Best of Britain – Our Favourite Open Gardens in the UK
Our Magnificent Horticultural Heritage
The British are known for their enthusiasm for gardening, and these spectacular gardens take that to the next level.
Britain is known as the ‘green and pleasant land’ and there’s good reason for that! It’s a place full of fantastic scenery and you can tell that we’re a nation who take great pride in our love of the great outdoors. That’s further reflected in the fantastic array of gardens that are open to the public. In the latest blog in our Best of Britain series, we’re taking a look at the best open gardens in the UK – so that you can pick one or two to visit.
It’s known as the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, but Hever Castle is much more than that. It’s home to some incredible gardens. Dating from the early 1900’s, they are the result of the work of over a thousand men and a very grand vision. The English Rose Garden is home to a giant topiary chess set, and the Italian Garden is full of beautiful statues. There’s a stunning lake and two mazes to explore too. It’s recommended you allow at least a couple of hours to visit the gardens, but you could easily spend an entire afternoon here.
Mapperton House in Dorset is home to some of the UK’s most beautiful gardens. Set in a valley in the lush countryside, it represents at least three periods of history. The top level is home to a croquet lawn, with some features dating all the way to the 17th Century. A wonderful Italianate garden can be found on the second level, which was built in the 1920’s. The grottoes, statues and fountains are accentuated by an orangery that was built in the 1960’s. Seeing the different historical styles is really interesting, whether you’re a keen gardener or not.
Further north in Worcestershire is Witley Court and Gardens. Overlooked by a crumbling ruin (the castle was gutted by a fire in 1937), Witley Court is a incredibly romantic location. The flower beds are some of the best we’ve ever seen, and they’re set off by ornate pavilions and sprawling terraces. The East Parterre garden always has something to offer visitors too – the topiary is particularly stunning. The main attraction though is probably the Perseus and Andromeda fountain, which ‘fires’ every hour – much to the delight of kids and adults alike!
Belsay Hall Castle
Perhaps the most unique entry on our list, Belsay Hall Castle and Gardens is a sight to behold. Here you’ll find almost every type of garden – from manicured lawns and flowerbeds to beautiful heritage gardens full of seasonal shrubs and flowers. This constantly changing landscape means the gardens are a joy to visit at any time of year. The best part of any visit is undoubtedly the Quarry Garden, which is home to awe-inspiring towering rocky ravines filled with exotic plants. You’ll want to bring your camera along for this one.
A Great Place For A Day Out
So there you have it – our picks of the best open gardens in the land. On a warm summer’s day, there’s no better way to spend a few hours than by taking a stroll around any of these fantastic locations. So when you’re next looking for something to do during a weekend or the school holidays, give one of these a chance. You never know, you may feel a little green-fingered yourself after visiting!
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