7 ways to enjoy a virtual British garden experience

If you’re wanting to relax, de-stress and soak up some of nature’s peaceful energy, why not take a virtual tour of a tranquil garden in Britain? This year the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2020 will be celebrated digitally, and there are some stunning green havens in Britain that you can discover from the comfort of your own home.

RHS Chelsea

Detail view of planting in a mixed border, with red, blue and purple flowerheads of varying shapes. Photographed at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show showing a detail of the planting in The Laurent-Perrier Garden designed by Luciano Giubbilei.

Poised to inspire garden lovers in this unprecedented time, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will be hosted entirely online in 2020. This remarkable online flower show will include an array of free virtual gardening events, family-friendly activities, exclusive tours and educational talks running from 19 to 23 May, with the televised finale of The Best of RHS Chelsea Flower Show scheduled for 31 May on BBC One.

The online celebration will come into bloom with ‘school gardening clubs’, a set of daily activities for families wanting to get creative in the garden, while more in-depth techniques can be learnt through ‘potting bench’ demonstrations. There will also be interactive Q&A sessions with RHS advisers and special guests, as well as exclusive tours of leading gardening experts’ personal garden, although their details are yet to be revealed. Those who would have showcased their fantastic floral displays at RHS Chelsea will also give you a behind-the-scenes peek into their nurseries or replicate the arrangements which would have appeared in the Great Pavilion.

The scale of this online RHS show is likely never to be repeated, so don’t miss this stellar opportunity to add a sprinkling of British horticulture and gardening skills to your spring.

Other virtual gardens to discover

As well as the blooming fun happenings at RHS Chelsea this year, there’s also a fascinating collection of breathtaking British gardens to discover from the comfort of home. These include a virtual look at Kew Gardens, several stunning stately homes’ outdoor spaces and an immersive bluebell experience. 

Kew from above

The Temperate House at Kew Gardens. Credit: RBG Kew/ Gareth Gardner

Take a few minutes to enjoy the stunning scenes from one of Britain’s most famous horticultural hotspots with this virtual tour of Kew Gardens. Giving you a bird’s-eye-view of Kew’s iconic glasshouse, pagoda and tranquil outdoor spaces, this tour offers a virtual slice of Kew’s tranquillity and grandeur.

Birdsong and bluebells

For relaxing birdsong and uplifting floral scenes, immerse yourself in a trip through some of Britain’s beautiful bluebell woods. Many of these sites are maintained by the National Trust and this video is perfect for relaxing or meditating to the sounds of nature in Britain, one of the Trust’s main aims. Classic places that showcase blooming springtime bluebells include The Vyne in Hampshire, Sheffield Park and Garden in East Sussex and Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire.

Lily pads and poppies

Want to discover your own secret garden? Enjoy a virtual mosey around 360 ° imagery of Gloucestershire’s Hidcote Manor Gardens, one of the best know Arts and Crafts gardens in Britain.  With scenes that range from the poppy-filled red borders to the climbing plants in the plant house and a pond complete with delicate lily pads, there’s plenty to explore on this virtual tour.

Victorian extravagance

Side view of the drive and front of Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, England.

Built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild for the sole purpose of hosting extravagant parties, Waddeson Manor and gardens in Buckinghamshire has a history of marvelling visitors that dates back to the 1880s. If you want to step into Rothschild’s world, the grand manor house, tropical bird aviary and blissful gardens can now be explored online, while a tour of the grand house’s interior can also be enjoyed.

Gardens fit for a Prince

Experience a taste of royal life on a tour of Highgrove Gardens - the grounds of Prince Charles’ private residence - with this online guide. Offering a chance to see the majestic mosaic water feature, blossoming wisteria and the stumpery, the tour reveals a virtual world of horticultural elegance.

Daffodil Heaven

Nestled in the Welsh Marshes, Gorsty House has a charming two-acre garden that comes to life each spring, blooming with a bright carpet of yellow daffodils. The National Garden Scheme has created a virtual tour and video interview with the garden owner, to give daffodil fans the chance to stroll through this tranquil space and learn more about their growth.

Being the national flower of Wales, there are also plenty of additional places to see these charming flowers each spring, with many being kept by the National Trust.

23 Mar 2021(last updated)

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