Our Favourite English Gardens
Immerse yourself in beautiful gardens known to horticulturists from around the world; enjoy private tours with owners and head gardeners and appreciate both the native flora and fauna and exotic imports. This trip is perfect for the green-fingered!
Itinerary at a glance:
- Begin your tour in London and appreciate the greenest city in Europe
- Explore the traditional Cotswolds
- Take in famous gardens in the South of England
When To Travel
Day 1: International Flight
Begin your journey with an international flight (most likely overnight) to London.
Day 2: Arrival to London
Welcome to England! Your private driver will be waiting for you in arrivals with a sign carrying your name.
Your journey to central London is approximately an hour, dependant on traffic conditions. On arrival at your hotel, relax and unpack, and you have the rest of the day to explore the city.
Day 3: Lindley Library
This morning, depart from your hotel with your driver-guide for the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library, which has a wonderful selection of books and references on gardening, photography and botanical art, as well the archives of the RHS, notable gardeners and designers.
After your tour, enjoy lunch in the surrounding area before your driver-guide transfers you to the Chelsea Physic Gardens. Tucked away beside the Thames, Chelsea Physic Garden is London's oldest botanic garden, linked with medicinal plants through its foundation by the worshipful Society of Apothecaries in 1673. This four-acre green oasis has one of the oldest rock gardens in Europe, a Victorian Cool Fernery, beds of medicinal plants, botanical order beds, glasshouses, rare plants and tender species, plus the largest outdoor olive tree in Britain.
Dinner at leisure and overnight at your hotel.
Day 4: Kew Gardens
Today, depart from your hotel with your driver for a guided tour of Kew Gardens.
The Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew sit between the picturesque towns of Richmond and Kew in Southwest London. It would be wrong to assume that Kew Gardens are just gardens - the team at Kew are responsible for the world's largest collection of living plants and the organisation employs over 650 scientists. The treetop walkway, the exotic rainforest in the Palm House and giant lilies in the Water Lily House are definitely not to be missed.
Enjoy lunch at Kew and afternoon at leisure before enjoying the best seats at a theatre performance in the West End.
Day 5: The Cotswolds
This morning your driver-guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel. Depart from London to the Cotswolds; a journey time is around two-and-a-half hours.
Arrive into Tetbury, a market town with a 17th century centre located in the South of the Cotswolds. The town has many independent shops and is a centre for antiquing. Enjoy lunch in the town before your tour of Highgrove, HRH Prince Charles' private gardens. Prince Charles took the advice of experienced gardeners such as Lady Salisbury and Miriam Rothschild to work with nature to make a garden which protects Britain's native flora & fauna. After your visit, enjoy a Champagne afternoon tea in the Orchard Room before heading to your hotel for check in and dinner.
Day 6: Hidcote Manor Gardens
Arrive at Hidcote Gardens - a famous Arts and Crafts garden - designed in 1905. Original owner Lawrence Johnston was a keen plantsman with a strong sense of artistic composition.
Lunch is in a nearby inn before you visit the picturesque Kiftsgate Court Gardens, which are located virtually next door to Hidcote. A woodland garden steps down the hillside to a half-moon swimming pool with beautiful views. Many features are typical of the Arts and Crafts period: herbaceous borders, a four square garden a bluebell garden and rockery.
Day 7: Stratford-upon-Avon
Depart your hotel for a full day visit to the picturesque market town of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Famous as the birthplace of playwright William Shakespeare, Stratford upon Avon is a town to meander around and explore for its rich blend of history and culture. There are plenty of Shakespeare landmarks to visit; our favourite is Anne Hathaway's Cottage, the home of Shakespeare's wife. Staying on the Shakespeare theme, watching a play at the newly renovated Royal Shakespeare Company is a must.
Day 8: Gravetye Manor
Check out of your hotel and drive south for your visit to the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens at Wisley in Surrey, first created in 1903. Now covering over 200-acres the garden covers all types of gardening from beautiful to practical to experimental. Lunch at leisure in Wisley Gardens.
Depart Wisley Garden with your driver-guide for a tour of Gravetye Manor gardens with the Head Gardener. This hugely influential garden was designed by botanist William Robinson in 1884, and his books on horticulture are extremely popular to this day. The current head gardener, Tom, has a passion for conservation as well as progressing Robinson's experimental gardening. After your tour, enjoy a drinks and canape reception at the hotel.
Day 9: Great Dixter Gardens
Depart your hotel this morning after breakfast for a private visit to Great Dixter Gardens, the family home of gardening writer Christopher Lloyd, who assisted with creating complimentary gardens including topiary, orchards and a wild flower meadow surrounding the Tudor built house. A must see for any horticulturists visiting England.
After your tour, continue to Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, where you can stop for lunch in the café before exploring the 16th century tower and one of the most celebrated gardens in England. A prime example of an Arts and Crafts style garden, the gardens are famous for their diversity and beauty. The original owners Harold Nicolson and his wife (and chief gardener) Vita Sackville-West were particularly fond of the fabled White Garden, filled with gladioli, irises and dahlias.
Day 10: Flight Home
You will be met at your hotel for the transfer to the airport for you return flight home.
Susie is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.