The Garden Guide

Garden Tours in England

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


Chelsea Flower Show, 25th May 2017

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 ).


FLORA Garden Tours, 2016 small group tours

Flora Garden Tours Flora guided tours of gardens in England take 4 to 10 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.

In 2016 FLORA will tour Cornish and Devon gardens 31st March-4th April; Cotswold gardens 18th May-22nd May; gardens in Wiltshire and Somerset 5th-9th June; Roses in the Southern counties 22nd-26th June; Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampton Court Flower Show 5th - 10th July as well as Cambridge and Norfolk gardens 16-24th September. Dr. Barbara Sommerville plans and escorts all garden tours in England and gives evening power-point talks on subjects relevant to touring English and British gardens.


Gardens of a Golden Afternoon’, Gardens of Sussex & Kent, 28th September to 2nd October 2016

Sussex, Boxwood Tours Led by David Gilchrist
A hand-picked selection of the finest, mostly private gardens and nurseries in the south-east of England, this is indeed a star-studded garden visiting experience, including a visit with Tom Coward to the gardens of Gravetye Manor, an ‘early bird’ visit to Sissinghurst, a special invitation to lunch with Lady Collum at the delectable Clinton Lodge and the Great Dixter Autumn Plant Fair. We have selected Ockenden Manor Hotel, a charming and tranquil Elizabethan Manor House, which offers good food and hospitality, as the perfect base for the tour, with dinners with wine, bed and breakfasts all included


Cotswold Gardens and their 20th Century designers, 18th to 24th June 2017

Arts & CraftsThe Cotswolds is blessed with an abundance of celebrated gardens and we invite you join us to discover some of the best examples of 20th-century design from Hidcote to Highgrove. Our expert guide and garden designer Amanda Patton will give a unique insight into the history and inspiration into each our carefully selected gardens.


British Isles, Castles, Gardens, History & Birdlife Cruise - Botanica World Discoveries, departing 28th May 2016

Botanica World Discoveries Scotland, Ireland, Wales & England
11 days on an exclusive small ship with a Botanical Guide. History, gardens in spring bloom, castles, birdlife and stunning scenery all combine with personalised small ship cruising and the adventure of Zodiac landings, allowing you a unique opportunity to explore the coastline of the British Isles, where larger ships can’t go.


The Gardens of Kent and Sussex, departing 29th May, 26th June and 14th August 2016

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, Nymans, Leonardslee, Sissinghurst, Great Dixter and Hever Castle.


Gardens of Norfolk & Suffolk, 5th to 9th September 2016

Norfolk, Boxwood Tours Hosted by Gardens Illustrated’s John Hoyland
A hand-picked selection of fine private gardens in a quintessentially English region of rural Britain: Parsonage House, Corpusty Mill & Columbine Hall live up to their evocative names; meet garden designers Lady Tollemache at Helmingham Hall and George Carter at Silverstone Farm. At every garden visited we are met for special guided tours to learn the essentials of creating exceptional gardens. We are accommodated for two nights at the half-timbered, fifteenth-century Swan Hotelin the heart of Lavenham: the following two nights are at Titchwell Manor Hotel on the North Coast with views across wild marshes to the sea.