From Jane Austen’s English cottage garden and the secret garden at Agatha Christie’s holiday hideaway to the unveiling of a new garden at the site of Shakespeare’s final home. 2016 is the year of the English garden, so join us for an inspirational journey. But do check websites as some have special opening times and unique events.
This must-see English cottage garden, located in the heart of Hampshire was home to one of England’s most loved writers, Jane Austen. Stroll around the intimate garden full of colour and scent from the beautiful flowers on show, you can even bring your own picnic to enjoy here. Cornflowers, poppies and marigolds share ground with roses, daisies and hollyhocks, all of which are used for cut flower displays in the museum. Step inside the ‘house museum’ and learn all about the life and works of Jane Austen. Don’t leave without a visit to the shop where you’ll find modern and rare editions of Jane Austen’s books.
Brantwood is a ‘paradise of art and nature’, home to the famous artist, John Ruskin for the last 28 years of his life. Explore this unique and beautiful mountainside garden, set in a 250-acre wooded estate with spectacular colour displays and breathtaking views of Coniston Water and the Lakeland mountains beyond.Take time to visit the house full of fine paintings and Ruskin’s personal treasures. You can even stay here at one of the self-catering properties, with a superb lake view.
This glorious landscaped garden set in 300 acres of parkland within the heart of Nottinghamshire was once home to the romantic poet, Lord Bryon. Stop off at the Japanese Garden where your senses will awaken with the look, feel, smell and sound of the east. See where Lord Byron found his inspiration as you continue to the romantic Rose Garden, Small Walled Garden and Spanish Garden. Visit the Abbey and step back in time as you admire Lord Byron’s desk, letters and manuscripts. You can even be transformed into a modern day Byron, with clothes found in the Dressing Up Room.
Home to kings and queens and the chosen few including William III, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Cardinal Wolsey and the 18th century Shakespeare of English garden design, ‘Capability’ Brown. Stroll around the beautiful formal gardens where you’ll see The Privy Garden, Tiltyard Walls, Rose Garden and The Great Fountain Garden. The park covers 750 acres of land, set by the River Thames. Take time to admire the largest grape vine in the world, thought to be planted in 1768 by ‘Capability’ Brown and still producing a crop of sweet grapes today (you can buy them from the shop in early September). Visit the newly restored Kitchen Garden, where produce was grown to serve the royal household. But don’t get lost in possibly the most famous maze in the world!
An extraordinary Victorian house and garden, Cragside was once home to the inventor, Lord Armstrong and the very first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. Explore this incredible garden, where you’ll see one of the largest rock gardens in Europe and the oldest iron bridge of its type in England. There’s more than 40 miles of footpaths and lakeside walks to keep you refreshed and you may even spot a red squirrel on your way. Don’t leave without seeing Nelly’s Labyrinth, a series of paths and tunnels cut out of the rhododendron forest.
Step back in time and visit one of England’s most well-preserved stately homes and gardens, home to powerful figures dating back 900 years, located on the Suffolk and Norfolk border. Somerleyton has history, romance and grandeur, set in a stunning 5,000-acre English estate. Enter the walled garden with ornate iron and glass greenhouses, designed by Joseph Paxton, the architect of Crystal Palace and don’t miss the dramatic 70 foot (21 metres) high pergola, with its trailing wisteria, roses, clematis and vines. Find your way through the Somerleyton maze, planted in 1846; it’s 800 yards (732 metres) from the centre and then recover with a Suffolk real ale in the Duke’s Head, the Somerleyton estate’s pub.
This 17th century house set in tranquil gardens surrounded by the wooded landscape of the Sussex Weald provided a sanctuary to the world-famous poet, Rudyard Kipling. Kipling said of his gardens at Bateman’s ‘they made him feel like he was at last an English country gentleman’. And when he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907, he spent all the money on the garden and a small boat for his children! Here you’ll find perfect lawns, yew hedges, meadows of wild flowers and a small river. Read a poem sitting by the river or if you’re feeling energetic, enjoy a walk in the 300 acres of countryside surrounding the house that influenced works such as Puck of Pook's Hill, Rewards and Fairies and many of his poems.
For more on England’s gardens, go to Spring Gardens
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