Need help? Find out more about our Covid Cover, how to update your policy online & the latest travel updates in our Covid Help Centre

The UK’s Most Stunning Gardens to Visit

Posted on May 9, 2019 by Lucy Hancock
hampton court palace grounds in summer time

From 21 to 25 May, the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show will again be demonstrating all things horticultural.

Whether you’re a gardening guru or merely an interested browser, you’re sure to find a show-stopping range of exhibits to feast your eyes on at the flower show.

If that’s got you in the mood to discover the UK’s most stunning gardens to visit, here are a few you just can’t miss:

  • Hampton Court Palace, Richmond upon Thames

Including 60 acres of formal gardens and 750 acres of parkland, the stunning Hampton Court Palace is a must-see.

Every year, around 250,000 tulip bulbs are planted in the gardens to create a colourful display of the flowers associated with spring time.

Hampton Court Palace is also the holder of three National Plant Collections: Heliotropium, Lantana and Queen Mary II’s Exoticks.

Open daily. For more information, visit Hampton Court Palace’s website.

Wooded gardens

  • Evenley Wood Garden, Northamptonshire

The 30-year old Evenley Wood is made up of magnificent woodland, sensationally shrouded in snowdrops and blue scillas. With magnolia, cherry and camellia trees, this garden is one not to be missed.

Open until 29 October, 11am-4pm

  • Knightshayes, Devon

Lord and Lady Heathcoat-Amory laid out this beautifully manicured woodland garden in the early 1940s. It offers delicate woodland flowers, particularly Erythronium ‘Knightshayes Pink’, which contrast beautifully with Knightshayes’ garden’s more hardy ferns.

Open daily, 10am-5pm

  • Pashley Manor, East Sussex

This traditional English manor house and garden are the perfect setting for the fountains, ponds, sculptures and prize tulips you’ll find here.

In late April/early May, Pashley Manor’s spectacular Tulip Festival sees the garden carpeted with over 30,000 tulips and Bloms bulb specialists are on hand to share their knowledge of these Chelsea gold medal winning bulbs.

Throughout the year, you’ll find the works of many eminent and local sculptors are dotted about the gardens.

Open daily 1 April-30 September, 10am-5pm

Rhododendrons and camellias in bloom

These strikingly bright blooms are the envy of most gardeners who don’t always have the right type of soil to grow them successfully.

  • Cragside, Northumberland

The perfect place to explore a wonderland of purple, pink and red rhododendrons. Wander along the footpaths of Cragside’s beautiful Victorian gardens, containing one of the biggest rockeries ever built, plus a magnificent rhododendron maze to lose yourself in.

Keep your eyes peeled and you might spy one of the rare red squirrels that roam the gardens.

Open Tuesday to Sunday until 30 October, 10am-6pm.

  • Exbury Gardens, Hampshire

Sitting on the edge of the New Forest, Exbury Gardens are world-famous for their Rothschild collection of azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, along with its various rare shrubs and trees.

May brings a riot of colour as you explore its pathways running through the garden’s 200 acres.

The gardens also feature a steam train, which runs short trips through the gardens and is sure to delight all the family.

Open daily until 6 November, 10am-6pm

  • Caerhays Estate, Cornwall

Caerhays Castle and its 10-acre garden provide a natural coastal haven overflowing with unique flowers. Caerhays produced the very first x williamsii camellias and is home to the Plant Heritage National Collection of over 600 species of magnolias from around the world.
These world-class gardens also contain Chinese rarities introduced by eminent specialists Ernest Wilson and George Forrest.

Open daily until 19 June, 10am-5pm

Kitchen gardens

  • West Dean, West Sussex

Tucked in the foothills of the South Downs, West Dean Gardens are some of the greatest restored gardens in the country.

Walk around and you will find a good range of historic features in addition to unusual trees and a carefully restored walled garden. Inspired and created by kitchen gardeners Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain, the garden is all the more interesting in spring when the vegetables are ripening and the apple blossom is in full bloom.

Open daily until 31 October, 10.30am-5pm

  • Helmingham Hall, Suffolk

The spectacular Grade 1 Listed Gardens at Helmingham Hall are owned by the Tollemache family who’ve lived on the estate over the past 500 years. Avenues of pear and apple trees span the vegetable plots to create a hugely stylish garden which is surrounded by an ancient deer park. The blossom is out in May and glorious spring bulbs line the pathways.

Open until 18 September (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and bank holiday Mondays), 12-5pm

  • Tatton Park, Cheshire

Tatton Park’s walled garden was recently renovated and echoes the grandeur of an Edwardian kitchen garden. An array of bluebells, cherries, rhododendrons and azaleas were planted here 60 years ago by the last Lord Egerton.

Open daily until 29 October, 10-6pm

  • Audley End, Essex

The organic kitchen garden of Jacobean Audley House contains an incredible 120 varieties of apple and 40 types of pear trees which are trained on espaliers, fans and single cordons. Blossom abounds, complemented by fields of glorious pink tulips.

Open daily until 30 September, 10am-6pm

History and romance rolled into one

  • Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

Once home to earls, dukes, viscounts and even a prince, Cliveden has been a glowing hub of society, used to hosting exclusive parties and political gatherings, and was infamously associated with the Profumo Affair.

Wonder like royalty through its immaculately manicured gardens which host an impressive collection of around 21,000 blue hyacinths. To the west of the house, acres of bluebells run along the woodland paths leading you down to the Thames.

Open daily, 10am-5.30pm

  • Wrest Park, Bedfordshire

You can’t help but feel the glory as you wander your way through three centuries of landscape design in Wrest Park. With over 40 statues for you to spot, as well as a Chinese temple and bridge that inspired the original willow pattern imprinted on plates, this garden is an unmissable insight into Chinese culture.

Open daily until 30 September, 10am-6pm

  • Penshurst Place, Kent

Penshurst Place’s grand, formal gardens are some of the oldest in private ownership and date back to 1346.

The gardens are widely considered to be among the most beautiful in the nation so take a walk back to medieval times and relax in tranquillity surrounded by apple trees, daffodils and the nut garden with its primroses and bluebells.

Open daily until 30 October, 10.30am-6.30pm

If you enjoy the great outdoors, you might be interested in our top 50 most beautiful places in the UK to visit.

Lucy Hancock

by Lucy Hancock

Lucy Hancock is Staysure's Content Executive. As a specialist travel insurance provider, we aim to keep up-to-date with travel trends, all while offering tips on how to make the most of your holiday. Lucy travelled across Europe with Interrail in 2017, and her favourite destination was Budapest. She likes big books, big words and the colour yellow.