Britain’s best-loved gardens
We might complain about the amount of rain we get in this country but it’s our changeable climate that has helped to nurture some of Britain’s most beautiful gardens. With lush leaves, rolling green lawns, colourful flowers and babbling brooks; these gardens are the places to visit and enjoy a slower pace of life – even for a few hours.
On a sunny day, there’s no nicer environment than a well-kept garden. Let us take you on a quick tour of some of our favourites. You may want to visit or they may inspire you to take a fresh look at your own green space. Enjoy!
The Alnwick Garden, Northumberland
Described by the Duchess of Northumberland as “an inspiring landscape with beautiful gardens, unique features all brought to life with water”, the Alnwick Garden brings joy to all who see it. Look out for amazing water features and geometric ornamental gardens. It’s home to one of the largest collections of European plants – great news for honey bees. Alnwick even features a tree-top restaurant in one of the world’s largest wooden tree houses.
Arley Hall & Gardens, Cheshire
Arley Hall and gardens is noted for having the largest double herbaceous border in England. Explore the stunning gardens and take a walk in the informal grove where you’ll see more than 20 sculptures by local artists. Arley has an adventure playground and willow dome den making it a great escape for kids too.
The Beth Chatto Gardens, Essex
Beth Chatto and her late husband, Andrew, have created a stunning 15 acre garden from an old car park using water-thrifty plants. This stunning space really is a hidden gem; including a water garden, woodland area, scree beds and gravel garden.
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
Over 2,000 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped parkland, noted as “the most beautiful view in England” awaits you. The Palace itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The award-winning formal gardens, commissioned by the 9th Duke of Marlborough, include a secret garden, majestic water terraces, a fragrant rose garden and a grand cascade and lake. Visitors can enjoy the Pleasure Gardens, or take a ride on the miniature train. Get lost in the giant maze, and once you've escaped, visit the tropical butterfly house for a splash of colour.
Another ‘Capability’ Brown garden is set in the grounds of Chatsworth. The stunning house is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and believed by some to be the inspiration for Jane Austen’s Pemberley, in her novel, Pride and Prejudice. The garden is famous for its 200ft fountain, rock garden and surviving Joseph Paxton glasshouses. Visitors can explore stunning outdoor spaces, the maze, an adventure playground and farmyard. All set against the backdrop of the Peak District, one of England’s most celebrated destinations.
Chelsea Physic Garden, London
This magical garden was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to train apprentices in the medicinal qualities of plants. Over time it has become one of the most important centres of botany and plant exchange in the world, and has a unique collection of over 5,000 edible, useful, medicinal, and historical plants.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Kew Gardens is probably the world’s most famous garden. It was created in 1759, and boasts the earliest and greatest botanic garden, breathtaking landscapes, historic buildings, and one of the rarest and most interesting range of plants. Hop aboard the Kew Explorer land train to enjoy the 40-minute tour of this UNESCO Heritage site and learn about its plants, trees and history.
Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden, Warwickshire
Kenilworth is a faithful recreation of an Elizabethan garden, which had been lost to the world until 2009. Visitors can follow in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth I and experience the delights including carved arbours, a bejewelled aviary and a marble fountain.
Levens Hall, Cumbria
This stately home in south Lakeland boasts a world famous 17th century topiary garden, designed by Monsieur Beaumont. It contains over 100 individual topiary pieces, some over nine metres high. Many are towering geometric shapes but there are also chess pieces; the King and Queen, a Judge’s Wig, the Howard Lion, the Great Umbrellas, Queen Elizabeth and her Maids of Honour, a Jug of Morocco Ale, and four Peacocks!
Tresco Abbey Garden, Isles of Scilly
Sub-tropical gardens are hidden in 17 acres on the Isles of Scilly. The warm climate and location on a hillside ensure unusual exotic plants from all over the world are in plenty. Follow paths which cross the garden and discover towering palm trees, giant red flame trees, blue spires of echium and pink pelargonium. Tresco is a visual treat for any visitor.