Famous gardens to visit
We look after one of the greatest collections of historic gardens and cultivated plants in the world - encompassing more than 400 years of history. With so many gardens and parks in our care, it's hard to pick a favourite, so instead we've picked out our most famous gardens for your viewing pleasure. Why not plan a visit?
A walk round Biddulph involves passing through gardens inspired by China, Egypt and a Scottish glen. Other pleasures include a rhododendron garden and, since 2001, an ice-house.
One of the world's most spectacular gardens, Bodnant is situated above the River Conwy with stunning views across Snowdonia. Begun in 1875, Bodnant features huge Italianate terraces and formal lawns on its upper level, with wooded valley, stream and wild garden below. Though full of colour all year round, in mid-May and early June the 55m long laburnum arch is a shimmering vision of golden blooms that's not to be missed.
Hidcote Manor is a hill-top Arts & Crafts garden created from 1907 onwards by Lawrence Johnston, a superb plantsman and horticulturist. Hidcote is the archetype of a garden with room-like enclosures. Each 'room' has a unique character and colour scheme. They are separated by walls and different species of hedges, from which topiary springs. Many rare shrubs and trees, outstanding herbaceous borders, old roses and unusual plant varieties can be savoured at Hidcote, some of which were developed here.
Sissinghurst is the magical creation of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, who moved here in 1930 and transformed the ruins of an Elizabethan mansion and its surroundings.
The garden was divided into a series of compartments and each 'room' filled with an inspired and informal arrangement of plants around a theme: the White Garden, the Purple Border, the Rose Garden, the Herb Garden, the Lime Walk and the Cottage Garden. The White Garden, with its Rosa mulliganii, erupts into a cascade of white flowers in summer, and has inspired countless imitations.
The magnificent landscape garden of Stourhead was created from 1741-80 and presents an English 18th-century view of an Arcadian paradise. Stourhead's 'natural' landscape surrounds a large artificial lake. Classical temples overlook and reflect in the water.
The cool and shady lakeside grotto is inhabited by a nymph and a river god. Visitors are dazzled by daffodils and magnolias in spring and a stunning display of rhododendrons in early summer. Blazing autumn colour is provided by an extensive tree collection, which includes maples, tulip trees and redwood.
This superb 18th-century landscaped water garden justly deserves its status as a World Heritage Site. Studley is the least-altered Georgian 'green' garden in England. Its elegant ornamental lakes, avenues, temples and cascades provide a succession of unforgettable vistas in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.
The landscape incorporates the spectacular remains of 12th-century Fountains Abbey, the Elizabethan Fountains Hall and a medieval deer park, where William Burgess's 19th-century St Mary's Church provides a dramatic focal point.