Summer gardens to visit
Take a stroll around some of Britain’s most beautiful gardens this summer and be inspired for your own little patch of heaven
Kincardine Castle Gardens, Aberdeenshire
Has a walled garden, a sensational laburnum walk (right), a wilderness garden, extensive lawns and wild flower meadows. There is also a thought-provoking Planetary Garden and a free treasure trail for children to enjoy – and all this in 3,000 acres of country estate with stunning views of Kincardine’s fine Victorian castle and across Royal Deeside.
Helmsley Walled Garden, North Yorkshire
Dating back to 1759, this garden nestles between Duncombe Park and Helmsley Castle and features extensive flower borders, greenhouses and fruit trees. This registered charity also aims to conserve old, rare and endangered garden plants including a collection of Yorkshire apples and Victorian vines. After admiring the garden, take tea in the Vinehouse vegetarian cafe, which uses seasonal home-grown produce.
Tatton Park, Cheshire
One of England’s most complete historic estates, Tatton Park is home to 50 acres of landscaped gardens, a rare-breed farm and 1,000 acres of deer park plus a Tudor hall and a neo-classical mansion. The gardens are renowned for their remarkable glasshouses, the Japanese garden – considered the finest in Europe – and the extensive kitchen gardens. And from 25-28 July, it hosts the RHS Flower Show.
The Trentham Estate, Staffordshire
Alan Titchmarsh labeled Trentham “one of the UK’s must-see gardens” and it includes show gardens, woodland walks and nature trails. There’s a children’s adventure play area – including the UK’s first Barefoot Walk – exhilarating high rope adventure with Aerial Extreme and the unique Monkey Forest, home to 140 endangered Barbary macaques. Plus Trentham Shopping Village with shops, cafes and restaurants – and fairies at the bottom of the garden with the Fairy Sculpture Trail!
Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire
The gardens and parkland were designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the 18th century and offer sweeping vistas down to the spires of Stamford and the Elizabethan house. The parkland is open all year round and free while tickets are available for the two gardens, including the Tudor-inspired Garden of Surprises with its 32 water features and the Sculpture Garden. You can also buy tickets to include Burghley House as well as the gardens and with these you get a free children’s guidebook. For refreshments you can choose between the Garden Cafe and the Orangery Restaurant.
Sissinghurst Castle, Kent
Writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson began transforming the land here in the 1930s, and now in the summer the White Garden and Rose Garden are particularly stunning along with a cottage garden, herb garden, lime walk and orchard. This National Trust property also offers the chance to explore the castle’s architecture and history, not to mention the views from the top of the tower. And there is a different fun family estate trail every school holiday.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London
Opening this month after a £292m construction programme to transform the former Olympic Park into one of the UK’s newest and largest parks. As well as the rich horticultural palette of the gardens, the North Park will play host to a variety of events this summer, including concerts by Kasabian and Mumford & Sons, festivals and carnivals, athletics and cycling events.
Lower, Middle and Upper Gardens, Bournemouth
You get three in one here and they’re all perfect examples of Victorian elegance. The Lower Gardens are next to the sea and you can take a beautiful walk from here through the gardens for 1.5 miles, taking in the many trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials from around the world. The Lower Gardens are renowned for its floral bedding displays throughout the year and it’s here you’ll also find a magnificent rockery garden first created in the 1930s and which contains a wide variety of tropical plants.
Trebah Gardens, Cornwall
A sub-tropical paradise with a stunning coastal backdrop and during summer the Gunnera Passage is a must-see. There are also a number of the country’s largest trees here, including an acer, magnolia and palm, plus the Water Garden featuring Arum and Ginger lilies, a bamboo maze, two acres of hydrangeas and a sheltered beach to while away an hour or two. There are also play areas, children’s trails and special events all year round.
Gregynog Hall, Tregynon, mid-Wales
The spectacular Grade 1 listed formal gardens here form part of a 750-acre estate that has recently become a national nature reserve. A magnificent clipped yew hedge and herbaceous borders create a spectacular backdrop to the hall. There are beech woodlands and water gardens to see, a bee apiary and a stone hand protruding from the earth! If you fancy a stroll, there is a network of colour-coded wooded walks of varying lengths that weave around the estate plus a bird watching hide deep in the wood.