Get to know some of Britain’s most magnificent gardens so you can spend the summer among blooming roses, tranquil woodland, and even a hedge-maze or two.
Take in the drama and natural beauty of Painswick Rococo Garden, Gloucestershire, south-west England
The Exeda Garden of the Rococo Gardens. Image credited to Joab Woodger-Smith
Designed in the 1740s as an opulent pleasure garden, the Painswick Rococo Garden was created in an era when outdoor spaces were built into theatrical sets for decadent garden parties. See it’s stunning vegetable garden framed with views of the surrounding countryside, fanciful garden buildings, lofty trees, leafy woodland walks and a maze to top it all off. There's even a cosy cafe with homemade cakes.
Getting there: the Painswick Rococo Garden is under an hour by car from Bristol.
Discover the rugged mining past of Colby Woodland Garden's, Narberth, Wales
Colby Woodland Garden is today a haven of tranquillity, but these beautiful gardens have a surprising past. They once played an active part in Pembrokeshire's coal industry during the late 1700s! Discover the two sides of this interesting estate, where exploring a natural playground is teamed with uncovering Pembrokeshire's rich history. Stop by at the walled garden, or delve into the eight-acre woodland garden, and discover its wildflower meadow, meandering streams, ponds flourishing with life and towering Japanese Redwood trees.
Getting there: Colby Woodland Garden is a 90-minute drive from Cardiff.
Admire one of the finest rose gardens in the world, Mottisfont Hampshire, southern England
Starting life in the 13th century as a priory, Mottisfont's heritage spans more than 800 years. Since its sacred beginnings, the estate's land has always been shaped and cultivated, but it wasn't until its Georgian landowners that the garden became the expanse of pleasure grounds, riverside walks and fine trees that it is today.
Getting there: Mottisfont is a 2-hour drive from London.
Explore the home of Earl Grey tea, Howick Hall Northumberland, north-east England
Daffodils growing in front of Howick Hall in Alnwick, Northumberland, north-England. Image credited to VisitEngland, VisitNorthumberland.
Famously known as 'the home of Earl Grey', it's not just finely blended tea that makes Howick Hall so appealing. Starting its calendar with a snowdrop festival, it hosts events throughout the year from February until November. Stop by in spring and see the spectacular drifts of daffodils, or come when the season starts to warm up and explore the woodland garden, which is particularly lovely with its rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias.
Getting there: Howick Hall is a 5 and half-hour journey from London by public transport or is a 75-minute flight to Newcastle Airport followed by a 50-minute drive.
Take a stroll around Achamore Gardens on the gorgeous Isle of Gigha, west Scotland
Take the short ferry journey from Scotland's west coast to the Isle of Gigha, and you'll find Achamore House and Gardens. Having numerous owners across the years the house certainly has a story or two to tell. The garden, however, is where the real adventure lies, and has been called the island's ‘crowning jewel.' Surrounded by the beauty of Gigha - complete with white sandy beaches and coastal scenery - the garden is set in mature woodland and is full of hidden corners to explore. It culminates in a two-acre walled garden bursting with flourishing plants - all thanks to the island's Gulf Steam-influenced climate. The garden is open year-round.
Getting there: the Isle of Gigha is less than 5 hours by car and ferry from Edinburgh, which is a 70-minute flight from London.
Be immersed in Scottish-Italian Renaissance design in the grounds of Drummond Castle, Scotland
Drummond Castle Gardens from the top of the terracing, Perthshire, Scotland. Image credited to VisitScotland and Kenny Lam
The 15th-century Drummond Castle is surrounded by the largest formal gardens in Scotland and boasts a spectacular mile-long avenue in the approach to the estate, where more than 600 beech trees tower above the narrow road. Laid from 1828 to 1838, the Scottish-Italian Renaissance style garden includes ancient yew hedges and copper beech trees planted to commemorate a visit by Queen Victoria.
Getting there: Drummond Castle is a 90-minute drive from Edinburgh, which is a 70-minute flight from London.