17 March 2021 marks 20 years since the Eden Project’s futuristic biomes came to Cornwall, inviting you to experience a haven of exotic climates in the heart of south-west England. But this isn’t the only horticultural highlight fit for your travel list. From vast green spaces to carefully manicured lawns and colourful flowerbeds, you’ll find an array of beautiful blooms in gardens across Britain. Here we explore the fabulous flora in Britain’s most magnificent locations, taking in historic landscape gardens full of fairy-tale follies, soothing Georgian water gardens and much more…
Prepare yourself for Georgian elegance at its finest. The water gardens of Studley Royal are full of tranquil water features, neo-classical statues and sweeping landscaped lawns that tie everything together. You’ll find follies tucked away within the thick foliage and feel as though you’ve been transported to a magical place, full of mysterious structures. Set in the serene Yorkshire countryside, there’s a medieval deer park here too, and if you keep exploring, you’ll discover the ruins of the 12th-century Fountain’s Abbey at the bottom of the valley, a World Heritage Site housing the largest monastic ruins in Britain.
The natural beauty of the National Botanic Garden of Wales is home to an array of spectacular plant life. From Wales’ rarest tree to the enormous dome of the Great Glasshouse and a range of themed gardens, particularly the spectacular Ghost Forest, there’s always something new to see. The gardens are also home to the British Bird of Prey Centre, with flying displays and experiences, as well as a tropical Butterfly House.
London’s Kew Gardens was established back in 1759, and today it’s a World Heritage Site. From its grand Victorian glasshouses to its dazzling array of trees, plants and flowers from all over the world, it’s a real feast for the senses. With exhibitions all about different plants and their uses in medicine, plus a collection of 44 listed buildings housing trees and plants of all colours and kinds, Kew Gardens is as fascinating as it is beautiful, and the Japanese Garden, arboretum and treetop walkway are just a few of the highlights.
Set to offer a summer programme showcasing plant biodiversity, the Secret World of Plants will include six large-scale installations representing landscapes from across the UK. It will also feature an innovative Tree Listening Project, with domes that reveal the inner-sounds from four mature oaks. There will be a creative seating installation helping you to immerse yourself in the garden’s tranquillity and fragrance, alongside a cutting-edge exhibition highlighting the brightest colours ever created, at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. If you’re hoping to experience Kew Gardens from 1 May – 19 September 2021, you’ll be able to enjoy the Secret World of Plants as part of your general admission.
One of garden designer Capability Brown’s greatest works, Stowe Landscape Garden has a magical air to it. Full of water features, beautifully landscaped curves and long avenues, it’s brought to life by a collection of grand follies. Temples and monuments rise up out of wooded areas, or stand in isolation in grassy spaces, giving the garden an enchanting, mysterious atmosphere. In fact, they’re meant to tell a story about man’s path through life, showcasing a journey through life’s indulgencies. If you’re an eagle-eyed fan of hit show Bridgerton, you can look forward to discovering the romantic Temple of Venus, which featured in the period drama.
If you feel like planning a trip to exotic climes, Cornwall has the answer. Waterfalls and gigantic plants fill the Eden Project’s tropical jungle, which grows beneath huge geodesic domes among the rolling Cornish hills. Olive groves and lemon trees rise up in the Mediterranean biome, while the outdoor gardens house gorgeous native blooms. Explore four of the world’s rainforest environments in the Rainforest Biome, which is home to more than 1,000 varieties of tropical plants. The Canopy Walkway provides an inimitable chance to discover more about the unique diversity of the rainforests as it weaves among the treetops.
In addition to celebrating its 20th birthday, this monumental project’s dedication to biodiversity is set to expand to Lancashire’s coastal town of Morecambe, with Eden Project North due to open in 2024. Further afield there are also plans to open Eden sites in China, including Qingdao, which will be a largely aqueous site, and Yan’an, which aims to highlight the importance of soil, in addition to New Zealand and Australia.
Lastly, we discover 40 acres of gorgeous gardens in the grounds of one of Scotland’s most magnificent castles. Drumlanrig Castle Gardens bring together woodland walks, a grand Victorian glasshouse and formal gardens which date back to the 17th century. Kingfishers, red squirrels, and great spotted woodpeckers are regularly seen among the Woodland Garden and the striking rhododendron collection.
Restrictions on travel to and around Britain are in place due to Covid-19. You are encouraged to always check individual websites for the latest information, as details are subject to change.