10 of the Best Great British Gardens to Visit
If you’re visiting wine and wisteria travel for the first time then you are clearly a garden lover and enjoy visiting beautiful gardens around the world.
Today I want to share ten of the best Great British gardens to visit at any time of year. Some of which I have had the pleasure of visiting recently.
You will know many of them I am sure but a few may be new to you.
I have chosen the following gardens to showcase here for their historical as well as horticultural interest. I have a love of Victorian greenhouses and many of these gardens boast one or more incredible glass houses, packed full of exotic plants that I can only dream about growing at home.
Sit back and enjoy this virtual British Garden tour with me.
I hope that you will feel inspired to visit them yourselves if you are able.
Lost Gardens of Heligan Cornwall
Having undergone huge restoration projects over the last thirty years The Lost Gardens Of Heligan are now, rightly so, one of the most popular places to visit in the UK.
Restored to their former glory there are now over 200 acres to explore.
These much loved gardens offer visitors a plethora of sub tropical plants including a bamboo tunnel, giant banana plants and tree ferns that thrive in the mild Cornish climate.
Highlights include the Jungle garden, ancient woodlands and the Victorian produce gardens which can boast over 300 varieties of heritage fruit, vegetables and herbs. Most of this delicious, seasonal produce is sent to the Heligan Kitchens to be included on the menu.
The gardening team at Heligan practice historic methods, the same as their Victorian counterparts, of growing fruit and vegetables and are truly an inspiration.
The Garden House Buckland Monachorum Devon
These gardens are an absolute delight, particularly through the spring and summer months when the informal, wild type planting comes into its own. There are several parts to the gardens, the swathes of wildflowers with meandering pathways through them and the quiet woodland areas are my favourites.
Viewed from the cafe terrace, the formal beds and lawned gardens are a pleasure and entice you to explore further.
There are numerous little paths and steps leading you to all aspects of the gardens with a few surprises in store too.
You will find many benches and seating areas where you can take a moment to relax and enjoy wonderful, far-reaching countryside views.
The staff around the gardens, plant shop and cafe are friendly, knowledgeable and always happy to help.
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Hestercombe Gardens Taunton Somerset
Hestercombe Gardens prove to be a unique combination of three centuries worth of garden design.
Horticultural history has played its part here with designs that can still be enjoyed.
Coplestone Warre Bampfylde’s Georgian landscape garden, a Victorian terrace and shrubbery and the beautiful Edwardian formal garden by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll.
Come and discover 50 acres of lakes, follies, temples, waterfalls, meandering woodland walks along with formal terraces and breathtaking views across the surrounding fields.
Cannington Walled Gardens Bridgwater Somerset
Located in the village of Cannington, Somerset, these lovely gardens are in the grounds of a medieval priory and many of its fine buildings, including the walls of the garden, remain. So visiting here is like walking through the past, if you haven’t yet discovered these gardens they are well worth a visit.
They are small, yet very well-kept and maintained.
The Gardens have classic and contemporary features such as the Hot herbaceous Border, Blue Garden, Sub-Tropical Walk and the Victorian style fernery.
You can also enjoy the botanical glasshouse to see arid, sub-tropical and tropical plants.
There is a small cafe, plant sales and a gift shop
Bridgwater & Taunton College’s Cannington Centre is one of the key providers in the horticultural education sector.
The following courses on Horticulture, Gardening, Landscape Design and Floristry are offered at Cannington Centre.
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Ballyrobert Gardens Co. Antrim Ireland
I would dearly love to visit this small (6 acres) garden in Co. Antrim
It has been designed to blend in with the surrounding countryside and that is a theme I like. “ Borrowing” views and including them in a garden is a perfect way of making your outdoor space look bigger.
At Ballyrobert there are in addition about 10 acres of woodland and wild gardens to explore.
It started off about 300 hundred years ago as a farm in 1994 the current owners made it into a garden adding plant beds and trees. These are the type of garden I love, designed and cared for with an eye to preserving the history along with the vast amount of rich wildlife.
Highlights include Station lawn, a fairy tree, the Glenlichy borders, the cottage garden, woodland garden, formal garden and the lakeside garden and much more. Really, there is something here at this enchanting location for everyone to enjoy.
Somerleyton Hall Gardens Lowestoft Suffolk
Set over 12 acres the gardens at Somerleyton Hall are considered one of the finest in East Anglia, designed and planted in the 17th century they are rich in both historic and horticultural value.
There is an ongoing re-designing project, for example The White Garden is set in the former Winter gardens, the remains of which have been incorporated into the new design.
