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Best English Gardens to Visit


For many keen gardeners, a visit to an English garden is one of the highlights of any trip to the UK. Here, gardening traditions go back to the botanist explorers, botanical collectors, landscape artists and horticulturalists of the 18th and 19th centuries. Today interest in these gardens crosses all age and social boundaries. Luckily, there are loads of beautiful gardens to visit in England and most of them offer something to see at any time of year.

1. Hidcote Manor Garden

Gardens at Hidcote Manor
Courtesy of britainonview.com
Hidcote Manor is an Arts & Crafts masterpiece hidden down a series of twisting country lanes in the Cotswolds. It was designed and developed by Maj. Lawrence Johnston, a wealthy, well educated and eccentric American who became a naturalised British subject and fought with the British Army in the Boer and First World Wars. Johnston sponsored and participated in plant hunting expeditions around the world to secure rare and exotic species for this extremely pretty garden.

2. RHS Garden Wisley

RHS Garden Wisley
britainonview.com/Martin Brent
The Royal Horticultural Society's Wisley Garden is where British gardeners go to be inspired. Its world famous collection of plants has been developing for more than 100 years and there is always something new to see, any time of year.

Spread out over 240 acres in Woking, Surrey, about an hour's drive from Central London, Wisley is open every day of the year and full of practical garden design ideas and cultivation techniques. Visitors interested in the latest and the best in gardenening shouldn't miss it.

3. Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Sissinghurst Gardens
Sissinghurst Castle Garden is the most visited garden in England and one of the most romantic. Created by 1920s writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband Sir Harold Nicolson, it is divided into intimate garden "rooms" that offer different garden experiences all year round. The White Garden is world famous. Plan your visit in the afternoon when it is quieter. What you will see is a series of enclosed spaces or garden rooms each styled and planted in a different way but all giving an overwhelming impression of abundance and romanticism. Rare plants mingle with traditional English cottage garden flowers. With its hidden corners and long visitors, this garden offers sensual surprises at every turn.

4. Stowe Landscape Gardens

Stowe Landscape Garden, Buckinghamshire
Stowe Landscape Gardens covers is huge and important. In fact, with its 750 acres and 40 listed historic monuments and temples, it is one of the most significant English landscape gardens. The greatest names in English landscape architecture and garden design created it in the 18th century. Begun in the 1710s by garden designer Charles Bridgeman, architect John Vanbrugh and garden designers William Kent and James Gibbs participated in shaping it. Between 1741 and 1751, the famous Lancelot "Capability" Brown, was head gardener. Stow was a visitor attraction almost from its inception in the mid 18th century. It even inspired a poem by Alexander Pope.

5. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden

Fountains Abbey
courtesy of britainonview.com
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden together make up one of North Yorkshire's most rewarding visitor attractions. The Abbey, a nearly 900-year-old Cistercian monastery is not only Britain's largest monastic ruin, it is also Yorkshire's only UNESCO World Heritage site. What makes the adjoining Studley Royal Water Garden more remarkable is that it was the life's work of one man, John Aislabie. Aislabie was expelled from Parliament. Afterward, he spent his last 21 years creating the water garden.. His son later bought the monastery and joined it to the garden as a picturesque "folly".

6. Nymans Garden

Nymans Garden in West Sussex
courtesy of britainonview.com
Celebrity gardeners and theatrical tastes mark Nymans Garden in West Sussex, a place known for its rare plants and unusual touches. It was one of the first English gardens to be left to the National Trust in the 1950s and was created and sustained by three generations of the Messel family, including the famous theatrical designer and rival to Cecil Beaton,Oliver Messel. The design sensibility and talents displayed in this colorful garden, seem to run in the family. Messel's nephew is photographer Lord Snowdon, once the Queen's brother-in-law, and his grand nephew is furniture designer Viscount Linley, Princess Margaret's son.

7. Trelissick Garden, Cornwall

Trelissick Garden in Feock, Cornwall
courtesy of britainonview.com
At this unusual National Trust managed garden in Feock, Cornwall, tender subtropical plants thrive in sheltered glades, cedars and cypress trees tower over immaculate lawns. If you thought hydrangea was an undistinguished, everyday garden standby, think again. Trelissick cultivates some of its rarest varieties. Located at the head of the Fal Estuary, the tiered garden takes full advantage of stunning views of Falmouth Harbor and the wide waterway known as the Carrick Road.

After a visit to the garden, stop to admire the work of Cornwall artists and craftspeople at Trelissick's galleries, or take the guided tour of the Copeland China Collection, the private collection of Trelissick House's owners who are associated with Spode China.

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