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Slow Travel Google Map: United Kingdom, Gardens

Author: WendyAsh, DavidX, WestSussexBird
Notes: Gardens, mostly in England, but with some in Scotland and Wales. The map is centered on southern England; use the controls to move around or zoom out to see other gardens. Note: some of the gardens are so close together that their markers overlap; please note that Hidcote in the Cotswolds hides Kiftsgate Court and Trebah in Cornwall hides Glendurgan! Also note: NT or EH after a garden's name indicates that it is owned by the National Trust or English Heritage respectively. HHA indicates that the owner belongs to the Historic Houses Association. NTS indicates National Trust of Scotland. Each of these organisations offers season tickets that are excellent value if you visit more than a few of their properties.

Gardens

'Lost Gardens' of Heligan

For added interest, read the book 'Lost Gardens of Heligan' first.

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Acorn Bank (NT)

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Alnwick Garden

Recommended on SlowTalk by Robert D.
This is a modern garden which has been developed since 2000 within the old walled garden of Alnwick Castle. It is famous especially for the large series of cascades on which the garden is centred.

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Ascott House (NT)

Ascott was one of several houses built by the Rothschild family in the 19th century. The garden represents Victorian gardening at its best - a fine mixture of formal (including stately fountains) and informal (including delightful topiary) with lovely views.
The house contains a marvellous and most enjoyable art collection.

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Athelhampton House (HHA)

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Athelhampton is a Tudor manor house which provides a picturesque backdrop to this charming garden. Memorable features include stylish architectural topiary (yew trees fashioned into pyramids) and an abundance of water (pools, fountains and a canal, all fed by the delightfully named River Piddle which runs alongside the garden.)

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Baddesley Clinton (NT)

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Barrington Court (NT)

Jekyll inspired gardens of a glorious Tudor House.
Although Ms Jekyll did not visit the house she worked on plans submitted to her by Colonel Lyle, tenant for the National Trust from 1920. The gardens are therefore mostly all 20th century but, in my opinion sit well with the striking house and it's outbuildings.
There is much use of beautiful narrow bricks to mark out the pathways and a beautiful walled garden as well as a striking rose garden.
Visit in the autumn for vivid leaf colour, and allow plenty of time to visit the house and the furniture showroom.

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Biddulph Grange Garden (NT)

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Blenheim Palace (HHA)

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Blenheim Palace is England's greatest stately home (with the possible exception of some of the royal palaces.) It was built for the Duke of Marlborough. Winston Churchill was born there. The magnificent house contains magnificent sculptures, tapestries and paintings (including family group portraits by Reynolds and Sargent.)
The gardens are equally magnificent - Versailles-style water terraces, an Italianate garden, and surrounding all England's greatest landscaped park.

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Bodnant Garden (NT)

This large garden is one of the best-loved in Britain. It features huge Italianate terraces, formal lawns, herbaceous borders, roses, hydrangeas, water lilies, clematis, a wooded valley, stream and wild garden. In spring the highlights are magnificent collections of rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias then a famous laburnum tunnel. However, there is also plenty of colour throughout the summer and autumn.

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Brodsworth Hall (EH)

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Brodsworth is not one of the great gardens of England, but both house and garden are interesting because English Heritage has attempted to restore them to their splendid state in the late Victorian period. The main features of the gardens are fountains, formal flower beds and a romantic quarry garden. Well worth a visit if you are travelling past on the M1.

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Burton Agnes (HHA)

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Burton Agnes is a magnificent Elizabethan house. Amongst its other splendours it features, most unusually for a stately home, a collection of 19th and 20th century French and English paintings.
The enormous former kitchen garden is filled with an exuberant riot of plants: a "potager" of vegetables and herbs, flower borders, a scented garden, a jungle of bamboos and giant exotic species, a maze, and a series of large scale games (chess, snakes & ladders, etc.).

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Caerhays Castle & Gardens (HHA)

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Castle Drogo (NT)

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Cawdor Castle (HHA)

Believe it or not, there is virtually no reference here to a well known Shakespearean play!

