20 of our favourite gardens to visit in the UK (2024)

20 of our favourite gardens to visit in the UK (1)

Britain is home to countless gardens that are open to visitors to enjoy and we've rounded up our favourites for you to explore on your next day trip or staycation.

With the warmer weather arriving, it’s the perfect time to start planning how you’ll make the most of the UK’s great outdoors over the coming months. As well as the many beautiful, natural landscapes we have here in Britain, we’re also lucky to have a variety of lovely gardens, from perfectly manicured palace grounds to fragrant and colourful cottage gardens.


These lush attractions invite you to witness their vibrant flower and plant displays and get inspiration for your own outdoor space, or simply soak up the ambience for pleasure.

With plenty of charm and character, you'll find impressive 'outdoor rooms,' walled gardens, herbaceous borders and more at these remarkable gardens around the country.

Browse the loveliest gardens to visit across the UK.


Hidcote, Gloucestershire

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Located in the Cotswold hills, this Arts and Crafts-inspired garden has several intricately designed outdoor spaces to explore. Hidcote's fabulous garden was created by talented American horticulturist Major Lawrence Johnston and is characterised by its colourful outdoor ‘rooms’ that are full of surprises.

A must-see if you’re on holiday in the Cotswolds, you'll adore the maze of narrow paved pathways and secret gardens with plants bursting with colour. Many of the plants that grow here were collected from Johnston’s plant hunting trips in faraway places. It’s the perfect place to visit if you’re after gardening inspiration. Look out for green woodpeckers and the elusive hummingbird moth.

How to visit: Cotswold House Hotel is a 12-minute drive from Hidcote in Chipping Campden, with a restaurant, spa and a cosy atmosphere.



Tresco Abbey Gardens, Isle of Scilly

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If ever you needed an excuse to visit the heavenly Isles of Scilly, the glorious Tresco Abbey Gardens is it. A botanical paradise that you're guaranteed to fall in love with, the garden was planted among the ruins of a Benedictine priory.

You'll find 20,000 plant species, which have been collected as far as New Zealand, South Africa and South America. It's also home to the Valhalla Museum, a collection of figureheads gathered from shipwrecks around the islands. Tresco Abbey Gardens is a great place to spot rare red squirrels, too.

How to visit: Join Country Living on a tour of the Isles of Scilly with top wildlife and nature expert Julian Branscombe, who knows the islands inside and out. You'll visit Tresco Abbey Gardens during the six-day break.



Sissinghurst Castle, Kent

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One of the most celebrated English gardens, Sissinghurst Castle Garden is a joy to explore. Designed by poet Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson who moved here in 1930, the gardens were completely transformed from a space to grow vegetables for farm workers to the series of ‘rooms’ filled with various planting schemes.

The bold and bright Cottage Garden with its hot colours and the White Garden, which has inspired countless imitations, are just two of the garden's highlights. You'll also want to check out the fiery reds and yellows of the South Cottage garden.

How to visit: Country Living's four-day exploration of Kent and Sussex's finest gardens will take you to Sissinghurst on an early bird visit, where you'll have the chance to explore the gardens before they open to the public.


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The Royal Gardens at Highgrove, Gloucestershire

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Since buying the property in 1980, King Charles has redeveloped the garden at Highgrove, taking on a new project every year. With the help of his friend Lady Salisbury, he surrounded the house with scented wisteria, honeysuckle, jasmine and thyme.

The royal also created an experimental wildflower meadow of around 32 different varieties of endangered native plants, such as yellow rattle and common spotted orchid.

How to visit: Whatley Manor is an eight-minute drive from Highgrove. The country pile has a superb spa, a Michelin-starred restaurant and gorgeous gardens of its own.



Tintinhull Garden, Somerset

Tintinhull Garden can be found behind a pretty stone house near Yeovil in Somerset and makes a wonderful spot to stroll around on a warm day. Sparkling ponds and water features, secluded lawns, brightly coloured borders and manicured hedges create the perfect place to relax and unwind away from the hustle and bustle.

