Bluebell Cottage Gardens
Bluebell Cottage Gardens
Tucked away down a quiet country lane, Bluebell Cottage Gardens and Nursery is one of Cheshire's best kept secrets. Owned and managed by former BBC Gardener of the Year, Sue Beesley, Bluebell Cottage Gardens, nursery, wildflower meadows and bluebell woods make a perfect half day out for keen gardeners, wildlife enthusiasts, or anyone in need of a break from the whirlwind of modern life.
Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Cambridge University Botanic Garden is the most visited garden of its kind in the UK and it’s not just botany students that flock to its extensive collection. Among the visitors are more than 100 species of bird, including a pair of sparrowhawks and the increasingly rare song thrush. Established in 1846, the garden boasts over 8000 species encompassing nine national collections from fetching Fritillaries and elegant Bergenias to unusual shrubs. The much older western side is framed by a canopy of mature trees and home to Systematic Beds, with herbaceous temperate plants laid out to aid teaching. The eastern half of the garden, which was developed in the 1950s opens out onto a drought-tolerant meadow, a scented garden and spectacular planting arrangements. In between, pollinators dance among the bee borders, while those feeling brave should sniff out Titan Arum, aka the Corpse Plant, so-called for its pungent whiff. A visit to Cambridge University Botanic Garden wouldn’t be complete without paying homage to the infamous apple tree, said to be a descendant of the species under which Newton discovered the theory of gravity. Family-friendly activities range from craft workshops to educational talks and tours.
Nestled on a sheltered hillside overlooking rolling fields and the sparkling waters of Porlock Bay, Greencombe is a little known Somerset gem, close to the quaint harbour village of Porlock Weir. Don’t be fooled by its size, this pioneering organic garden packs in four national plant collections; (Erythroniums, Polystichum ferns, Vaccinium and Gaultheria) and one magnificent champion tree (the English Holly). With such gorgeous vistas and equally esteemed planting, Greencombe gardens is one of the loveliest things to do in Porlock. Expect mossy pathways snaking past overflowing borders which wind their way through a canopy of Oak, Conifer and Sweet Chestnuts. The late owner Joan Loraine really did break new ground when she took on this plot in 1966. Not only eschewing weed killers and chemical fertilisers but overseeing the production of 25 to 30 tonnes of home produced compost and leaf-mould each year! While we don’t envy that job, we do envy this delightful garden, which has become a haven for people and wildlife alike.
Upon entering the grounds of Blenheim Palace, it’s easy to see why the likes of Harry Potter, Spectre 007 and many other blockbusters have been filmed here. The lavish UNESCO world heritage site is home to award-winning formal gardens, swoon-worthy vistas and one of Britain’s grandest houses. Dubbed 'the finest view in England' by Winston Churchill's father, the showstopper is the vast lake and beautiful Vanburgh Bridge set in 2100 acres of naturalistic parkland designed by ‘Capability’ Brown. With its links to Churchill, history buffs will find plenty here to intrigue. But it’s not just the colourful history that draws people to this idyllic corner of Oxfordshire. A delight in all seasons, the grounds play host to open-air cinema during the summer months, while the Christmas period sees the palace and gardens lit up for the annual illuminated light trail. Whether you’ve come to marvel at the opulent Baroque architecture, seek out the serenity of the secret garden, bury your nose in the rose garden or enjoy the views from the water terraces, Blenheim Palace is sure to be an unforgettable day out.
Leathad Ard Gardens
Trewithen Gardens & Parks
One of the loveliest gardens in Cornwall – Trewithen Gardens nails the balance between hidden nooks and sweeping countryside views. Trewithen means ‘house of trees’ so it should come as no surprise that Trewithen Gardens is full of wonderfully woody specimens, from the big blousy Magnolias to graceful Acers. In fact, Trewithen Gardens is home to around 20 champion trees, so-called for reaching the greatest height or girth of their species. As well as these awe-inspiring trees, Trewithen Gardens is full of fabulous flora and fauna, including a spectacular collection of Camellias, which have earned it the accolade of International Camellia society 'Garden of Excellence'. Among the 30 acres of woodland gardens is the Cockpit, where climbing Hydrangeas and exotic Tree Ferns jostle for space under the dappled light of the canopy. Visit in spring when the early flowering Magnolias, Rhododendrons and Camellias are in full swing. After exploring the garden, visitors can enjoy delicious refreshments at the Tea Shed, open until the end of October half term.
A meandering and richly planted open garden on the east coast of Scotland. Cambo Estate offers amazing variety, from the alliums, lilacs and roses in its walled garden to one of the UK’s most impressive collections of snowdrops. One of the most interesting features of the Georgian walled garden is the burn – a gently flowing stream - that runs through it down to the sea. Start with a view of the whole garden by the twisted weeping willow, then wander past herbaceous borders packed with late-season naturalistic and prairie-style plants. In the winter, don’t miss the surrounding woodland, home to birch trees and 350 types of snowdrop. Children will love playing in the Lost Elf Village or spying on each other through the spider hole. And those in need of a good cuppa can drop into the café. There are exciting plans for a contemporary cutting garden, though you can also buy plants in the stables. Go on a tour of the gardens with Lady Catherine Erksine, who has lived at Cambo House since 1976. Learn about its history as well as its quirkier features, and which parts of the garden really come to life at different points in the year.
The largest rainforest in captivity – and much more. Soaring biomes housing enormous collections of tropical and Mediterranean plants are surrounded by contemporary gardens. The Eden Project in Cornwall is an educational charity that connects people with each other and the living world, exploring how we can all work towards a better future - it's truly an inspiring day out. From clay pit to paradise, the Eden Project is a world-famous feat of ambition, ingenuity and engineering. Explore rare and exotic tropical plants as you wander along canopy walkways in the steamy Rainforest biome, aka the largest greenhouse in the world. Embark on a journey through the landscapes of the world’s temperate regions – from South Africa to California to Australia – in the Mediterranean Biome. And there are plenty of activities for kids too including outdoor play spaces and trails. Bear in mind that while dogs are welcome in the grounds, they are not allowed into the Biomes. Beyond the plant life, you can tuck into organic seasonal and/or local dishes at the cafés.