It’s almost time to start wiggling those green fingers – that’s right, #NationalGardeningWeek is on its way! Across the 10th to the 16th of April, the celebration is in full bloom, bringing the joy of gardens into the public eye. Spend your days swanning through majestic gardens, enjoying a spot of high tea on the lawn and admiring the horticultural efforts – before going home to dream up all the ways in which you can spice up your own garden plots.
If you’re wondering how (and where!) to spend #NationalGardeningWeek, we have the top 5 of our personal favourite UK public gardens to get you suitably in the mood!
This garden was created in the 1840s by Victorian plant hunter James Bateman and his wife Maria. Follow tunnels, pathways and steps to meander your way through Egyptian courts, Chinese landscapes and Himalayan-styled woodland. Expect rare and exotic plants and interesting, unexpected sculptures. It’s a showcase of Victorian gardening at its finest and only a short bus ride from Stoke.
Hidcote is widely recognised as one of the most influential 20th century gardens in the whole of Britain, and you need only go to see why. The area was designed and created from 1907 by talented American horticulturist, Lawrence Johnston and has more than stood the test of time. Separated by walls and hedges, each garden has a totally unique personality and individual vibe. They vary in scale and character, making each journey a surprise to the visitor. From exceptional topiary to beautiful bridges, a colourful fuchsia garden and bathing pool, there’s something here for everyone.
Effervescing with the charm of eras long gone by, these gardens surround their country manor house like a colourful safety blanket of in-bloom roses, garden foxgloves, pineapple flowers and tobacco plants. On the edge of the Lake District National Park, the gardens are privy to Lakeland views of rolling hills and far off waters. With an ornamental garden, rose walks and apple trees – you’ll be hard pressed to find a more romantic northern garden. Check out the secret wood full of Himalayan blue poppies and visit the Medieval Hall for a well-earned cup of tea.
The wildflower meadow, the range of beautiful bird life and the sprawling floors of bluebells make Coton Manor gardens seem as if they’ve leaped right from the page of a storybook. In between Northampton and Rugby, this 16th century manor is located in a tiny village and comes alive with every new season. In Spring, try the five-acre bluebell walk, and in Summer, check out the fruit trees and bloom of the new roses. Enjoy the hill-views beyond and water garden in this not-so-average garden before settling down at the tearoom to make a real day of it.
A famous garden, Stourhead has over 2,500 acres of estate full of wildlife and spectacularly designed gardens. It’s an 18th-century view of paradise that still holds up today. Stourhead was described as ‘a living work of art’ when first opened in the 1740s and is a surprise at every turn. Most recognisably you’ll find the beautiful lake, Palladian Bridge and restored Pantheon on the hill. And it’s a gem in any season – with winter decorating the trees and scrub in snow and autumn bringing out the flaming autumnal colours of the leaves reflected in the lake below. In spring and summer, Stourhead blossoms with fresh pinks and pastel shades and is perfect for an afternoon stroll in the sun.
Surrounded by stunning views of the Cotswold Hills, the award-winning gardens have been recently redesigned and restored to complement the decadent elegance of their castle. Sudeley’s ethic is to manage the gardens with year-round focus in a way which benefits the insects and wildlife of the area, with their current emphasis on encouraging the bee population. For fairytale beauty, you’ll want to check out the Knot Garden. For a great day out, visit one of exhibitions, and if you’re bringing the kids along try out the play area & pheasantry. Plus Sudeley Castle & Gardens are also an exclusive wedding venue, so if you’re looking to get hitched, these could be the romantic gardens of your dreams!