Going beyond the usual tourist route in our mini-coach, off the beaten track where those herded on impersonal big buses can’t go, we will introduce you to some local treasures as well as the major sites. Your multi-talented driver/guide will fill in each touring day as time will permit, with visits to some little local gems, participants in the National Gardens Scheme – Gardens open for Charity.
The highlight of our gardening adventure is sure to be a membership in the Royal Horticultural Society. The RHS is the premiere UK gardening organization. Membership offers a host of benefits including a garden magazine full of gardening advice, discounted/complimentary entrances to dozens of gardens throughout the year and priority access to the RHS Flower Shows. Your tour package also includes a full day ticket to a member only day to the Chelsea Flower Show. This delightful tour is sure to please everyone, avid gardeners and beginners alike!
- Tour Date: 19 – 26 May
- Tour Cost: $2699 USD per person, $500 single supplement
- Early Booking Special - Book by 31 December and save $100 USD per person.
Day 1, 19 May : Welcome to London! Today is free so you have the chance to relax, recover from your international journey and go sightseeing in the Capitol as you wish. Perhaps you will choose to go around on the “Big Bus”, the best introduction to the iconic sites of the Capitol. Hop off when you want then hop back on - a fun way to start your holiday!
Alternatively, London has a wide array of public parks and gardens of all shapes and sizes. The Royal Gardens at Kew is a popular choice. This is one of the world's largest botanical gardens featuring about 121 hectacres of gardens including glasshouses, Japanese gardens, an orangery, Kew Palace, and a treetop walkway. The choice is yours! Overnight: London, BB (accommodation included in package).
Day 2, 20 May: Your tour guide will meet you in the lobby of your tour hotel at approximately 09:00 this morning. We begin our gardens adventure with a garden that requires no introduction – the RHS Wisley is known the world over! We will spend ample time here, exploring the rock garden, alpine garden, wild garden, formal rose courtyards and all that this wonderful place has to offer. This afternoon, via the marvelously scenic countryside, dotted with oast houses and sometimes blooming lavender fields, we’ll have a visit to Penshurst Place.
Here, just one splendor is the 11-acre formal walled garden, with records dating back to 1346. Penshurst is one of the oldest gardens in private ownership and remains much as it was when constructed by Sir Henry Sidney in the Elizabethan era. En-route to our accommodation, if we manage to have some additional time to fill, there is just a wealth of opportunity. This region of Kent is known to be “The Garden of England” for good reason!
Overnight: Kent, DBB
Day 3, 21 May : Today, the fabulous Sissinghurst, Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicholson's world famous garden will be our main visit. You'll have plenty of time to explore this intimate and intricate garden and to visit those parts of her home open to the public. Here, we’ll find a Tudor tower complete with Vita’s workshop, a walled herb garden, mixed border gardens, an oast house museum, a white garden and a cottage garden. Certainly something to delight all interests!
This afternoon we’ll see the delightful gem, Hole Park Gardens. Here, a 15 acre garden surrounded by open park lands, massed bluebells in season in the woodland walk, standard wisteria, orchids in flower meadow, yew hedges, large lawns and specimen trees. First opened in 1927, the gardens offer a walled garden, pools and mixed borders combined with bulbs, rhododendrons and azaleas. Overnight: Kent, DBB.
Day 4, 22 May : This morning, some last wanderings in Kent and we may enjoy a visit to one of the small, local cottage or farm gardens from the Yellow Book Gardens for Charity Scheme. Whichever one chosen, you’ll have the personal touch of meeting the locals and perhaps a bit of sharing of gardening secrets. There are rose and clematis walkways, rock gardens, sculpted yew hedges and ponds with water lilies all on offer.
