Explore real secret gardens

If you love the fantastical film adaptation of The Secret Garden, a Sky Original, in cinemas and on Sky Cinema 23 October, you and your loved ones can have a spellbinding experience of your own discovering gardens hidden inside gardens to play in. Seek out a bear's hut, stumble upon a little Wendy house and be one of the first to walk amongst flowers that have been shut away for decades. Here are some of our hidden gems for you to explore and enjoy.

We’re still working hard to keep our gardens looking their best. But with fewer staff and volunteers to help out, things may look a little different on your visit. Please bear with us as we adjust to these challenging times.

Which places are open?

  • More than 100 gardens and parks are open in England and Northern Ireland. To avoid disappointment please book in advance, especially at busier times such as weekends, school holidays and bank holidays 
  • Many historic houses are open in England. If you book a ticket for an open garden or park, you may also be able to visit the house. Visits to the houses are limited to ensure safe, social distancing and so we can't guarantee you’ll be able to view the house on the day you visit 
  • We’ve opened many of our cafés and shops at these places to help make your visit feel as close to normal as possible 
  • Hundreds of coast and countryside car parks are open in England and Northern Ireland and most don’t need to be booked 

What's closed?  

  • In line with Welsh Government legislation and the 'fire break' lockdown, all our places in Wales will temporarily close from Saturday 24 October to Monday 9 November  
  • Following the latest official guidance, all National Trust houses in Northern Ireland are now closed. All cafés in Northern Ireland are now takeaway only  

Before visiting, please always check local and national government guidance on travelling. You can check the property webpage in case of local restrictions. We're following government advice closely and will reopen more places as soon as we can. 

Have your own secret garden experience
Bishops Gate Garden is hidden away

Bishop’s Gate Gardens, Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry  

Created in the 18th century for the ‘Earl Bishop’ Frederick Hervey, Downhill’s ‘secret garden’ has only recently been unearthed. The semi-woodland glade is a perfect hideaway for curious explorers – its mini walled garden feels like a new world.

Children climbing on the big plane tree in the garden at Blickling Estate, Norfolk

Blickling Estate, Norfolk 

You're going to have to look hard to find the secret garden amongst Blickling's 55 acres. We'll give you some clues though - it's in the wilderness area and is surrounded on three sides by a beech hedge. You'll know you've found the right spot when you see the little summer house.

The Bunty House, a children's playroom, in the garden at Castle Drogo, Devon

Castle Drogo, Devon 

Can you wend your way to the Wendy house (also called the Bunty House) that’s hidden in the gardens here? Once you've found it and its own miniature garden, follow the winding green paths into the Teign Valley and explore the ancient gorge.

The walled garden at Croft Castle, Herefordshire

Croft Castle, Herefordshire 

Be enchanted by the special walled garden and working vineyard at Croft Castle. Follow the sweeping border and look out for bees at work in the gardens where you’ll find accessible paths and dogs welcome too. In the walled garden you'll also find the 1914 'J.Weeks and Co' glasshouse and vegetable, fruit and salad borders.

Boy looking through the window of the Bear Hut at Killerton, Devon

Killerton, Devon 

These gardens are full of hidden features. There’s a secret rock garden, a bear's hut that once contained a real bear cub and an old ice house. Discover secret paths that lead to historic ruins, clamber over fallen veteran trees and test your den building skills in a secluded den building site called Park Wood.

Children playing at Mottistone Gardens, Isle of Wight

Mottistone, Isle of Wight 

Mottistone Gardens has a feeling of intimacy from the moment you wander through its old stone archway. Winding paths take you to ‘Oak Corner’ at the top of the garden, and a weeping lime tree with branches that droop to the ground and pruned archways so that kids can walk right inside. It’s the hiding place for one of Mottistone’s flowerpot characters too – there are nine for children to find.

Detail of the Fountain at Nymans, West Sussex

Nymans, West Sussex 

With its walled gardens, hidden statues and romantic flowers, Nymans is just how you would imagine a secret garden. Especially in autumn, when mist obscures and reveals the stone arches and ruins of the house. Kids love to search for Nymans’ giant redwood tree, play hide and seek in the topiary, and test their balancing skills on the wooden stepping stones. Have your own secret garden adventure when you visit.

The Banana Garden at Overbeck's, Salcombe, Devon

Overbeck’s, Devon 

The secret garden here has a parterre that looks a bit like a maze. You can view this from above because the secret garden is built on terraces. The whole garden at Overbeck’s is full of twists, turns and unexpected views - why not explore with our garden photo trail?

View of the autumnal gardens at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent

Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent 

Sissinghurst is a garden of secrets, with hidden spaces and clever design that dares you to explore further. Around every corner is something new. Garden rooms open onto one another through gaps in hedges and doorways in old stone walls. See if you can discover fountains, statues, urns and ponds hidden amongst the plants and trees. Out on the estate there are woods and fields to explore with places to build a den and a flooded meadow to spot migrating birds.

Stowe landscape statues in the garden

Stowe, Buckinghamshire 

The Lamport Garden had been untouched for almost 200 years, until it was reopened in 2013. It’s more like an overgrown woodland or a wilderness, with huge gnarled trees, mossy areas, cascades and rock pools. You enter the garden through an old wooden door in a wall and you could easily imagine you’ve walked into a fairy tale.

Have your very own secret garden experience at Wallington

Wallington, Northumberland 

The walled garden is hidden at the edge of the woods, behind Neptune’s Gate. This unexpected gem often surprises visitors. Surrounded by a high wall, it's a very unusual size and shape for a walled garden. You can't see it all in one go, and it seems to unfold as you walk through it.