Embark on a blossom-filled adventure in Britain to mark the 2020 reboot of the classic 1990s film, The Secret Garden, starring British actors Colin Firth and Julie Walters. Due for release in cinemas this spring, just when Britain’s flora will bloom into life, if you’re a fan of the film or the original 1911 novel, you can find your own secret garden on a blooming marvellous four-day garden tour of the UK…
Known as the ‘Garden of England’, Kent is the ideal place to start a green and glorious tour of Britain’s gardens. From London, jump on a train to the tranquil county and discover a world of green spaces fit for a queen… or in this case, the Queen Mother! Explore the exquisite Walmer Castle and Gardens, a charming historic house with fantastic outside spaces including an impressive kitchen garden, a dramatic yew-lined Broadwalk and the perfectly pruned Queen Mother’s Garden. Gifted to Her Royal Highness in 1997 to celebrate her 95th birthday, a long pool guides the eye along the horticultural haven, allowing you to soak up the air of tranquillity once enjoyed by the Queen Mother herself.
Just over an hour’s drive from Kent, you can explore another hotspot for British horticulture in the lush county of Surrey. Head to RHS Garden Wisley for a chance to wander around one of the largest plant collections in the world, alongside a canal-side wisteria walk, picturesque cottage garden, traditional glasshouse and stunning orchard.
Those wanting to spend extra time soaking up the flora and fauna of Surrey can visit The Savill Garden. This expansive collection of seasonally designed outdoor delights and stunning woodland are full of rare plants and colourful blooms, making it a must-see if you’re a horticulturalist searching for that picture-perfect picnic spot.
Fans of The Secret Garden will relish the chance to explore one of the movies main filming locations - the stunning gardens on the Iford Manor Estate, located just over 90 minutes’ drive from Surrey. Nestled within the sweeping Cotswolds countryside, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you can easily lose yourself while strolling through the Grade I listed outdoor oasis, and marvelling at the romantic Italianate garden, sculptures and terraces.
Lovers of horticulture can also visit the quaint and historic Avebury Manor and Gardens. Dating back to the 16th century, this Grade I listed manor house’s formal gardens are separated into ‘rooms’, including a spectacular rose garden and orchard.
If you‘re keen to soak up additional Secret Garden experiences, you can extend your trip by jumping on a train to the north of England. With travel taking approximately four and a half hours to York, this leg of our great British horticultural tour will take you to another key filming location, Helmsley Walled Garden.
Built in 1759 and nestled in the heart of Yorkshire, the original setting for Frances Hodgson Burnett’s enchanting novel, this five-acre garden sits below the beautiful ruins of Helmsley Castle. Here, you can enjoy the traditional glasshouses, embark in a spot of mindfulness in the Garden of Contemplation or explore the edible flower garden. The products from the garden can also be enjoyed in The Vinehouse Café, along with other delicious fruit and vegetables cultivated onsite.
If visiting in summer, flower lovers can also discover a host of horticultural highlights, such as pop-up gardens, flower markets, blossom-centric installations, workshops and trails around York at Bloom! Festival, which bursts into life from 20-28 June 2020.