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The heady scent of hyacinths. Leaves unfurling. Buds in bloom. It can only mean one thing: spring has sprung.
Pack a picnic and go in search of romantic topiary, the stateliest 18th-century gardens and exacting urban flower beds in these beautiful gardens.
Chelsea Physic Gardens London
Founded in 1673 as the Apothecaries’ Garden and situated close to the River Thames for optimum climate, this oasis was set up to train apprentices and identify plants. Despite being home to over 5,000 different edible, useful and medicinal plants (many of which have changed the world), it is often overlooked by busy Londoners. Visit for educational ambling.
- 020 7352 5646
- Go to Website
Petersham Nurseries Richmond
In 1997, Gael and Francesco Boglione moved from central London to Petersham House in Richmond, where their new home overlooked a local plant nursery. Today, the nursery is an internationally prized garden centre and seedbed of inspiration. Renowned for organic gardening, culinary excellence and sustainable sourcing, a trip to Petersham Nurseries is always a varied experience. Enjoy a three-course meal at the glasshouse restaurant or go for homemade cakes in the teahouse before browsing the nursery and scouting out the shop.
Chatsworth House Derbyshire
This regal house and garden was built for Sir William Cavendish and Bess of Hardwick in 1555. Famous for its waterworks and sculptures, Victorian rock garden and labyrinthine maze, the 105-acre garden is quite a site to behold. It’s no surprise, then, that the house was featured as Pemberley in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice – and retains all the pomp and charm of its fictional proprietor Mr. Darcy.
Glendurgan Garden Cornwall
This sub-tropical garden is a little patch of paradise in Cornwall. Glendurgan’s history stretches back to 1820 when the valley was purchased by Alfred Fox; in 1833 he developed the famous laurel maze. Blooming with magnolias, wildflowers, woodland flora and exotic trees, the gardens are at their best in the spring. Continue your explorations beyond the garden and follow the external path that leads down to Durgan Beach and the Helford River.
Blickling Estate Norfolk
In spring, tiptoe through the carpet of dainty English bluebells and follow the winding paths through the great wood before reaching rows of hellebores, daffodils and rhododendron. The formal garden is the result of three centuries of inspired planting, with wisteria and peonies marking the garden’s perimeter. Grab a waymarked map and head out into the 500 acres of parkland and woods.
- 01263 738 030
- Go to Website
Anglesey Abbey Cambridgeshire
With majestic avenues and sprawling formal gardens, the grounds at Anglesey Abbey are some of the grandest in England. Each season offers a different highlight, from snowdrops and spring bulbs (including magnificent displays of hyacinths in the formal garden and tulips in the Himalayan silver-birch grove) to the sweeping herbaceous border and English rose garden in summer. Late arrivals will enjoy colourful dahlias in September.
Kew Gardens Richmond
This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to 1759, making it one of the oldest botanic gardens in the UK. Head to the treetop walkway 59 feet above the ground, where you can wander among lime, sweet chestnut and oak trees while admiring the magical glasshouses, stately buildings and beds of orchids that fill the gardens below.
Nuffield Place Oxfordshire
From 1933 to 1963, Nuffield Place belonged to William Morris (Lord Nuffield) the founder of Morris Motors. Most of the garden – including the rose pergola, rock garden, yew hedges and many of the trees – remains as it was during Morris’s lifetime, making for an idyllic and nostalgia-laden outing.
- 01491 641 224
- Go to Website
Levens Hall Cumbria
Famous for its 17th-century topiary gardens – with some pieces over nine metres high – designed by Monsieur Beaumont in 1694, Levens Hall is a maze-like, surrealist garden. Get lost amid geometric and abstract shapes like the Howard Lion, Queen Elizabeth and four peacocks, before retiring to the nearby tea rooms.
Eden Project Cornwall
Formerly a sterile clay mine, the Eden Project is now a vibrant global garden, brimming with plants and sculptures, The 35-acre site is a shrine to ingenuity – its world-famous geodesic domes are filled with thousands of plants and trees, recreating the environmental conditions of both a rainforest and the Mediterranean. See olive groves and lemon trees in the Mediterranean biome, then explore the outdoor gardens to see gorgeous native blooms and learn all about the uses of plants.
Chelsea Psychic Gardens, London
Petersham Nurseries, Surrey
Chatsworth House, Bakewell
Glendurgan Garden, Cornwall
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire
Kew Gardens, London
Nuffield Place, Oxfordshire
Levens Hall, Cumbria
Eden Project, Cornwall
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