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The Best Gardens to Visit in the UK

best gardens in the uk - mottisfont

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend trip, or you want some inspiration for your own property, taking a little time out to go and visit some beautiful gardens could be just what you need.

In the UK we’re fortunate enough to have plenty of options when it comes to gardens to visit, but just which ones are worth your time? Here’s our list of the top UK gardens to visit!

1. Tremenheere (Penzance, Cornwall)

Tremenheere Gardens, Cornwall

Tremenheere is one of the few subtropical gardens in the UK, thanks to Cornwall’s unusually sunny, warm weather. You’ll find 22 acres of rare subtropical plants and trees, including a mind-blowing palm tree display.

Whilst you’re there, you might also want to check out American artist James Turrell’s ‘Sky Space,’ an installation that lets you watch clouds float by in complete silence. The perfect relaxing weekend jaunt.

2. Mottisfont Abbey (Romsey, Hampshire)

best gardens in the uk - mottisfont

For the culture hounds, Mottisfont is the perfect choice. The converted medieval priory houses an art gallery, and the stunning riverside gardens are breath-taking.

Watch out for the Walled Garden, which is home to the National Collection of old-fashioned roses (and is best visited in June when the roses are actually blooming).

3. Chelsea Physic Garden (London)

Chelsea Physic Garden, London

If you’re looking for something a little different from London’s traditional garden offerings, then check out the Chelsea Physic Garden. Situated in a micro-climate by the side of the Thames this beautiful walled garden is the oldest botanical garden in the city.

It was opened in 1673 and was originally intended so that apprentice doctors could study medicinal plants. Nowadays they offer a rare glimpse of some of the most important plants in medical history.

4. The Alnwick Garden (Northumberland)

The Alnwick Garden, Northumberland

There’s something for everyone at Alnwick, making it the perfect choice for a family day out. The gardens themselves were designed by Wirtz and show a little bit of everything.

From wide lawns to rose gardens, from ornamental gardens to water features, there’s plenty to see here. Alnwick also features one of the largest tree houses in the world (now a restaurant), as well as vegetable gardens, and bee hives with honey making classes.

5. RHS Garden Wilsey (Woking, Surrey)

RHS Garden Wilsey, Woking

Real gardening connoisseurs will love this world renowned garden in Surrey. With the best examples in the UK of mixed flower borders, stunning woodland, and a famous glass house, this is a must-see for those that love gardening.

The glass house itself features palms and exotic plants, as well as a collection of rare plants and a vast variety of orchids.

6. Arley Hall and Gardens (Cheshire)

Arley Hall and Gardens Cheshire

Arley Hall and Gardens is another fantastic choice for garden lovers and families with young children. The gardens themselves are huge and world famous, featuring the largest double herbaceous border in the country.

There’s also a beautiful informal grove, littered with sculptures designed by local artists. And kids will love the adventure playground and secret play den (and can even build their own den if they prefer).

7. The Beth Chatto Gardens (Colchester, Essex)

The Beth Chatto Gardens

Back in the 1960s, the Beth Chatto Gardens were merely an overgrown wasteland. Nowadays, the area has been completely transformed into a set of five different garden plots.

The idea is that each of the plots has different growing conditions, meaning that Beth Chatto is an excellent place to get inspiration for your own garden, no matter what the conditions are.

8. Wrest Park (Silsoe, Bedfordshire)

Wrest Park Gardens, Silsoe

Wrest Park is also an excellent place to see the incredible variety of gardens the UK’s climate can support, but on a much grander scale than Beth Chatto Gardens.

Wrest Park shows 300 years of garden design history, featuring English, Italian, French, and Dutch gardening styles. There’s also woodland, garden architecture, statues, an archaeological collection, and of course, a playground for children too.

9. Blenheim Palace (Oxfordshire)

Blenheim Palace Gardens

We couldn’t make a list of UK gardens without including those of Blenheim Palace. 2000 acres of gardens and parkland designed by Capability Brown, these gardens are rumoured to be the most beautiful in the country. The Palace and gardens themselves are a UNESCO world heritage site.

You’ll find formal gardens, woodland, rose gardens, plenty of water features, and even pleasure gardens for the little ones. There’s a maze, and a butterfly garden too. The only problem will be finding enough time to see everything…

10. Chatsworth (Derbyshire)

Chatsworth House Gardens

And another famous garden, also designed by Capability Brown. The gardens at Chatsworth are a little smaller and more approachable than those at Blenheim, but also absolutely stunning.

Chatsworth is best known for its rock gardens and glass houses, as well as a massive 200 foot fountain. You’ll also find a maze, adventure playground, and even a farmyard for the little ones.

11. Mount Stewart (County Down, Northern Ireland)

Mount Stewart Gardens in Country Down, Northern Ireland

Mount Stewart is one of the more unique gardens on our list due to its Mediterranean design. See Spanish and Italian inspired traditional garden design, as well as a newly restored walled garden and some of the oldest grape vines in the UK.

There are plenty of planned kids activities too, and the Mount Stewart House has recently been opened to the public for tours as well.

12. Bodnant Garden (Conwy, Wales)

bodnant gardens

And finally, Bodnant Garden is a little more wild than formally designed, making it a great trip for those that are looking for more of a wilderness feel. The garden is famous across the world for its botanical collection, and features plants and trees grown from cuttings found on plant hunting expeditions that have taken place over the last hundred years.

There are plenty of activities and things to see and do, and Bodnant is one of the few gardens that’s open year round, so you can enjoy a winter stroll as well as a more traditional summer visit.

Map

No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find the perfect garden for your trip on our list. Whether you want wilderness or formality, whether you’ve got little ones or this is a grown up trip, these are our favourite must-see gardens across the UK.

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