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Charlecote Park (NT)

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Chatsworth House

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Chelsea Physic Gardens (SV)

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Coleton Fishacre (NT) (SV)

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Cottesbrooke Hall (HHA)

A delightful garden (enclosed courtyards, and gardens with superb borders, urns and statues) surrounding a beautiful Queen Anne house set in a large park with lakes, a stream and cascades.
The house is in the heart of traditional hunting country and features the finest collection of equestrian paintings in England. An enjoyable house and garden to visit.

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Crathes Castle & Garden (NT)

Recommended on SlowTalk by Robert D.
The romantic castle is set in flowing lawns and gardens that include famous herbaceous borders; there are eight gardens each with a different character, also large greenhouses featuring, in particular, carnations.

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Culzean Castle (NTS)

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East Ruston Old Vicarage

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Words like "exuberant", "theatrical" and "astonishing profusion" are used to describe this garden. It was started from scratch in 1973 and has been developed with great enthusiasm by the two owners. It is a fairly large garden (32 acres) divided into an unusually large number of unusually diverse sections divided by ingenious walls and hedges.
For more information see the unusually detailed, and temptingly illustrated, descriptions on the garden's website.

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Eltham Palace (EH) (SV)

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The Great Hall of the medieval palace survives with its fine hammer-beam roof, however the house dates mainly from the 1930s. The interior is a showcase of Art Deco design which was very successfully restored in the 1990s. The beautiful gardens around the palace moat include a wisteria pergola, a rose garden, a rock garden and herbaceous borders planted in the spirit of the 1930s.

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Exbury Gardens (HHA)

One of the finest Rhododendron gardens in the country with many specimen trees and views across the Solent.
Gorgeous both in Spring and Autumn Exbury is a relatively easy garden to negotiate as it is mostly flat. The estate was bought in 1918 by Lionel de Rothschild who engaged 150 men to double dig and enrich the whole area to make it suitable for all woody plants. His particular interest became rhododendrons from which he bred hybrids and orchids for which he built a large glasshouse.
Fortunately his passion has been continued by his Son Edmund who continues to nurture and protect this charmed spot.
Dog friendly, ample picnic facilities and a good cafeteria make this a highly desirable place to visit. Visit in Spring when the ticket is at it's most expensive and you get a complimentary ticket for entrance in the Autumn. If only all gardens were so visitor friendly!

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Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden

Not far from the geographical centre of Manchester!

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Forde Abbey (HHA)

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A large and very beautiful garden. It contains a formal canal and lakes, herbaceous borders, magnificent trees and shrubs, a bog garden, a rock garden and an extensive kitchen garden.
The house which incorporates some remains of a Cistercian abbey is full of interest. Much of it was built by Cromwell's attorney-general, a rare period for English house building.
Forde is in a beautiful, rural part of England where Dorset, Somerset and Devon meet.

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Fountains Abbey (NT)

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Glendurgan Garden (NT)

Early 19th century woodland garden leading down to the hamlet of Durgan on the beach which Alfred Fox found irresistible. He took advantage of this steep and well watered site by clearing it and planting pines as windbreaks in the 1820's. He then planted many fine trees including an orchard but his son George from 1891 started to introduce camellias and rhododendrons and planted the cherry laurel maze. The maze still exists as do many fine shrubs but many trees were lost in the gales of 1990.
The exotics continue to thrive and you can follow the stream-side walk down to the cove of Durgan where the NT offers several of the dwellings as holidays lets. It's a steep walk back though so allow plenty of time!

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Great Dixter (HHA)

Recommended on SlowTalk by Jonathan: "My absolutely favourite British garden: Christopher Lloyd is a marvellous writer and a nicely iconoclastic garden designer."
One of the best aspects of this garden is that it surrounds a picturesque house, originally a medieval manor house which was remodelled by Edwin Lutyens (England's favourite architect of the early 20th century.)
The garden has been described as "gardening with sheer joie de vivre."

