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, 26th May 2016
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
Glorious Gardens from Windsor to Bath, Sunday 3rd July – Saturday 9th July 2016
This exciting new itinerary takes in the very finest gardens of Southern England including many created by famous designers including Gertrude Jekyll, Geoffrey Jellicoe, Marilyn Abbott, Harold Peto and Piet Oudolf to name but a few. Many of the garden visits are private and with our luxury hotel bases in Windsor and Bath, we will enjoy the chance to explore these spectacular historic cities and towns – not to mention the glorious countryside and villages between.
FLORA Garden Tours, 2016 small group 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 the Cornish Riviera, 19th to 22nd April 2016
Hosted by Helen Yemm, Telegraph Gardens Correspondent
The Cornish peninsula is famous for sheltered gardens harbouring collections of magnolias, camellias, palms, tree ferns and many other exotic plant groups, particularly the south of the peninsula where valley gardens lead down to secluded creeks warmed by the Gulf Stream Cornish gardens have for years held great appeal, attracting many visitors. This tour avoids the ‘honey pots’ and in so doing uncovers a vibrant new collection of gardens & nurseries off the beaten track. We stay at Olga Polizzi’s renowned Tresanton Hotel in light-filled St Mawes, one of the prettiest fishing villages in Cornwall.
Gardens of a Golden Afternoon’, Gardens of Sussex & Kent, 28th September to 2nd October 2016
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
The 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
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
, Great Dixter
and Hever Castle
The Cotswolds Exclusive with Highgrove Garden, Sunday 12th – Friday 17th June 2016
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.
English Spring Gardens with Chelsea Flower Show, Saturday 21st – Saturday 28th May 2016
Join us on our Chelsea Flower show tour to one of the most charming and quintessential corners of England - Kent. 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.
Great Houses and Gardens of Yorkshire & the Lake District, Sunday 11th – Sunday 18th September 2016
This delightful late season tour takes in some of the very finest Great Houses & Gardens of Yorkshire & the Lake District. Staying in historic York and then on the spectacular water’s edge in the Lake District we’ll explore great houses including Castle Howard, Newby Hall, Levens Hall and Holker Hall. We’ll delight in wonderful late summer gardens including Scampston Walled Garden and the private gardens of Mount St. John, Gresgarth Hall and Littlethorpe Manor. We’ll explore ruined Abbeys, medieval streets and cruise Lake Windermere. Expect glorious scenery, stunning houses and beautiful gardens.
Summer Gardens Tour with Hampton Court Flower Show, Sunday 3rd – Saturday 9th July 2016
Beautiful English countryside of the Cotswolds and Kent, wild flowers and gardens at their high summer best with roses and herbaceous borders in their prime. Experience historic Stratford-upon-Avon and visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage garden, David Austin’s world famous rose nursery, Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate and Coughton Court before heading south to enjoy the lovely Hever Castle, Sissinghurst, Windsor Castle, RHS Wisley and the wonders of a members-only day at RHS Hampton Court Flower show. Tour includes 1 year RHS membership.
Gardens of Norfolk & Suffolk, 5th to 9th September 2016
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.