Time to discover the secret gardens of England. From formal walled gardens to open parkland, the flora and fauna of these historic houses and conservation projects will delight and inspire you with your next green-fingered project. Various private tours are available at each location, and afterwards you can sit back and relax in a tearoom, overlooking beautiful vistas. This peaceful self-drive itinerary is all about stunning landscapes and taking the time to simply stop and smell the roses.
Arrive in Bath
Start your botanic journey in the gorgeous Georgian city of Bath, and follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen by promenading through Sydney Gardens to the picturesque Kennet and Avon Canal.
In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of Bath. On Mondays, visit Number One Royal Crescent, an authentic Georgian house museum.
This morning, discover a hidden, romantic Cotswold gem: a private tour of Cerney House Gardens. Look into the working kitchen garden that supplied the family and friends of the Angus family, and walk through the wildflower bank or the woodlands. Organically cultivated, the plants tumble over each other and fill the air with perfume.
In the afternoon, enjoy an introductory talk with Hidcote’s gardener before exploring the Arts and Craft Garden.
Today, travel to Iford Manor, home to the Cartwright-Hignett family. Sitting in a 900-acre estate, the award-winning Grade 1 registered Iford Manor Gardens are a peaceful environment, offering stunning views across the valley. Committed to conservation and improving biodiversity, there is a wealth of flora and fauna to discover. The Gardens are a key location on the big screen movie The Secret Garden.
Following the drive down south, stretch your legs on a private tour of the finest house in Cornwall – Lanhydrock. The 900-acres of parkland and woodland showcase incredible panoramic views, with the inside of the property full of the contrasts that were so typical of the Victorian times.
Next, continue onto Trelissick for your second private tour of the day. Walk along the meandering paths through the garden, leading to exotic plants and herbaceous borders bursting with colour. Set in its own peninsula, it offers unique sweeping vistas across the Fal estuary.
Time for some romance and legend, as you are in Cornwall, after all. Visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan for a private tour. Heligan is one of the most mysterious estates in England – lost to the brambles of time since the outbreak of WW1, this sleeping beauty was re-awakened in 1990 to become Europe’s largest garden restoration project. Today, Heligan’s 200 acres are a mythical paradise for the explorer and romanticist alike.
Following the recent garden visits, your head will be buzzing with innovative ideas for your next project. To continue the creative theme, drive on to Tate St. Ives for a private tour of the museum to discover the very best and latest in art.
Cornwall – Devon
Begin your journey back up the coast for a private tour of Ugbrooke House and Gardens. Enjoy traditional Devon cream tea in the Orangery tearoom, overlooking the formal lavender parterre enjoying the scent of the lavender hedges and David Austin roses. Inside the courtyard you’ll discover how wisteria climbs the ancient walls, above a clipped hornbeam hedge and espalier pears. You could spend hours upon hours exploring the elegant gardens, and you can if you’d like, for the day is yours at your leisure.
It’s time for the final leg of your journey as your drive back up towards Bath, en route home, but already planning your next adventure.
Gardens of Southern England
- Best Time to go - June - September
- Holiday Length - 7 nights
- Price Guide - from £2199 per person
- Holiday Type - Tailor-made