We’ve handpicked some of England’s finest parks and gardens where the view will simply take your breath away. From far reaching London views, sweeping ‘Capability’ Brown landscapes, to dramatic starry night skies.
"It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot" said Queen Victoria after her first visit to Osborne, the Isle of Wight retreat where she would come to relax with Prince Albert and her family. Explore this vast royal estate with Italianate style gardens, beach, and children’s play cottage. Stroll through the garden terraces and enjoy the magnificent views across the Solent waters; they reminded Prince Albert of the Bay of Naples.
Richmond Park is London’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest with over 2,500 acres of rolling hills, ancient woodlands, gardens and grasslands, home to herds of free roaming red and fallow deer. Explore London’s largest Royal Park on foot, bike, horseback, or even a power kite, and enjoy far reaching views to London and beyond. You can even see St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye on a clear day! Visit the Isabella Plantation, best known for its azaleas and one of the largest collections of rhododendrons and camellias, providing interest all year round. But don’t leave without stopping off at Pembroke Lodge, a magnificent listed Georgian mansion, situated at the highest point of Richmond Park, where afternoon tea is best enjoyed on the terrace. The views are spectacular.
Rievaulx Terrace, situated within the North York Moors National Park, is one of Yorkshire’s finest 18th century landscapes. With two temples and breathtaking views, it provides a picture-perfect spot for picnicking and promenading. Enjoy a stroll through the ancient woods and then on to the terrace where 13 vistas reveal stunning views of the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey and the surrounding Rye valley. Rievaulx Terrace is full of colour throughout the year, from pretty springtime flowers to the jewel-coloured leaves in autumn. Look carefully and you may even see the beautiful ‘early purple orchid’. Now, where to enjoy that picnic?
Kielder Water and Forest Park is one of the world’s largest Dark Sky Parks, home to the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe, and is the largest working forest in England (it’s over 250 square miles/648 square km). Enjoy a breathtaking view of the lake as you lunch at the Boat Inn Restaurant at Leaplish Waterside Park, or stay until dark and experience a night time view of the stars like you’ve never seen before from the Kielder Observatory; an astronomical attraction located in the park.
Croome is a magnificent 18th century ‘Capability’ Brown house and landscape with stunning sweeping views. This is ‘Capability’ Brown’s very first commission and is currently being restored to its former glory by the National Trust. For those with a head for heights, climb the scaffolding for a stunning view over the grounds and Worcestershire countryside. You can even enjoy a cup of tea and cake up high in the Sky Café (during the restoration – check website for details). Croome Court’s restoration encourages visitors to see the transformation from inside and out. This grand house will emerge in all its glory during 2016!
Holker Hall, home to the noble Cavendish family is set in 200 acres of natural parkland and boasts an immaculately kept 25-acre woodland and formal garden, all perfectly framed by the Lakeland hills. With stunning views at every turn this magical garden has something to delight even the most experienced garden visitor. Not to be missed are the magnificent blooms of rhododendrons (some are fragrant), one of Britain’s 50 ‘Great Trees’ – the huge 17th century Great Holker Lime (its girth measures 26ft/7.9m) and the Holker Labyrinth, a maze-like design. Also host to the Holker Garden Festival (end May) and Holker Chilli Fest (mid September).
Highfields Park, located just a short drive from the city of Nottingham, is a hidden gem known to locals for the beautiful view as you slowly drift across the lake on a rowing boat. This 121-acre park is home to magnificent trees, exotic plants and water features. There’s plenty to keep you entertained here including bowling, croquet and putting. And then find a perfect spot for a relaxing picnic.
For more on England’s gardens, try one of the Spectacular Shows
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