I love nothing more than visiting fabulous, well-kept gardens and as you are probably aware there are many to choose from. I also have a fascination for the wine-making process. It astounds me how, from a stubby little twig of a grape vine comes a glass of delicious wine. Be it red, white, rosé or sparkling, there is something for every meal pairing and for every occasion.
To have a day out where I get to combine both wine tastings and beautiful gardens is something kind of wonderful.
So sit back, with a cheeky little glass of something and read about these award-winning vineyards and their gardens. In the case of the vineyard in Yorkshire I have included my ramblings of Harlow Carr which is nearby.
Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens and Vineyard
Leonardslee lakes and gardens really ought to be on your list of gardens to visit.
The beautiful grade II listed gardens were first planted in 1801 to complement nearby Leonardslee House.
The history of the site goes much further back, into the Middle Ages, when St Leonard’s Forest stood here.
The soil is very acidic and as such unsuitable for farming so when vast tracts of forest were being removed to make way for agriculture the natural woodlands around Leonardslee remained.
In the spring time you can find outstanding displays of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, magnolias and bluebells. There are also Alpines, a rock garden, and a bonsai exhibit to enjoy.
Part of the ancient forest estate was sold to Charles G. Beauclark in 1801, and it was he who built a house known as St Leonard’s Lodge. The family started to create the first gardens here.
In 1889 Sir Edmund Loder bought the estate and began to plant the existing parkland with a variety of trees, azaleas and rhododendrons.
He was an avid plant collector, he filled the gardens with exotic and rare species brought to Britain by plant collectors. Some of which can still be seen today.
He built the rock gardens with a mix of natural rocks and artificial sandstone.
The rock garden is surrounded by coniferous trees to provide a sheltered environment.
The gardens are set in a steep-sided valley and contain a 7 man-made ponds.
Some of these ponds were created to provide power for a nearby iron works.
Restoration of these gardens began when the present owner, Penny Streeter, acquired the estate in 2017. Penny and the garden team are dedicated to maintaining and improving the gardens and surrounding buildings so that the public can experience them in all their former glory.
In the Leonardslee vineyards the South African grape, Pinotage, was planted in 2018, it is believed to be the first time in this country.
Although considered a risky crop, it confirms the identity and personality of the brand with the Benguela Cove group, whose properties are in South Africa.
Winemaker Johann Fourie, thought that Pinotage would add to the historical significance of the gardens.
Pinotage is an early ripening cultivar; it has a thick skin and not easily subjected to rot. It can be harvested early before any rot has a chance to set in and has the potential of making a light red wine on UK soil.
Vineyard Tours and wine tastings are available and can be pre-booked on their website.
For garden open times and ticket information please visit:
There are refreshments available in several outlets on the estate or enjoy afternoon tea in the Leonardslee mansion.
No cash is accepted on site, credit card only.
Renishaw Hall Gardens and Vineyard
Renishaw Hall’s vineyard was planted by the late Sir Reresby in 1972. Up until 1986 it was certified the most northern vineyard in the world, 53 degrees 18 minutes north.
Enjoy a vineyard tour and gain a fascinating insight into the running of the vineyard and of wine making. Kieron Atkinson, their award-winning winemaker, takes the tours around the vineyard. The tour includes the chance to sample the delicious, medal-winning still and sparkling wine that the vineyard produces.
Private tours for groups of 12 and over can also be booked. A wine tour is a great idea for group outings, birthdays and special occasions.
The fabulous Italianate gardens were created in the late 19th Century by Sir George Sitwell 4th Baronet. He was the eccentric great-grandfather of the current owner Alexandra Sitwell.
Take a walk around the formal gardens enjoying the lawns and borders. Or a leisurely stroll along the lime avenue will bring you to “The Angel of Fame”.
Relax on one of the many benches and take time out to indulge in the beauty and peace of these gardens.
There are walks that take you further afield through woodland and down to the lakes. With many other areas of interest on the way.