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Gunby Hall (NT)

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Gunby (which dates from 1700) is the quintessential small English country house. Although owned by the National Trust, it still retains a family atmosphere.
The gorgeous gardens match the scale of the house. The main feature is the walled garden brimming with vegetables, fruit trees and wonderful flower borders. There is also a long fish pond. All are kept meticulously with loving care. Best in June/July.

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Haddon Hall (HHA)

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Hardwick Hall (NT)

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Hestercombe Gardens (HHA)

A gem that everyone can enjoy!
Recently restored Hestercombe makes the most of it's glorious site and views over the Vale of Taunton. Strictly speaking three gardens but the most famous is the Edwardian garden designed and planted by Lutyens and Jekyll. The restoration has followed Jekyll's plantings and is an absolute joy. The Victorian gardens are also being restored with formal plantings contrasted by the shrubbery designed by William Robinson. The Georgian landscaped gardens by Bampfield feature no less than 40 lakes and work continues.
Dog friendly with a good cafeteria and lots of picnic spots Hestercombe is high on my list of "Garden Heaven!"

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Hever Castle & Gardens (HHA)

Medieval castle (Ann Boleyn's childhood home) surrounded by water-filled moat.
Magnificent gardens. "Kaydee" recommended Hever Castle on Slow Talk: "It is everything a castle should be ... the gardens were wonderful!!! There were several mazes." You can find Kaydee's blog under SlowTrav Favorite Blogs if you would like to read more.

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Hidcote Manor Garden (NT)

Harold Nicolson called the 10 acres of Hidcote "the loveliest small garden in England" and I have to agree. Major Lawrence Johnston was born in Paris of American parents. He and his Mother came to Hidcote in 1907 when the plot was virtually empty so Johnston set his architect's training and artistic eye to making Hidcote one of the most influential gardens of the 20th century. Whilst plants were always his first love there is no doubt that his other skills led to to the series of rooms which change not only in design but in atmosphere and perspective too. The views out across the landscape catch you unawares and provide many surprises no matter how many times you visit.

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Holehird Gardens

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Iford Manor (HHA)

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Ightham Mote (NT)

Ightham is one of the most delightful properties owned by the National Trust - a fairytale manor house surrounded by a water-filled moat. The garden features small lakes, woodland and a long flower border.

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Inverewe Gardens (NT)

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Exotic garden on remote north-west coast of Scotland. The far north-west of Scotland is incomparable for wild beauty, but no tour is complete without a visit to this extraordinarily lush and beautifully situated garden.

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Japanese Garden & Bonsai Nursery

Primarily a nursery but the Japanese garden has flourished this last 10 years or so and is worthy of a visit in it's own right. Despite the aeroplanes flying above from RAF St Mawgan this is a peaceful spot to pass an hour or so. Much emphasis here on the art of Zen with skillful plantings of Acers and beautiful bonsai trees. The gardens are a series of rooms with ample seating provided for you to sit and contemplate your surroundings. Water is an important element here and if you can't see it you can often hear it tinkling away somewhere. Perhaps not ideal for boisterous children, make sure they have had plenty of exercise on one of the magnificent nearby beaches before your visit!

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Kedleston Hall (NT)

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Kew Gardens (SV)

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Kiftsgate Court Gardens (HHA)

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Lamorran Gardens (SV)

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Land Farm

Small but delightful.

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Lanhydrock (NT)

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Leith Hill Rhododendron Wood-NT

Leith Hill is famous as the highest in south-east England. A tower was built at the summit the top of which reaches 1000 feet above sea-level! There are extensive woodlands and sandy heaths; on a fine day there are excellent views.
Part of the estate is a rhododendron garden, which is delightful in May and June. "Robert D" on Slow Talk recommended this as one of the best rhododendron displays.

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Leonardslee Gardens

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"The first time I went and looked up at the rhododendrons and azaleas I thought I'd arrived in heaven!" said "wendyash" on Slow Talk.
This famous and long-established garden is based around a steep valley with a chain of lakes at the bottom. The main feature is the unforgettable display of rhododendrons and azaleas, which are at their best in April and May, but there are also a large collection of camellias, a fine rock garden, a bonsai collection, an alpine house, bluebell woods and a fine collection of trees which put on a good show of autumn colour.
Bird life on the lakes adds entertainment, and an unusual feature is a herd of wallabies ("assistant lawnmowers.")
There is a good food pub, The Crabtree, half a mile down the road.

