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, 24th May 2018
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
Sisley Garden Tours - Garden Gems of Cornwall, Devon & the Isles of Scilly, 11th – 18th May 2018
An exciting tour to England’s gorgeous south west corner & the Isles of Scilly
Highlights include: visit to the Isles of Scilly and Tresco Abbey Gardens; superb hotels, one on the River Dart and one with 25 acre private beach; the summer home of Agatha Christie; world famous Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan; private gardens at Trematon Castle; Lutyens/Jekyll masterpiece at Hestercombe Gardens; Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden & Tate St Ives.
The Story of the English Garden, 10th to 14th June 2018
With garden historian, Dr Sophie Piebenga
In the capable hands of garden historian, Sophie Piebenga, we explore the story of the English garden, starting with the well-researched reconstruction of a medieval garden in Winchester, moving through time to: intricate medieval gardens; formal Renaissance and ornate Baroque; the spacious English Landscape Movement; Picturesque and grand high Victorian gardens; refined Edwardian style; finally arriving in the present day with visit to a beautiful late 20th century garden. Your base for the tour will be the Tylney Hall Hotel selected for its high standards of hospitality and its wonderful Edwardian gardens.
FLORA Garden Tours, 2018 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 2018 FLORA will tour Lake District and Yorkshire gardens 1st-6th May;
Cotswold gardens 16-20th May; Wiltshire and Somerset gardens 3rd-7th June; Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampton Court Flower Show 3rd-8th July as well as Cambridge and Norfolk gardens 21st-26th 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.
Sisley Garden Tours - Great Houses and Gardens of Yorkshire & the Lake District, 9th – 16th September 2018
Historic York, stately homes & gardens and the beauty of the Lake District
Highlights include: private interior tours of Castle Howard and Newby Hall; private garden tours at Littlethorpe Manor and Levens Hall; walking tour of York and a visit to York Minster; visit to the World Heritage Site of Fountain’s Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden; exclusive visit to Gresgarth Hall; private Lake Cruise on Windermere; visit to Beatrix Potter’s home; stunning scenery of two National Parks.
The Legacy of Gertrude Jekyll, departing 20th May 2018
Follow in the footsteps of Gertrude Jekyll on this tour across the south of England, visiting many of her commissions including Hestercombe
, Upton Grey
and also the rare opportunity to visit Munstead Wood
, her home for almost 40 years.
The TELEGRAPH Lakeland Collection, 21st to 24th September 2018
Hosted by gardens correspondent, HELEN YEMM
The English Lake District is renowned for its dramatic beauty including England’s highest mountains and finest lakes. Previous home to William Wordsworth, the Lakeland poets and Beatrice Potter, we also find a contrasting range of wonderful gardens, especially in the warmer south of the region. The Lakeside Hotel sits on the lower reaches of Lake Windermere, a very welcoming, friendly hotel with our selected rooms overlooking the lake and gardens. The seamless blend of country-house character and contemporary four-star luxury with fine dining inspired by local produce ensures complete ease and comfort.
Sisley Garden Tours - RHS Chatsworth House Flower Show, Oxford & the Cotswolds, 3rd – 9th June 2018
Experience the RHS Flower Show at Chatsworth House combined with Oxford and the Cotswolds
Highlights include: members-only day at the RHS Chatsworth House Flower Show; one year’s membership to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS); afternoon tea at the Wedgwood China tea emporium; private visits with garden tours at Eastleach House, Armscote Manor, Thornbridge Hall and Cottesbrooke Hall: pre-opening visits to Biddulph Grange Garden and Haddon Hall; Oxford walking tour and Oxford Botanic Gardens; private river cruise and dinner in Oxford.
The English Rose, 17th to 20th June 2018
Led by Rosarian, Michael Marriott and accompanied by Patience Shone
A gentle journey enjoying roses in some wonderful gardens, featuring the outstanding David Austin show garden collection as well as a ‘behind the scenes’, private view of David Austin’s own garden. Also featured are Powis Castle, Coughton Court, Ragley Hall and Wollerton Old Hall plus a visit to Michael Marriott’s own garden and an opportunity to meet Katherine Swift to hear about her new book, A Rose for Morville due out in 2018. We stay throughout the tour at the award-winning Brockencote Hall an outstanding example of a country house hotel.
Gardens of the Cotswolds, 24th to 27th June 2018
A TELEGRAPH tour hosted by correspondent, HELEN YEMM
The Cotswolds is a beautiful region of rolling hills and far reaching views interspersed with ochre-coloured manor houses & cottages and a wealth of wonderful gardens. We have carefully selected some outstanding private gardens, including Upton Wold and Rockcliffe, as well as special visits to Kiftsgate Court before official opening time and Barnsley House to view the work of Rosemary Verey with Head Gardener Richard Gatenby. We stay at an excellent hotel nestling in the heart of Moreton-in-Marsh: the award-winning Manor House Hotel, justly renowned for warm hospitality and good food.
Gardens of the Tamar Valley, 2nd to 5th July 2018
Hosted by Stephen Anderton of The Times
A remarkable selection of gardens on the beautiful pastoral banks of the River Tamar. Near the source in the north we find a small mill garden with an abundance of wild flowers; a very private arts & crafts garden surrounding the beautiful Jacobean Manor, extended by Sir Edwin Lutyens; and Wildside, one of the most innovative, daring and vibrant new garden in Britain. Near the mouth of the river we visit Trematon, the much acclaimed home of garden designers Julian & Isabel Bannerman. We stay at the enchanting Hotel Endsleigh overlooking the fast-flowing River Tamar.
Sisley Garden Tours - RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show & the Gardens of Kent, 1st – 7th July 2018
RHS Hampton Court Flower Show with the gardens of Kent in their peak flowering season
Highlights include: private visits and garden tours at Great Dixter, Sissinghurst and Long Barn; prestigious first members-only day at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show; one year membership of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS); meet the head gardeners at Godinton House and Pashley Manor; explore the architectural gem of Royal Tunbridge Wells; RHS Wisley and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.