Famous gardens to visit
We look after the greatest collection of historic gardens and garden plants under single ownership in Europe, if not the world. They encompass more than 500 years of history and the vast range of fascinating garden styles and fashions through the centuries. With so many gardens in our care, it's hard to pick out favourites, so instead we've chosen our most famous and significant gardens for you to enjoy.
Perhaps the most beautiful and magical of all of the great landscape gardens, Stourhead presents an English 18th-century view of Arcadian paradise, with hills, water and classical architecture overlaid by a fabulous collection of trees and shrubs. Described as ‘a living work of art’ when first opened in the 1740s.
Meandering paths offer vistas through trees to classical temples and surprises at every turn. Stourhead is breathtaking in any season but on sunny spring and autumn days, the flowering spring shrubs and the flaming autumnal colours of the trees reflected in the magnificent lake are breathtaking.
One of the great 20th-century gardens, created by the 1st Lord Fairhaven from the 1920s onwards. There are avenues of trees, endless lawns and wildflower meadows, wonderful flower gardens and one of the best collections of statuary. Flowers are planted en masse for impact. A hyacinth garden, packed with perfume and colour in spring, followed by the scent from a thousand hybrid tea roses in the rose garden in summer and the vibrant colours of the dahlia garden as summer turns to autumn. Not to be missed is the winter garden, the biggest and most inspirational in the country.
Probably the most famous Rose Garden in England, the walled garden in June is full of beautiful, old-fashioned roses and the perfect place to spend a heavenly-scented, early summer’s afternoon. But the garden is lovely throughout the year with its extensive pleasure grounds, formal lawns, fine trees, riverside walks and winter garden.
The nucleus of the collection belonged to Graham Stuart Thomas, who designed the rose garden here in the early 1970s and there are now over 500 varieties. The wonderful herbaceous borders that complement them are also his design.
One of the outstanding 20th-century gardens. The house was partially destroyed by fire in 1947 and the ruins add to the romance.
The famous collection of magnolias is a highlight in spring. The core of the beautiful Rose Garden is centered on Maud Messel’s treasured collection of old-fashioned roses brought to Nymans in the 1920s. The long double borders, with thousands of annuals, are a piece of lavish horticultural theatre in summer. Combined with perennials to create steeply tiered borders and produce a kaleidoscope of colours on a grand scale.
Take a world tour at one of the most remarkable and memorable gardens in Britain. Created from the 1840s by Victorian plant hunter James Bateman and his wife Maria, follow paths, steps and tunnels on a global journey from an Egyptian Court to a Chinese landscape based on the Willow pattern and a Himalayan Glen.
Integral to the garden are the rare and exotic plants and an extraordinary collection of eclectic garden buildings and sculpture. This Grade 1 listed garden is one of the most exciting survivals of the great age of Victorian gardening.
One of Britain’s greatest gardens with stunning views across Snowdonia. Begun in 1875, Bodnant’s fabulous plant collections have their origins in a century of plant hunting. Grand Italianate terraces with rose gardens, lily pools and herbaceous beds, lead to informal shrub borders, filled with plants from around the world, then down into the dramatic Dell, with towering conifers and cascading water.
The famous 55m long laburnum arch is a shimmering tunnel of golden blooms in late spring and there’s always something to see from rhododendrons in spring to the inspiring new Winter Garden.
One of the most remarkable and idiosyncratic gardens with mythical creatures, symbolism and rare and exotic plants flourishing in a sub-tropical climate. The garden reflects the character and planting flair of Edith, Lady Londonderry, who began transforming the site in the early 1920s.
Distinctly different garden areas range from the colourful borders and statuary in the Italian Garden, the Sunk Garden with its stone pergola hung with vines and roses and the Shamrock Garden’s topiary Irish Harp. The Dodo Terrace contains cement statues of living, extinct and mythical creatures and commemorates the high society members of Lady Londonderry’s ‘Ark Club’, set up in 1915.
Alongside Sissinghurst, Hidcote is considered the most influential 20th-century garden in Britain. This beautiful Arts & Crafts masterpiece was created from 1907 onwards by the talented American horticulturist, Lawrence Johnston.
Designed as a series of outdoor rooms, separated by walls and hedges, each is different in character and scale. From the formal White Garden with its topiary doves to the vast Theatre Lawn, shady Stream Garden, colourful Fuchsia Garden and tranquil Bathing Pool Garden, there is something new and exciting at every turn
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 into one of the most famous gardens in the world.
Designed as a series of garden ‘rooms’, each filled with different planting schemes, they include the ancient nuttery, carpeted with woodland plants in spring, the Purple Border, the Herb Garden, the Lime Walk and the bold and bright Cottage Garden with its palette of hot colours and the White Garden, that’s inspired countless imitations.
This wonderful 18th-century water garden justly deserves its status as a World Heritage Site. Studley is the least-altered Georgian landscape garden in England. Its elegant ornamental lakes, avenues, temples, cascades and canals offer a succession of unforgettable vistas in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.
The landscape incorporates the spectacular ruins of 12th-century Fountains Abbey, which rises up with its huge tower virtually intact. St Mary’s Church, William Burgess’s Gothic Revival masterpiece, provides another dramatic focal point from the garden.