The Inspirational Gardens of The Royal Horticultural Society | TravelResearchOnline


The Inspirational Gardens of The Royal Horticultural Society

Previously, I’ve introduced you to eight great Flower Shows staged between April and September by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). This week, I’m showcasing the four – soon to be five – RHS gardens around the country, which have to be included in itineraries for the most experienced horticulturists and those like myself who just love to be surrounded by the beauty of some of the best gardens in England.

Offering a year-round calendar of Rose Festivals, Sculpture Trails, craft showcases imaginatively themed private tours and festive ‘Glow’ illuminations, RHS gardens are inspirational at any time of year with something different to see and experience whenever you visit.

From RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey (their historic home) to the quintessentially English country garden that is RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon, and from RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate, Yorkshire to the wide-open spaces of RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex, each has its own distinctive personality; but all of them bring delight and inspiration in equal measure.

The Historic Home of the RHS

With one of the world’s largest plant collections, Wisley is the oldest and most diverse of the RHS gardens with unrivalled variety. Visit in the Spring for amazing bulbs, magnolias and rhododendrons; in Summer for roses and mixed borders; and incredible colour in the Autumn. There’s a year-long programme of events, from ‘Glow Illuminations’ in the winter to the Flower Show in late summer. Close to the cathedral city of Guildford, it is also surrounded by a number of famous must visit gardens.

A Hilltop Haven

The peaceful Hyde Hall Gardenis a perfect destination for those who love the eclectic combination of gardens on offer. With its wide-open skies and far reaching views, highlights include the fascinating Mediterranean inspired Dry Garden, showcasing an array of drought tolerant plants, a beautiful hilltop garden, rose garden, woodland, meadows and pasture. Events include craft fairs, Rose Weekends and an annual summer Flower Show. It makes a very good visit for clients cruising in or out of Harwich.

A Hidden Gem in North Devon

Rosemoor is a real treat for garden lovers at any time. Spread across 65 acres, highlights include the 150m Long Borders, a vibrantly coloured Hot Garden and a fascinating Arboretum. The Queen Mother’s Rose Garden, and more traditional Shrub Rose Garden, ensures that it is consistently rated one of the UK’s best places to see roses. It’s also close to the filming location for Doc Martin and Poldark which many of you have watched on PBS. The cliffside village of Clovelly is also nearby.

Yorkshire’s Must Visit Garden

Harlow Carrcaptures the essence of Yorkshire with its innovative design and creative planting. Highlights include the colourful herbaceous borders; Woodland Glade with its seasonal flourishes of rhododendrons, narcissi, foxgloves and giant Himalayan lilies; the Alpine House raised Kitchen Garden of fruit, vegetables, flowers and willow; and the walk along one of the country’s longest streamside gardens. Don’t miss the very popular on-site Bettys Tea Room. Using the great Viking city of York as your base, add a half day cookery course at the Grand Hotel.

The New RHS Garden Bridgewater

Opening next spring, on the western edge of Manchester, the master plan has been created by leading landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith. Highlights will include the restored 11-acre Weston Walled Garden, one of the largest walled gardens in the country, which will encompass a Wellbeing Garden, Orchard Garden, and Bee & Butterfly Garden – as well as a unique Chinese Streamside Garden. With Virgin Atlantic and other airlines flying non-stop into Manchester, this will be a notable addition to any itinerary.

Paull Tickner, owner of U.K.-based Custom GB, is known for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at or email him at

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