Day 1, May 21: We start our tour at the Ashford International Hotel in Kent for four nights. Arrive through Eurotunnel from France, make your own way to the hotel, or use our early morning transfer by coach from London Heathrow airport with a stop for lunch (time permitting) at Leeds Castle. This evening join your Tour Director and the rest of the group before sitting down together for dinner.
Day 2, May 22: A.M. - In our coach we take a little country tour then you can have lunch and explore the ancient Cinque Port of Rye. P.M. - Great Dixter House and Garden - The Manor of Dixter is first noted in 1220 and structural additions were made again in 1464. In 1910 the English architect Edwin Lutyens restored the house and designed the gardens. This is a cottage garden on a large scale. The late owner, well known gardening writer and lecturer Christopher Lloyd, liked to tease the followers of garden fashion.
Day 3, May 23: A.M. - Goodnestone Park - A 14 acre garden with fine old specimen trees, surrounds a brick-built 18th century Palladian-style mansion with Jane Austen connections. 18th century parkland is extensively restored. A mature woodland garden with 1920's rockery and pond has a shrubbery. Three interconnected exuberantly planted walled gardens use the adjacent church tower as an eye-catcher. P.M. - Lunch in the ancient cathedral city of Canterbury, then a private garden visit.
Day 4, May 24: A.M. - A little shopping in the Spa town of Tunbridge Wells followed by a visit to the lovely Pashley Manor Gardens. P.M. Sissinghurst Castle - A romantic garden around a slender brick-built castle tower, this is always one of our most enjoyed visits. Sissinghurst is surely the best known and most copied garden in the world. Its designer Vita Sackville-West's own words describe the garden: "Profusion, even extravagance and exuberance within the confines of the utmost linear severity".
Day 5, May 25: A.M. Great Comp - An enormous achievement by two people who had retired in 1957 from a busy London life. An essentially informal garden against a background of deciduous woodland with an apron of lawn. A wide range of ornamental trees and shrubs which relish acid loam are underplanted with campanulas, geraniums, hostas, lilies and violas.
P.M. Hever Castle - The childhood home of Anne Boleyn and place of her seduction by Henry VIII. It took 1,000 men and millionaire William Astor's money four years to restore this moated castle and its garden, with a 35 acre lake, fountains, cascade, topiary chess set and magnificent original Roman and Italian Renaissance statuary. This evening we proceed to the Carlton Mitre Hotel in Hampton Court for the last three nights of the tour.
Day 6, May 26: A.M. Chelsea Flower Show - A highlight every time this world class show is in our itinerary. You will see magnificent floral displays, model gardens, garden tools and products, a host of garden structures and artifacts by world famous names at this classic event close to London's fashionable shopping.
Day 7, May 27: A.M. Wisley Garden R.H.S. This is the home of the Royal Horticultural Society and 'Mecca' to many gardeners. The garden delights and inspires in any season of the year. It is full of ideas and information. There is always part of the garden at its best. The shop offers as large a collection of books on gardening as anywhere in the world. Here is a wonderful chance to buy gifts to take home. P.M. Free afternoon for shopping in London.
Day 8, May 28: We say good-bye in Hampton Court, check-out from the hotel and make your own way at a time that suits your own travel. We advise on departure planning. We hope you will come again.
- Shown price per person is for USA residents.
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