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Visiting Gardens Again? Here is How To Keep Safe

Published on April 1st 2021
A close up of a flower
Here at Candide, we're overjoyed to hear that gardens are slowly but surely opening up around the country, following government advice around capacity and social distancing.
With the proper precautions, visiting these beautiful gardens is a great opportunity for people to enjoy nature, meet up with family and start to ease back into normality.
Find and explore gardens near you.
However, there are a few things you should be aware of before you plan your first trip. To help you out, we've put together a few tips to ensure your garden visit goes as smoothly as possible.

Check the garden’s availability before you go

Most gardens are clear about whether they are open or closed and whether you need to book a ticket in advance.
Generally speaking, gardens ask people to book in advance to avoid the use of cash and avoid queues at the entrance. You can check their websites or social media to find the most up to date info.
If you are booking through Candide, you can easily see the days gardens are open and book specific time slots when you complete your ticket purchase.

Keep safe

We hope this is so obvious we don't even have to say it, but just in case: Please don't visit gardens if you have experienced Covid-19 symptoms in the last two weeks or have been in contact with someone who has!
It also goes without saying to use hand-sanitiser and face masks when visiting public spaces. I myself will be wearing a botanical themed one!

Take your litter away

Many gardens are operating without their cafes and tearooms for the time being but often allow people to bring their own picnics. It’s important to take litter away to keep the gardens looking beautiful for everyone else visiting.

Try to avoid cash

To avoid physical contact, many gardens will ask you to use your bank cards for buying tickets. Better yet, try to purchase your tickets online beforehand!
You can easily pre-book tickets to our partner gardens on our ticket page, making sure you have a stress-free and contactless visit.

Observe the signs in and around the gardens

If you are unsure about the proper distancing rules, keep this chart from the Lost Gardens of Heligan in mind!
We’re all used to queuing outside shops by now, and garden attractions are no different. Many gardens will have signs on where and how to queue at the entrance, which may be different from the gardens' usual entrance. If you are unsure, ask a member of staff what to do.
Many gardens have created one way systems around their grounds to avoid people bumping into each other. These should be clearly marked, so keep an eye out for any directional signs!
If you need some guidance on the route to take, check out the Candide audio tours. They not only provide guidance but some fun facts about the garden and it's history. Here are some of our favourites:
A large purple flower is in a garden

Sherborne Castle & Gardens

Designed by the legendary “Capability” Brown, the 42-acre castle gardens at Sherborne are a stunning example of his craft. This Grade 1 listed garden was one of Capability Brown’s first commissions. Using Sherborne Old Castle as his backdrop, he designed the lake in 1753 and reshaped the Pleasure Gardens in 1776, creating the gently rolling landscape we see today. An RHS partner garden, there is something to see all year round – from the spring bulbs to the autumn colours reflected in the lake. **Important:** Contactless entry is available with Candide tickets and we ask everyone to adhere to social distancing guidelines on site. [More details](

The Newt in Somerset at dawn from above

The Newt in Somerset

Woods, orchards, and cultivated gardens are nurtured using age-old skills at The Newt in Somerset. Close to artistic Bruton, this large working estate immerses visitors in the tranquillity of nature. The world-class gardens at The Newt cleverly evoke different historic eras. Explore the Cottage Garden for a glimpse of Gertrude Jekyll’s famous landscaping style, and see the flowers that scented 19th century gardens in the Victorian area. The Cascade is a contemporary twist on traditional water features, and the Colour Gardens feature hellebores, astrantias and anemones inspired by garden designer Penelope Hobhouse. Her family home was The Newt’s Georgian manor Hadspen House – now a luxurious hotel. Once you’ve taken in the gardens and explored the woodland walkways, you can refuel at The Garden Café. Or, at the Cyder Press, sample the cider made from the estate’s 3,000 apple trees, perhaps enjoying a guided tour of the cellar and apple pressing demonstrations. Make sure to activate your Garden Membership on Candide, and return to The Newt as often as you like over the next 12 months. Accessibility Information All gardens areas are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, though via indirect routes – often up thick lawns, steep gradients, uneven ground and gravelled pathways. For longer distances transport is available for those requiring assistance.

A plant in a garden

Kathy Brown's Garden

Kathy Brown’s Manor House Gardens at Stevington, just north of Bedford provides a garden destination with a very personal touch. Designed and cared for by Kathy and her husband Simon, over the last 30 years, this is a modern country 4.5 acre garden. Blossoms and bulbs are a treat in spring with white tree peonies and later beds of intersectional peonies a special delight. The wisteria and laburnum arches in mid May are beautifully underplanted with a sea of alliums, spires of foxgloves and generous groups of poppies. Roses clothe the house walls from May to July with many others covering the pergolas and romping through the trees. By then the wild meadows are rich with pollinators supping the scabious, knapweeds etc. The late flowering clematis begin to take centre stage with dreamy naturalistic gardens combining dainty grasses and colourful echinacea. This is a special time with art gardens based on Monet, Rothko, Matisse, Hepworth and Hokusai. The main borders exude colour with a raft of dahlias. Through August and September the orchard becomes rich with plums, apples and pears. Elsewhere topiary scenes provide special interest and there are major container displays including succulents and mossy kokedamas. This is a wonderful destination for all afternoon tea lovers. Depending on the timing, Kathy’s cakes are flavoured with rose petals or elderflower or marigolds or lavender all growing in the surrounding flower borders. Tea is normally taken on the lawn, but if weather is windy or wet, then tea is served in her beautiful dining room and conservatory. A small shop offers Stevington Garden cards, and Kathy’s cake recipe cards, china mugs, and her gardening books including ‘Edible Flower’£7 and ‘Painting with Nature’, a fantastic guide regarding the Manor House Garden £5. Voted as the Regional Winner in the East among the Nation’s Favourite Top Gardens in a competition involving the National Garden Scheme and The English Garden Magazine.

Be patient and kind, and enjoy yourself!

It's been an absolute joy to see people returning to gardens. They're a great place for friends and family to meet, and garden owners across the country have been touched to see reunions, anniversaries and birthdays being celebrated on their grounds.
While the gardens try to keep everyone safe (including visitors and staff), you may have to be patient to use facilities or enter certain parts. Please remember to be kind and courteous of each other and the garden staff. Nature waits for everyone, after all.

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