The Nesfield Parterre underwent restoration during 2012-2014, its centrepiece the Great Equatorial Sundial surrounded by the signs of the zodiac.
Other highlights include the Arboretum, currently being planted with more specimen trees and under-planted with drifts of spring bulbs, The Somerleyton Maze and the Walled Garden formerly the kitchen garden.
For me, two of the best parts are the glasshouse designed by Joseph Paxton and the unique peach case similar in design to the beautiful peach house at Chatsworth.
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Picton Castle and Gardens Pembrokeshire Wales
Forty acres of woodland gardens and grounds to explore.
Visit the eighteenth century, grade 2 listed walled garden, informally planted with a diverse and colourful collection of herbaceous plants. The old buildings here are currently undergoing much-needed restoration, the Garden Bothy, the old head gardeners’ office and a fruit store urgently need attention and will be brought back to their former glory for us all to enjoy.
There are rare trees and plant collections from around the world to discover, along with magnificent Rhododendrons, woodlands walks and unusual exotics in the jungle garden.
Picton gardens boasts one of the best plant collections in Wales, including a collection of conifers, roses and medicinal herbs.
The Pembrokeshire National Park is a stunning area to visit, find your perfect holiday cottage now
The Wales National Botanical Gardens are in the same area so stop by and visit there as well.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens Birmingham
I visited Birmingham Botanical Gardens a couple of years ago when my world seemed to have turned upside down. Walking around these gorgeous historic gardens on a late summer day calmed my mind and brought back a sense of perspective on life.
The four Victorian glass houses are a wonder, housing a large collection of fascinating plants from sub-tropical and tropical jungle species to the arid desert cacti and Mediterranean specimens.
There is also an Alpine house and Butterfly house to enjoy.
I am in glasshouse heaven here.
The main terrace overlooking sweeping lawns is a particularly lovely place to sit to enjoy a moment in the sun, before venturing along the winding paths to shrubberies, herbaceous borders and pinetum.
There are planned walks each month that guide you to seasonal highlights.
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Alnwick Castle Gardens Alnwick Northumberland
The main attraction I think of Alnwick Castle Gardens is the majestic waterfall, The Grand Cascade, directly opposite the main entrance terrace, it takes your breath away.
Wandering round you come across many other modern and innovative water features that serve to wow visitors. Fountains, pebbled streams and rills meander their gentle way through the 12 acre gardens.
Another wow factor spectacle that is definitely worth a timed visit is the Cherry Orchard at blossom time in spring.
The Alnwick Cherry Orchard has the world’s largest collection of ‘Taihaku’ Cherry trees, 329 trees, that all bloom together for about two weeks around the end of April.
The orchard has dozens of beautifully made wooden swing seats from which you can swing gently and enjoy the blossom and daffodils.
Northumberland has many more gardens, castles and stately homes to enjoy, book your self catering luxury cottage now.
Floors Castle Gardens Roxburghshire Scotland
If you’re looking for grand castle settings, Dukes and Duchesses and hundreds of years of history then Floors Castle should be on your list of gardens to visit.
It is the largest inhabited castle in Scotland and is the family home of the 11th Duke of Roxburghe. Built in 1721 for the 1st Duke of Roxburghe the property is an ever evolving tapestry of influences from each generation.
Visit the Victorian Walled Garden and glasshouses, the Star Plantation, gloriously colourful herbaceous borders and the formal Millennium Garden with its French style parterre.
There are woodland and riverside walks to explore and a cycle trail for the more energetic.
For more gardens to include on your Scottish itinerary take a look at Branklyn Gardens and Falkland Palace Gardens
Walking through Britain’s renowned outdoor spaces, parklands and historic sites is always a joy, they serve to create a healthy sense of well being within us all. Therefore they remain in my view some of the best places to visit.
We are also invigorated and motivated to do something different in our own gardens whether that is trying a plant that we haven’t grown before or adding a new wildlife feature for example.
Visiting other gardens helps us to focus on how we can improve our own by being more creative and adventurous.
For now, we can only pore over these gardens from our armchairs through books, magazines and articles such as this one, but I do hope that you appreciate reading and that you will take from it new ideas to implement.
If you enjoyed this article please share it with your friends and family and on social media.
Let’s take on the task of inspiring everyone to take pleasure from these truly magical places. Hopefully we can soon get out and about visiting gardens once more to improve our general health and well-being
I love to hear from you, so please leave me a message in the comments box below and tell me which gardens you find enjoyable.
Thank you and Happy Travels.