The lakes are a haven for wildlife, you will encounter many butterflies, dragonflies, and birds. The path follows around the lake, enjoy the stunning views, and then return through the woods back to the formal lawns.
Throughout the season there are many garden highlights such as bluebells, delphiniums, camellias and roses. Plenty of lovely spaces to possibly enjoy a picnic too.
The gardens offer a great place to experience the outdoors with plenty to see and enjoy for all ages. Woodlands for exploring, sculpture, children’s maze and also the national collection of Yuccas.
There is a visitor centre, museum, plant shop and cafe.
For further information on vineyard tours and garden open times visit:
Glyndwr Vineyard is the oldest and largest established vineyard in Wales. The current owners revived the art of vine growing and wine making in Wales, establishing Glyndwr Vineyard in 1979. It is the oldest family estate in Wales.
With the experience of 35 years playing an important role in the current success and reputation of the vineyard, with outlets for their wines throughout Wales including Waitrose, Sainsbury’s to name a few.
Now, two generations are working together to blend not only delicious wines but also the vineyard’s heritage with modern, innovative practices.
Hedgerows around the vineyard are left to grow wild to help encourage wildlife and the vines are treated with organic material.
The pretty gardens at Glyndwr have been open to the National Garden Scheme. There are ponds, woodland areas to explore and orchards containing a number of old British apple trees, which the company uses to make Glyndwr’s own delicious cider.
You can even stay on the vineyard in their very pretty and well appointed accommodation.
For further information about Glyndwr Vineyard and their wines visit:
Vale Of Glamorgan
Yorkshire Heart Vineyard
Yorkshire Heart Vineyard lies in a picturesque village between Harrogate and York. Deep in the Yorkshire countryside this vineyard produces award-winning fine English wines, as well as a range of quality easy-drinking craft beers at their modern micro-brewery.
A true taste of Yorkshire in a bottle.
The Vineyard and Brewery is fast becoming one of Yorkshire’s finest drink producers and is gaining a well-deserved reputation as a top visitor attraction.
The vineyard offers tours and tastings, meetings, parties and weddings. There is also camping and caravan stays. No better place to be than in the heart of the Yorkshire countryside, enjoying fine wines.
There is a visitor centre, cafe and shop.
For further information visit:
Yorkshire Heart Vineyard
Yorkshire Heart doesn’t have Gardens to visit but they are not far from Harlow Carr. These Royal Horticultural Society Gardens are definitely well worth a visit.
Harlow Carr Gardens
RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Yorkshire covers 68 acres. Set in a valley it is very much a part of the Yorkshire countryside, the garden has a wide variety of growing landscapes. There are streams, woodland and wildflower meadows.
Acidic soil affords a fabulous environment for rhododendrons and Himalayan blue poppies. As in a number of places in Yorkshire the gardens contend with wet weather, dry, cold winds. Hard frosts and bitter cold winters, so if you have the same then find inspiration for plants that can tolerate these harsh conditions.
There is a lovely visitor centre, library, Betty’s tearooms and gift shop and a plant and garden shop.
I think one of my favourite parts of Harlow Carr is the alpine house. I love glasshouses and to come across one so pristine and pretty, with over 2000 alpine plant species is a joy for me.
Outside the alpine house are some lovely garden ornaments and bug hotels.
The glass house overlooks the kitchen garden which has a wide variety of vegetables grown in raised beds, a herb garden, fruit and a flower cutting garden.
The stream-side is a very picturesque area too and ideal for a relaxing picnic on a sunny day.
These vineyards and gardens are all well worth a visit if you are in the area, so why not plan a day out at any one of them this summer. Or if you are taking a short break or spending your holidays in any of these beautiful locations then include some gardens and vineyards in your itinerary. There are numerous self catering accommodations of luxurious high standard in all these areas that I have mentioned, so you can rest assured that you will find somewhere lovely to stay for you and your family or just for two, whether you are booking a mini break or a long holiday.
If you are interested in visiting or indeed have already done so I would love to hear your views and thoughts in the comments section.