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Levens Hall (HHA)

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Levens is famous above all for its fantastic topiary garden. This was established in 1694 by a French garden designer. Even older is the ha-ha, reputed to be the oldest in existence. There are also extensive flower gardens. A most enjoyable garden, well worth a visit.

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Logan Botanical Garden

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Longstock Park Water Gardens

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This has been described as the greatest water garden in the world. It features a lake with islands, promontories and bridges all surrounded by a profusion of colourful water-loving plants. Everything is beautifully tended.
The garden is opened to the public for charity only on two Sundays each month from April to September. If you can make it, it is highly recommended.

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Loseley Park (HHA)

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Loseley is a privately owned Elizabethan mansion. The house itself is full of interest. The walled garden has been redeveloped, to a Gertrude Jekyll design, since 1993 and is now fully mature. It is divided into several sections: rose garden, herb garden, flower garden, moat walk, etc. The huge wisteria is unforgettable in May, and the White Garden is magnificent in high summer. The whole garden is lovingly cared for. There are nearly always gardeners around, often working in the vegetable and cut-flower garden, and they usually seem happy to chat.
A couple of miles to the west in the village of Compton are a good food pub (The Withies), a historic church, an art gallery created by the Victorian painter G. F. Watts, and a beautiful and most unusual cemetery chapel created by Watts' wife.

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Lytes Cary Manor (NT)

Atmospheric medieval house with charming small gardens and orchard. Once home to medieval herbalist Sir Henry Lyte the gardens still feature some of the plants he grew. The entrance is lined with yew topiary, dumpy in shape with small pyramids to crown them. The hornbeam tunnel leads to an enclosed glade of Weigela giving the area a mysterious atmosphere. More yews guard a circular pond featuring a statue of Triton. This small house and somewhat idiosyncratic garden are richly rewarding but probably best seen on a fine day.

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Monteviot House

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Mottisfont Abbey (NT)

Mottisfont is best known for its rose garden, which is best visited in June; in fact, the garden stays open until dusk throughout June so that the rose scent can be enjoyed at its overpowering best in the evening. The garden also features huge trees and lawns sweeping down from the house to the crystal clear waters of the river.
The house features a room decorated with delightful trompe l'oeil paintings and an unusual collection of 20th century paintings.

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Muncaster Castle & Gardens (HHA)

Recommended on SlowTalk by beebee: "The rhododendron collection is outstanding if you come at the right time of the year. And there's the castle to explore as well."

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Ness Botanical Gardens

Owned by the University of Liverpool.

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Newby Hall (HHA)

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Newby is a beautiful house with sumptuous plasterwork by Robert Adam and a superb sculpture gallery among its highlights. The extensive and sumptuous gardens follow a design based on Hidcote, with a long double flower border leading to the river and cross-walks which divide the garden into smaller compartments full of interest.

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Nymans Garden (NT)

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This is one of England's most famous gardens. The National Trust describes it as "an outstanding plant collection in an inspirational garden setting" and "a 'theatrical' garden design full of variety, surprises and delight." It is centered on the picturesque ruins of a country house largely destroyed by fire in 1947.
The highlight of the garden is a walled area containing unforgettable flower borders which are at their best from July to late autumn.

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Oxford University Botanic Garden (SV)

Recommended by Robert D: "The oldest botanical garden in the UK ... a calm contrast to the city."

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Packwood House (NT)

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Painshill Park (HHA)

This was one of the great eighteenth century landscape gardens. The garden fell into decay but is being restored. It features splendid parkland with huge trees, a serpentine lake fed by a spectacular waterwheel and various architectural features (mausoleum, gothic temple, etc.) An interesting addition is the 'American Roots' exhibition in the old walled garden, which explains the history of plant introductions from the New World.

