14 fragrant rose gardens

Roses are as evocative of a British summer as strawberries and cream. It’s easy to see why the rose remains the nation’s favourite flower - for beauty and scent it’s hard to beat. We work hard to preserve and maintain the rose gardens in our care. Here are a few of our favourites.

Couple smelling the roses in the Rose Garden

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge 

You can't miss the heady scent coming from this quintessentially English rose garden. There are 40 beds in the garden, each planted with a different variety of rose. With over 1000 bushes in total you'll experience a riot of scent and colour.

Red roses on the stable wall at Barrington Court

Barrington Court, Somerset 

Barrington Court’s main rose garden was replanted in the 1990s following Gertrude Jekyll's original scheme, and this winter the plants were replaced once again. There are still plenty of roses to see in other parts of the garden during May and June though, while the new planting becomes established.

The lower rose terrace at Bodnant Garden, Conwy

Bodnant Garden, Conwy 

Walk along Bodnant’s terrace in mid-summer and you’ll find yourself surrounded by over 1,500 rose blooms. Enjoy sweeping views of the Carneddau mountains while you take in the soft colour and fragrance of the flowers.

The rose garden at Clumber Park

Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire 

Clumber’s rose garden includes over 40 varieties, all introduced before the 1920s. Most have a beautiful scent, which is trapped by the walls of the kitchen garden so you can really breathe it in as you walk into the garden. The borders are planted in red, white and blue which are the colours of the Newcastle family. The roses are combined with bulbs, annuals and herbaceous perennials to provide interest from spring to autumn.

A bench among the roses in the rose garden at Compton Castle

Compton Castle, Devon 

The rose garden is in full bloom at this time of year, with a huge variety of show-stopping roses such as Parkdirektor Riggers. A walk through an archway in the castle wall leads to a set of steps up to the garden, where roses climb over arbours, bloom in the borders, and fill the air with beautiful fragrance,

The rose garden at Dunham Massey

Dunham Massey, Cheshire 

The rose garden at Dunham Massey is full of colour and scent in June as over a thousand roses start to bloom. There are 300 different varieties, including Rosa Stamford’s Sanctuary, named after Dunham’s role as a First World War hospital. Most are repeat-flowering so produce a continuous display over the summer months thanks to the work of the gardeners and volunteers who spend over 75 hours each week looking after them.

Dark red rose climbing on the Cromwellian building

Greys Court, Oxfordshire 

June at Greys Court is all about the roses. See them climbing up the stonework of the mansion and winding around the bandstand, or take a walk in the walled garden to see one of the oldest varieties of roses, Rosamundi, blushing with showy pink blooms. You can even trace the history of roses here, from early damask varieties through to the modern hybrid perennials.

Ornamental white and pink roses at Hardwick hall

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire 

Roses were the favourite flower of Lady Evelyn, the wife of the 9th Duke of Devonshire. She introduced a collection of shrub roses into the borders of Hardwick's East Court during the 1950s. You can still see how her influence continues in the gardens today.

View towards fountain and bench in the rose garden in June at Mottisfont, Hampshire. Rosa 'Adélaïde d'Orléans' on the arches

Mottisfont, Hampshire 

The rose garden at Mottisfont was created by our first gardens adviser, Graham Stuart Thomas. It is home to over 500 rose varieties and was originally built to house Thomas' collection of old-fashioned roses. Visit during the summer months to enjoy the delicate blooms and beautiful fragrance.

The walled garden at Mount Stewart

Mount Stewart, County Down 

At the top of Mount Stewart’s lake walk, you’ll find a path leading you to what was once the rose garden, dairy and vinery. We're currently restoring the historic garden, which will eventually house an extensive collection of the best-scented period roses. Although it’s a work in progress, the team have already planted some roses; the first step in bringing this fabulous garden back to life.

Visitors exploring the rose garden at Nostell Priory

Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire 

The rose garden at Nostell has a long history, as the Winn family used to breed roses to sell to the public. Today the garden is still filled with beautiful roses, including the red National Trust rose, fragrant Cloud rose and the pale pink Prima Ballerina rose. Don’t miss the 100-metre stretch of white flowering iceberg roses, which were planted by Nostell’s Garden and Park Manager Paul Dibb and his wife, when they were both apprentice gardeners in the 1980s.

The rose arch in the Graham Thomas Borders at Peckover House and Garden

Peckover, Cambridgeshire 

Peckover is home to over 60 types of rose. Most are the fragranced old English varieties beloved by the Victorians and Edwardians. Alexa’s Rose Garden is named after the Hon. Alexandrina Peckover, who gave us the house and grounds in 1943.

A view along the Rose Garden on a summer's evening looking towards the Well Head

Polesden Lacey, Surrey 

The traditional English rose garden is the star of Polesden Lacey. It was created by famous society hostess, Mrs Greville. In summer the pergolas are covered in pink and white rambling roses. These are set off by colourful clematis and banks of fragrant lavender.

Pink roses in front of a circular window at Seaton Delaval

Seaton Delaval, Northumberland 

This rose garden contains several varieties chosen for their beautiful foliage and fragrant scent. In summer they provide eye-catching colour, from the dark pink flowers of Gertrude Jekyll to the coppery orange and yellow of Just Joey. The rose garden was created by Lady Hastings during the 1950s and 1960s.