Spoilt for choice! Making our way towards the Heart of England, our first destination is the Astor's magnificent country gardens at Cliveden. The various formal gardens include topiary and colorful seasonal planting in the Long Garden plus the celebrated parterre offering breathtaking views. Our next garden has been called “breathtaking” by the RHS. Coughton Court offers a wide variety of sections to delight many tastes – enjoy the bog garden, formal lawns and courtyard gardens, veggie garden and orchard; the main centerpiece is the Walled Garden. New in 2009, a lovely daffodil garden was added, earning them even more accolades.
During our time in the Cotswolds, we will try and find some time to meander through the honey-thatch cottage villages famous in this region. Each is unique and pretty in its own right and there are many opportunities for a stop in a tea shop or wandering the antique shops. With our small vehicle, we can get where larger coaches can't and avoid the commercialized 'honey-pots' to discover the best. Dinner is not included tonight to allow for flexibility in attending the theatre. Overnight: Stratford-Upon-Avon area, BB.
Day 5, 23 May : Our first main visit today is Hidecote Manor Gardens. Created by horticulturist Lawrence Johnston, this garden consists of a series of small gardens within the whole, separated by walls and hedges of different species. It's famed for rare shrubs, trees, herbaceous borders, and interesting plant species. Painswick Rococo was originally laid out in the early 18th century, is set in a hidden Cotswold valley with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.
We will enjoy a bit of time here before making our way to Sudley Castle, a place with connections running through the Tudor Dynasty. It was the home of three queens, houses the marble tomb of Katherine Parr (the wife of Henry VIII who survived him) and a place where scandal left its impression on the young mind of the future Queen Elizabeth I. This lovely place offers seven enchanting gardens, amongst these is a Tudor Knot garden with water features and a delightful mosaic. Dinner is not included tonight to allow for flexibility in attending the theatre. Overnight: Stratford-Upon-Avon area, BB.
Day 6, 24 May : Our day first sees us visiting Blenheim Palace. This incredible treasure house, set near Oxford on the edge of the Cotswolds, was given to Winston Churchill's ancestor John, 1st Duke of Marlborough. The superb collection here includes fine paintings, furniture, bronzes and the famous Marlborough Victories tapestries.
In addition to the palace itself with all of the opulent splendor, you'll have ample time to wander the amazing gardens, designed in part by Capability Brown. A trip to Blenheim Palace would certainly not be complete without visiting the Water Terraces, Rose Garden, Arboretum, Cascades or the Secret Garden. Our final garden of the day will be Waterperry Gardens, on the edge of Oxfordshire. Waterperry is a magical place where you will be surrounded by beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers, classical borders, modern planting, secret corners and long vistas.
Home to the renowned horticultural college between 1932 and 1971, the emphasis was on food production rather than spectacular ornamental gardens but that has changed in recent years. You'll now find a Formal Garden, a Waterlily Canal, a river walk and a small arboretum in the meadow area beyond the canal. We will enjoy dinner together in one of London’s lovely riverside pubs. Overnight: London, DBB.
Day 7, 25 May : Full day, RHS Members only day at the Chelsea Flower Show. Today is our grand finale, a full, Members Only day at the Chelsea Flower Show! One transfer will be provided from your London hotel to the show in the morning and one transfer back in the evening. You are welcomed to come and go from the show as you please using public transport. Your Member Day Chelsea ticket is valid from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm. This evening is open so you can enjoy the show until closing or have the option of attending the theatre. Overnight: London, BB.
Day 8, 26 May : Your package includes breakfast at your hotel this morning. After breakfast, make your way to the airport for your flight home or we are happy to assist you with extending your stay if you wish. Optional tour add-ons are available for a supplemental fee including airport transfers, additional nights London accommodation, “Big Bus” tickets, London transport passes, London city tours or private touring extensions visiting some of the glorious London area gardens such as Kew, Syon House, Kenwood and more. Please discuss options with us!
- All attraction opening times are correct at time of printing this website. While we do our utmost to include all properties, we reserve the right to change an attraction should it become impossible to visit due to change in opening times, days.
- Your accommodation for 7 nights in 3/4 star properties while on the tour including breakfast daily and most dinners, as listed.
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