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Parcevall Hall Gardens

Splendid situation in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

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Parham House & Gardens (HHA)

The Elizabethan Parham House is one of the finest country houses in Britain (rated by Simon Jenkins as one of the top 20 in England.) It is particularly interesting because so little in the house has altered over the centuries.
It is in a superb setting under the South Downs and one of the joys of visiting is the drive through the fine deer park. The main feature of the garden is the large walled garden with magnificent flower displays which are at their best in late summer. In one corner is an enchanting miniature "Wendy" house with its own garden.
A couple of miles to the west is Amberley, one of Sussex's prettiest old villages, full of thatched stone cottages. A few miles further away are Arundel with its castle and cathedral.

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Pashley Manor (HHA)

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Pencarrow House & Gardens (HHA)

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Petworth Park (NT)

The garden is not particularly notable, but the deer park (with lake) is a classic example of 18th century landscape gardening by Capability Brown. Take time to walk in it. Unforgettable.
The house too is unforgettable. It is a fine 18th century house with an excellent art collection. The highlights are the picture gallery complete with the pictures and sculpture collected by the owner 200 years ago, and a room lined with dazzling wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons and pictures painted for the room by Turner (who was a frequent guest at the house).

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Plas-yn-Rhiw (NT)

See the house as well! Small but it will call you back.

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Powis Castle (NT)

A famous garden set on a series of terraces on the steep slope below the magnificent castle.

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RHS Garden, Harlow Carr

RHS Gardens. Fifty-eight acre garden includes several national collections.

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RHS Garden, Rosemoor

Recommended by Robert D: This was the Royal Horticultural Society's first regional garden, second in importance only to the RHS headquarters at Wisley in Surrey.

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RHS Garden, Wisley (SV)

Recommended by Robert D: The headquarters of the Royal Horticultural Society.

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Rievaulx Terrace

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Sheffield Park Garden (NT)

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'Capability' Brown landscaped garden with waterfalls, cascades and four large lakes.
Colour all year, including bluebells, rhododendrons in spring and trees for autumnal colours.
A mile away to the east is one of Sussex's most charming villages, Fletching, with an interesting church and one of England's most popular pubs, The Griffin.

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Sissinghurst Castle Garden (NT)

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Sizergh Castle (NT)

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St Cross Hospital, Winchester

This is a charming garden on the outskirts of Winchester. However, the main reason to visit is to see not the garden but the Hospital itself, a 12th century almshouse which looks somewhat like an Oxbridge college, and its magnificent Norman church.

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Stourhead (NT)

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Stowe Landscape Gardens (NT) (SV)

Recommended by Robert D: "One of the great artistic masterpieces of England. It is a very important garden historically. It contains buildings by John Vanbrugh, James Gibbs, and William Kent and is probably the oldest landscape garden in England. Lancelot Brown ("Capability") was appointed head gardener at the age of 24 and landscaped the grounds. What looks today like rolling English countryside is deliberate artifice."

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Tatton Park (NT)

Set in a huge park, this is one of the grandest gardens in England. It includes an arboretum, a fernery, an orangery, an Italian garden, a Japanese garden and much more.

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The Eden Project

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The Roof Gardens (SV)

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The Valley Gardens

Part of Windsor Great Park, this is one of the best examples of the "natural" gardening style in England. Undulating woodland, lake, fine collection of trees and shrubs, famous display of azaleas, adjacent polo lawn.

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Trebah Gardens (HHA)

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Trelissick Garden (NT) (SV)

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Trengwainton Gardens (NT)

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Upton House & Gardens (NT)

This house has superb terraced gardens. There is a great lawn in front of the house then the ground drops away in a series of long terraces, with flower borders and a huge kitchen garden. At the bottom is a lake and there are lovely views across the surrounding woods.
The house has one of the National Trust's finest art collections.

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Wakehurst Place (NT)

Kew's "country garden". Wakehurst serves as an extension to Kew Gardens, featuring plants that do not grow so well in the conditions at Kew. Thus, for example, Wakehurst has extensive collections of heathers and rhododendrons. It also features delightful walled gardens, water gardens and extensive woodlands and meadows.
A recent development is the Millennium Seed Bank with fascinating displays.

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