Designed by Mrs Phyllis Reiss in the Arts and Crafts style, the garden is separated into seven garden ‘rooms’ by manicured yew hedges and stone walls, and you’ll discover different colours and scents in each.

How to visit: From country lodges to shepherd's huts and charming inns, there are places to stay in Yeovil, around 15 minutes from Tintinhull Garden.



RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate

One of the Royal Horticultural Society's northern flagships, Harlow Carr is an inspiring garden, showcasing the best of gardening innovation. There are sections devoted to different groups of plants, including a rose garden, a bulb garden and an arboretum, and plants blooming across a range of terrains, with woodlands, wildflower meadows, and rockeries.

You can combine a visit to the garden with time exploring lovely Harrogate, the upmarket spa town where Harlow Carr is located. Attractions in this historic town include the Mercer Art Gallery, the Royal Pump Room Museum and of course Betty's Tearoom, a Harrogate institution, serving delicious afternoon teas.

How to visit:
Country Living has a special trip to RHS Harlow Carr as part of our four-day tour of some of England's best gardens. On the trip you'll also visit Easton Walled Garden and hear from Arthur Parkinson.


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Plas Cadnant, Anglesey

If you're looking for a garden to truly surprise you, you should plan a trip to Plas Cadnant on the tranquil Isle of Anglesey - considered one of North Wales’ best kept secrets. This hidden garden is still in the process of being slowly uncovered and is often called the Welsh 'Lost Gardens of Heligan'.

So far, three different gardens have been discovered, including an unusual walled garden with curving walls and a pool, a secret valley garden with three waterfalls and a river, and an upper woodland garden with stone outcrops and the remains of a 19th-century folly.

How to visit: There is an abundance of accommodation options near Plas Cadnant and around Anglesey, including Haulfryn Cottage, Anglesey Arms Hotel and Chateau Rhianfa.



RHS Garden Bridgewater, Greater Manchester

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The Royal Horticultural Society's long-awaited fifth garden, RHS Garden Bridgewater, is one of the most impressive new heritage gardens, not just in the North of England, but in the whole of the UK.

Created over 154 acres on the former site of Worsley New Hall, an Elizabethan Mansion in Salford, Greater Manchester, it's the first ever RHS garden to be created in an urban area. Highlights include the Weston Walled Garden, one of the UK's largest Victorian walled gardens, alongside extensive landscaped grounds including orchards, woods, meadows and lakes as well as living plant collections and horticultural trials.

How to visit: Check in to Didsbury House Hotel in a trendy south Manchester suburb and you'll be a 20-minute drive from RHS Garden Bridgewater. The Victorian villa has original features and a cosy bar for drinks.



Ventnor Botanic Garden, Isle of Wight

Ventnor Botanic Garden is a real must-see for any budding botanist. With a magnificent collection of over 30,000 rare and sub-tropical plants, it’s a true gem of a garden and is open year-round.

This impressive botanical garden is home to plants which you won’t be able to see anywhere else in Britain. The wonderful selection of exotic plants thrive here due to Ventnor Undercliff’s unique microclimate. The average temperature in Ventnor is around five degrees warmer than the rest of the UK, meaning it feels more like the Mediterranean - which is nice for visitors, as well as the plants! The garden is also dog friendly, so you can bring your four-legged pals as you wander through 22 acres of lush tropical beauty.

How to visit: The Royal Hotel in Ventnor offers a great base to explore the botanic garden. The grand Victorian hotel serves afternoon tea on the terrace, refined dinners in the dining room and co*cktails in the bar.


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Mottisfont, Hampshire

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The gardens of this romantic 18th-century house boast carpets of spring bulbs, a beautiful walled rose garden, rich autumn leaves and a bright winter garden. Mottisfont is a feast for the senses all year round and the world-famous collection of old-fashioned roses flowers once a year in June, making this a great time to visit.

