The Garden Guide

Barnsdale Gardens

Barnsdale Gardens were designed by Geoff Hamilton, who presented BBC Gardener's World from 1979 until his death in 1996. Barnsdale was a Victorian farmhouse with 5 acres of pastureland when he found the property in 1984. Hamilton was interested in making gardening affordable by offering practical ideas for gardeners to recreate at home and encouraging the inventive reuse of materials. The gardens include a rose garden, Japanese garden, rock garden, knot garden, kitchen garden, bog garden and orchard.

Head Gardener's Comment

Set in the heart of the beautiful Rutland countryside, Barnsdale is home to Britain's largest collection of individually designed gardens, plus a tea room and large, well-stocked plant nursery, all on one 8-acre site. The 38 plots range in style from traditional cottage plantings to modern gardens, allotments, woodlands and formal ponds and have been likened to a ‘theme park for gardeners’.

Photograph © Redshift Photography
Photograph © Barnsdale Gardens
Photograph © Redshift Photography
Photograph © Barnsdale Gardens
Photograph © Barnsdale Gardens
Photograph © Barnsdale Gardens


When Geoff Hamilton bought his five acres of farmland in the small village of Exton, the 'Barnsdale' that millions tuned in on a Friday night to see, was born. A local farmer was asked to plough most of it and after transplanting one or two mature trees and shrubs from his previous home, Geoff began his first project. Gardeners' World was soon established in its new home, with his down to earth style earning him the accolade 'Britain's Favourite TV Gardener'. Geoff championed many good causes, in particular organic gardening and the use of peat-free alternatives, and nearly twenty-five years on the garden is still run on these organic principles by his son Nick.

Plants of note

Extensive collections of hemerocallis and penstemon as well as a wide variety of trees, shrubs and perennials.

The Avenue, Exton, Oakham, Rutland, England, LE15 8AH

All year. Daily except 24th and 25th December.

Visit the Barnsdale Gardens website

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