Wells and enjoy some of the U.K.’s finest English spring gardens and great houses including Sissinghurst, Great Comp, Great Dixter, Hever Castle, Leeds Castle, Godinton House, Long Barn, Goodnestone Park, Pashley Manor and RHS Wisley. Culminating in the excitement of the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Sisley Garden Tours: Cotswolds gardens with Highgrove, departs 7th June 2015
Join us on our exclusive garden tour to the Cotswolds – an area of outstanding natural beauty with dry stone walls, open skies, rolling grasslands, beech woods and captivating villages. Staying in a luxury five-star hotel we will enjoy visits to beautiful gardens in their early summer glory including Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate Court, Bourton House, Sezincote, Upton Wold, Rodmarton Manor, Barnsley House, Througham Court, The Laskett garden and a tour of H.R.H. Prince of Wales’ private gardens at Highgrove.
Sisley Garden Tours: English Summer gardens with Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, departs 28th June 2015
Enjoy a stay in the centre of historic Windsor with visits to Sissinghurst and Hever Castle before visiting the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show on its first prestigious members-only day. Then join us as we head north to experience Shakespeare’s historic Stratford-upon-Avon and visit Blenheim Palace, Anne Hathaway’s cottage garden, David Austin’s world famous rose nursery, Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate and Coughton Court before returning to London at the end of the tour. Tour includes 1 year RHS membership.
Arts and Crafts – houses and gardens of the Cotswolds, any date subject to 4 person minimum
The Cotswolds has been synonymous with the Arts and Crafts since the late 19th Century. Discover what inspired William Morris, C R Ashbee and the Barnsley brothers to relocate here to champion traditional crafts and how their influence continues to this day. We will visit some of the best examples of houses and gardens with our expert guides. We will visit the houses of Kelmscott
and Buscot Park as well as wonderful collections of Arts and Crafts design. The gardens include Hidcote
and Buscot Park
. All walks are optional.
Devon Country Gardens, departing 28th June to 1st July 2015
Tucked in the southwest corner of England, Devon is a county tailor-made for the garden visiting connoisseur. Features a mix of wonderful, mostly private, gardens ranging from the ‘New Perennial’ planting and timeless traditional country garden to the contemporary, ambitious and challenging; from rare planting and careful plant associations and the sub-tropical to sculpture. Staying at the enchanting Hotel Endsleigh overlooking the fast-flowing River Tamar, originally a hunting lodge belonging to the Dukes of Bedford, with gardens thought to be one of the last commissions of Humphry Repton: the perfect base for a Devon garden tour.
‘Hortus goes to Dorset’, 7th to 11th September 2015
A garden tour hosted by David Wheeler, editor of HORTUS
Take a few days in deepest Dorset in the company of David Wheeler.. Dorset’s timeless air of sleepy isolation holds its secrets well: we will find an array of exquisite, little-known gardens, many linked to a plethora of
small manor houses. The tour is based at Plumber Manor, where you will be warmly welcomed: this archetypal small country house hotel with fine dining is surrounded by its own beautiful grounds, owned and run since the seventeenth century by the Prideaux-Brune family, charming hosts who will make our stay very much a country house party.