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 forty 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 rose garden was replanted in the 1990s following Gertrude Jekyll's original scheme. You'll find a variety of colours and fragrances including hybrid musk roses. These were originally bred over 100 years ago by the Rev. Joseph Pemberton.

Volunteer gardener tending the roses in the garden at Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex

Bateman's, East Sussex 

Author Rudyard Kipling designed this formal rose garden in 1907. Recently restored, it is now planted with three varieties of Polyantha rose; ‘Frensham’, ‘Betty Prior’ and ‘Valentine Heart’. Their small blooms in shades of pink and red flower nearly all summer long.

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.

Lady Churchill's Pink Rose Garden at Chartwell

Chartwell, Kent 

These rose gardens were designed and planted by Lady Churchill with help from her head gardener. They’re still full of the soft pink and white blooms of floribunda and hybrid tea roses that she loved. The 32 varieties of yellow rose in the Golden Rose Walk were given to the Churchills as a wedding anniversary gift by their children.

The Rose Garden at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

Cliveden, Buckinghamshire 

The recently restored rose garden was created as a tranquil retreat for the Astor family. You’ll see why the design by Geoffrey Jellicoe, provided a great escape from the family's high society life. It contains around 800 roses in vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow.

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.

Rose arches at Nymans, West Sussex

Nymans, West Sussex 

Follow your nose to find Nymans' collection of old-fashioned roses. These were gathered by Maud Messel in the 1920s. The garden was redesigned in recent years, and is now filled with over 100 varieties of rose. The planting is complemented by the soft colours of herbaceous geraniums and nepeta.

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.

The Rose Garden in June at Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent 

The team at Sissinghurst are restoring the rose garden to how it would have looked during Vita Sackville West's time. This has involved planting 500 new rose bushes. Roses also feature in the White Garden, where you can see Rosa mulliganii cascade over the central arbour during the summer months.

Roses climbing the house at Smallhythe Place

Smallhythe, Kent 

Smallhythe was once the home of famous Victorian actress Ellen Terry, who adored roses. They flower here in abundance, scrambling over the walls of the house and filling the beds of the formal rose garden. Keep an eye out for the beautiful pale yellow blooms of the variety ‘Ellen Terry’.