A fantastic place for families, you'll find plenty of space to run and jump around. The herbaceous borders in the walled garden showcase a huge variety of flowering plants, while the wide, grassy lawns, and the tree-lined river walk provide plenty of shade on sunny days.

How to visit: There's no shortage of welcoming country house hotels in Hampshire, but among our favourites is the stately Lainston House, a Georgian red-brick country pile dating back to the 17th century and only a 20-minute drive from lovely Mottisfont.



Temple Newsam, West Yorkshire

Just a short journey from the centre of Leeds, you'll be wowed by the explosions of colour, delicate scents to be found at the historic Temple Newsam. One of the highlights is the Rhododendron walk, which blooms in a pretty palette of fuchsia, purple, white and pink every May.

There are over 1,500 acres of beautiful woodland, parkland and gardens to explore here, landscaped by the famous 18th century gardener Capability Brown. You can have a picnic in the lakeside gardens, or take a stroll through the romantic Georgian walled garden. You’ll be able to see national plant collections, colourful herbaceous borders and stunning seasonal displays in the glasshouse.

How to visit: The Bells in Leeds is around an 18-minute drive from Temple Newsam and offers apartments with one or two bedrooms, huge living spaces and hot tubs in most rentals.



Mount Stewart, County Down

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This neo-classical is considered one of the most outstanding gardens in the world and is unique and of rare quality, being one of the few late compartmentalised Arts and Crafts-like gardens.

The creation of Edith, Lady Londonderry in the early 20th century, Mount Stewart is a deeply personal garden and the strong, artistic theme combined with an unrivalled plant collection forms one of the most spectacular places to visit in Northern Ireland.

How to visit: Explore Mount Stewart during a stay at the Culloden Estate & Spa, overlooking Belfast Lough, just a 25-minute drive from Mount Stewart. The hotel boasts period features, including antique furniture, paintings and chandeliers for stay that's both luxurious, homely and rural.


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Chatsworth Garden, Derbyshire

Well-loved for its beautiful water features and sculptures, as well as its pretty Victorian rock garden, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the sprawling 105-acre Chatsworth Garden. Home to the Dukes of Devonshire for many generations, Chatsworth Estate’s world-class gardens are steeped in history. The estate was purchased by Elizabeth and William Cavendish in 1549 and over the following generations the house and gardens have transformed into what you’ll see today.

The garden retains many of its original features, including the Canal Pond, the Cascade and the Duke's Greenhouse. There are plenty of activities for all the family to enjoy at Chatsworth too – perhaps take a walking tour in the gardens or join a drawing workshop.

How to visit: Check in to the charming Devonshire Arms at Pilsley and you'll be based just a five-minute drive from the Chatsworth Estate. It's dog-friendly, a great spot for walkers and it serves up hearty meals in the cosy bar and restaurant.



Wentworth Castle Gardens, South Yorkshire

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Once known as ‘the finest garden in England,’ today Wentworth Castle Gardens is South Yorkshire’s only Grade I registered landscape. The original gardens, designed by Thomas Wentworth in the early 18th Century, used geometric patterns.

One remaining example is the unusual Union Jack Gardens, which is laid out so that, viewed from above, it combines the crosses of St George and St Andrew to celebrate the Union of Scotland and England. During a visit, you'll want to check out the Victorian Flower Garden and look out for unusual and exotic plants housed in the conservatory.

How to visit: Check into a traditional stone cottage around 10 minutes away near the village of Wortley. This romantic holiday rental for two people is in a secluded and peaceful location, where you have just sheep and cows as your neighbours.



Great Dixter, East Sussex

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A historic, 15th century farmhouse, Great Dixter was transformed in the early 20th century by Edwin Lutyens into an impressive country house. The heavenly gardens here are the handiwork of renowned English gardener and author Christopher Lloyd, who moved into Great Dixter in 1954, creating a nursery specialising in rare and unique plants.

You can still see the results of Lloyd's passion for horticulture, garden design and experimentation at Great Dixter today. There is a huge collection of exotic plants and a recent experiment involved installing a summer tropical garden rich in bold shapes and brilliant colours.

