Our most bee-friendly gardens

Bumble bees, honey bees and wild ‘solitary’ bees love visiting meadows and wildflowers this time of year and the sound of buzzing is a sure sign that spring is on the way.

Bumblebee at Lundy Island, Devon

The importance of bees in the gardens we look after

Bees are one of our most important pollinators, and we rely on their hard work for much of what we eat. They pollinate the flowers that produce our fruit, nuts and seeds, and help to spread colour through our landscape. Bees are vital in keeping up the health of our ecosystem, so we need to give them the biggest chance possible to thrive. Check out our most bee-friendly gardens and find out how you can make a promise to help bees and butterflies in your own garden.

A short stroll will lead you to Attingham's Walled Garden and Orchard

Attingham Park, Shropshire 

Attingham's walled garden and orchard were probably built at the same time as the mansion in the 1780s for the first Lord Berwick. This productive area provided the Berwicks with a constant supply of fruit, flowers, vegetables and honey. It's still home to the Attingham bees who can safely be seen hard at work in the observation hive. If you have time, pop into the kitchen garden to see the Grade II listed Georgian bee house.

Two people walking along a floral border

Beningbrough, Yorkshire 

Beningbrough’s flower gardens are home to several varieties of bee, including red-tailed and buff-tailed bumble bees. If you take a wander past the bee hive by the south border, there’s a good chance that you’ll see the busy residents hard at work among the flowers.

Two bees on a sunflower

Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire 

Bees, butterflies and other insects thrive on Canon Ashby's plants that were popular during the Victorian era, especially the amaranthus foxtail, antirrhinum and verbena bonariensis. Throughout the gardens and grounds there are different types of bumble bee, as well as masonry, mining and cuckoo bees. How many species can you spot?

A child taking a close look at the spring blossom

Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire 

Stroll around the orchards at Clumber and spot the bee hives hidden among the trees and blossom. The orchards boast over 58 varieties of local apples, some of which you can taste in our restaurant.

Backlit trees and bluebells in the garden at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Dunham Massey, Cheshire 

A team of dedicated volunteer beekeepers take care of the honeybees at Dunham Massey. Come and take a look at the vibrant garden that attracts these little — and vital — pollinators.

 Gardens in spring at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk

Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk 

The ornamental gardens at Felbrigg Hall attract bees from all around. There's a wide variation from roses to some more unusual plants like the pink Colvile butterfly bush, perfect for pollinators to busy themselves with.

Bee hives in a meadow

Gibside, Tyne and Wear 

The bees at Gibside are particularly useful in the walled garden, where they help to pollinate the vegetable plants and the herbaceous border.

Picture of a honey bee collecting pollen from a flower

Ham House, London 

Ham’s huge lawns have recently been refreshed by the garden team, who have planted around 500,000 spring bulbs. The early purple crocus, romantic pastel-coloured tulips and vivid muscari will create a vast display of intense, natural drifts of colour – the perfect buzzing habitat for bees and other insects.

Bee on a flower in the garden

Hare Hill, Cheshire 

The tranquil walled garden at Hare Hill is often full of buzzing bees. Recently restored, the garden is planted with predominately white flowers, including unusual varieties of iris, poppy, echinacea, lupin and phlox. The bees definitely have a favourite plant though: the white catmint.

Bee on flower

Hughenden, Buckinghamshire 

If you’re investigating the spring flowers in the garden, you may spot some of our foraging bees. If you look closely you can sometimes see the colour of the pollen they carry and work out which plants they have visited. As the new beekeeping year begins, why not come along to one of our ‘Meet the Beekeeper’ events where you can see the model hives close up.

The garden terrace at Killerton in the summer

Killerton, Devon 

Honey bees are vital to the health of the orchards and garden at Killerton, and their efforts to pollinate flowers probably help your garden grow too. Killerton’s bees also produce delicious honey which is available in the estate shop – and any profit goes straight back into conservation work on the orchards.

A beekeeper checks the beehives in the orchard

Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk 

On a walk around Oxburgh’s formal grounds, you might spot some wooden carvings showing the animals, birds and insects that make their home here. One of the carvings shows a honey bee – representing the hives we have in the orchard.

Honey bee feeding on a dahlia flower

Peckover, Cambridgeshire 

Peckover is another of our places that is helping to support the UK’s bees. There’s even a special border in the garden that our team has filled with bee-friendly plants, so that we can help these handy insects thrive.

 View along the Fuchsia Arch in the Walled Garden at Penrhyn Castle and Garden, Gwynedd, North Wales

Penrhyn Castle and Garden, Wales 

The range of flowers in Penrhyn castle from snowdrops to the beautiful fuchshia arch is a real treat for bees. The gardens at Penrhyn were designed over a century ago to flower throughout the year which is great for pollinators. Come and see the gardens and listen to the sounds of some happy buzzing bees.

Rowallane Garden, Northern Ireland 

Rowallane Garden's bees both pollinate the garden and produce delicious honey, which you can buy from the shop.

Alliums in a herbaceous border

Speke Hall, Merseyside 

The kitchen garden continues to be maintained each season in partnership with ‘The Come Alive Group’. The beehives are kept here - we use the honey in recipes in Home Farm Restaurant and are hoping to sell it in the shop next year, so you can enjoy it at home.

Bee visiting geranium in the garden at Wordsworth House, Cumbria

Wordsworth House and Garden, Cumbria 

Wordsworth House’s walled heritage garden in Cockermouth has been specially designed to offer these vital insects a year-round haven. The gardeners here grow pollen-rich, old-fashioned varieties that would have been recognised in the Georgian period. This very rich habitat means there is an unusually high number of bee varieties.

What you can do to help the bees

The homes that bees love are under threat. Check out a couple of easy ways you can help the bees by making them feel at home again.

Want to make a difference for bees and butterflies? Make your promise for nature