Explore Britain | 17th March 2020
Our favourite British gardens
As spring begins to bloom, venture out into the beautifully vibrant surroundings of some of the UK’s finest gardens.
Here are some of our favourites to explore this year.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall
Lost during the destruction of the First World War, Heligan’s historic gardens were rediscovered in 1990 to become Europe’s largest garden restoration project. The mysterious estate provides 200 acres or history and romance, and is home to the UK’s only outdoor jungle (with one of the longest Burmese Rope Bridges in the country), a number of pleasure gardens linked by a network of historic pathways and a walled flower garden and melon yard in the extensive gardens. Head into the wider estate to discover an abundance of fascinating wildlife, ancient woodland and a rare-breed farm.
Stay at The Nare on Cornwall’s Roseland Peninsula
© Heligan Gardens Ltd
Helmsley Walled Garden, North Yorkshire
Set in the North York Moors at the start of the start of the Cleveland Way National Trail, Helmsley Walled Garden is home to five beautiful acres of themed gardens, herbaceous borders and an orchard surrounded by a wildflower meadow. There are 34 varieties of Victorian vine in The Vine House, plus a Clematis Garden and White Garden, where visitors can rest amongst a variety of colour-themed perennials and shrubs. The gardens are the setting for the film adaption of The Secret Garden, released in 2020.
Stay at Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa in Helmsley, North Yorkshire
Arley Hall & Gardens, Cheshire
Cultivated over 250 years by successive generations of the same family, Arley Hall & Gardens blends history and traditional design with modern ideas and additions. There are eight acres of formal gardens, which feature a furlong walk and an avenue of pleached lime trees, alongside a well-established arboretum and woodland walk. The Grove is the estate’s informal garden, which features spring bulbs, azaleas, exotic trees and rhododendrons.
Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Dorset
Originating in 1765, Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens are located in a wooded and sheltered valley which leads down to Chesil Beach, creating a unique micro-climate that enables rare and exotic plant species from all over the world to thrive. Famous for its Camellia groves and Magnolias, the magnificent gardens are also popular for their Rhododendron and Hydrangea collections, as well as a Victorian walled garden. Meander around the gardens spotting bronze sculptures inspired by Alice in Wonderland (a new addition for 2020) and enjoy wonderful views of the Sunken Garden from the colonial-style tea house, which serves freshly prepared meals throughout the day.
Stay at The Priory in Wareham, Dorset
Borde Hill Garden, West Sussex
Set in 200 acres of traditional parkland, the botanically rich gardens at Borde Hill captivate visitors with a series of ‘living garden rooms’, fine woodland and views across the Sussex High Weald. At the heart of the estate sits Borde Hill House, built in 1598, which makes a delightful backdrop to the formal garden. The estate features some of the first Rhododendrons brought to the UK by the great Victorian plant hunters, an Azalea Ring, Italian Garden surrounding a formal lily pond, derelict Victorian potting sheds housing a selection of southern hemisphere plants, a lavish rose garden and a sub-tropical dell. The Paradise Walk runs along the southern boundary and connects many of the areas for guests to wander around at leisure.
Stay at Ockenden Manor in the village of Cuckfield, West Sussex