How to visit: Join Country Living's garden tour of Kent and Sussex with Sarah Raven, which includes a visit Great Dixter along with several other delightful gardens.


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Scone Palace, Perthshire

Perched above the River Tay in Perthshire, this red sandstone palace's enviable location offers stunning views across the surrounding Highland landscapes. Scone Palace has been the seat of parliaments as well as the crowning place of the Kings of Scots, including both Macbeth and Robert the Bruce.

The gardens here are as splendid as the Palace itself, with highlights including a maze in the shape of a five-pointed star, a kitchen garden providing produce for the palace kitchens, and a Laburnum Walkway which dazzles with its distinctive yellow flowers. The Grampian Mountains make a dramatic backdrop for these historic gardens, and you can gaze on the city of Perth across the river.

How to visit: You'll find guest houses, hotels and apartments within one to three miles of Scone Palace, where you can have a peaceful mini-break in Perthshire and explore the historic house on a staycation.



Powis Castle, Powys

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Dating back 300 years, Powis Castle’s world-class gardens are steeped in history. You can wander the Italianate terraces blasted from the solid rock and marvel at the spectacular yew hedges, dancing statues and lavish herbaceous borders.

From the fabulous hilltop setting you can see the Mid Wales countryside for miles around as they change through the seasons. Marvel at the herbaceous borders' riot of colour, cool off with a shaded woodland walk and spend a lazy afternoon relaxing in the Fountain Garden.

How to visit: Just a 10-minute drive away from Powis Castle, Offa's Dyke View is a grade II listed holiday cottage that's perfect for a group of family or friends, plus one dog. While it's a lovely place to stay near Powis Castle, you'll want to get out and about by walking and cycling the breathtaking surroundings.



Easton Walled Garden

The site of Easton Walled Gardens is at least 400 years old, but was left derelict in 1951 when Easton Hall was demolished. The beautiful 16th-century garden with its Victorian flourishes has now undergone extensive renovations, with its current owner, Lady Cholmeley.

The house and gardens have been owned by the Cholmeley
family since 1561 and it's truly been restored to its former glory, converted into the colourful and lively garden you can enjoy today.
You'll see grand Italianate terraces and a yew tunnel, a cut flower garden, David Austin roses, meadows and sweet pea collections along with cottage and vegetable gardens.

How to visit: Visit Easton Walled garden on our very special tour of England's finest gardens. Not only will you meet Lady Cholmeley and hear her talk passionately about her restoration project, but you'll also hear from top gardening writer Arthur Parkinson who'll join you for lunch and a Q&A.


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Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire

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When Lord Fairhaven designed his garden at Anglesey Abbey, he wanted to create something that would inspire and surprise his guests. around personal taste and his regular routine of entertaining guests, with something to show them each and every season.

Today, the gardens still follow the same seasonal pattern, with different areas within the 114 acres coming into the spotlight for their time to shine, before making way for the next. The dazzling Dahlia Garden, striking Formal Garden and the pretty Wildflower Meadow are highlights of the stunning garden in Cambridgeshire.

How to visit: From country cottages to pubs with rooms and cute studios, there are a range of places to stay near Anglesey Abbey.



Arundel Castle, West Sussex

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If you're looking for a garden to truly surprise you, Arundel Castle is the place to visit. It's home to a variety of landscapes and environments, from the quirky Stumpery to the formal Collector Earl’s garden to the warmth of the Glasshouses.

Here, you'll be wowed by the explosions of colour, delicate scents and structural designs. Immerse yourself in the fragrance of the Rose Garden and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Fitzalan Chapel's White Garden.

How to visit: Discover Arundel Castle's epic garden while staying in another historic West Sussex castle by checking in at the 12th-century Amberley Castle, just a 12-minute drive from Arundel and with its own pretty 12-acre grounds to explore.


20 of our favourite gardens to visit in the UK (2024)
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