Discover Another Star in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Constellation | Travel Research Online


Discover Another Star in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Constellation

Many of your anglophile clients will have read about the new RHS Bridgewater Garden in their gardening magazines. I’ve put together a short stack of touring ideas which show how a visit can be included in a number of different itineraries in the north of England and North Wales with an extension to Ireland.

Using iconic names like the Beatles, Beatrix Potter, James Herriot (as recently enjoyed on PBS) Harry Potter and Dracula, this stunning new garden could give you the key that unlocks some profitable new perspectives on your old friend Britain.

The New Jewel in the RHS Crown

Ten days ago, the gates swung open on the 154-acre Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Bridgewater Garden, the biggest hands-on horticultural project undertaken in Europe since planning permission was given in 2017. Located on the western edge of Greater Manchester, and just 25 minutes from the Manchester Airport, it features cutting-edge design by RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winners. This ensures that it becomes a beacon of gardening inspiration, education, and engagement in the heart of the North West of England. The 11-acre Weston Walled Garden is the jewel in the crown, and where you’ll find the spectacular Paradise Garden with its display of exotic planting inspired by Persian and Mediterranean gardens.

Image © RHS credit RHS Neil Hepworth


Let’s Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Beatles fans will relish the idea of spending a couple of nights in nearby Liverpool as they take a magical mystery, sing along tour down Penny Lane and Strawberry Field, the iconic site immortalized by John Lennon in the song Strawberry Fields Forever. We can also include visits to the childhood homes of John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney, the Casbah Coffee Club (which launched the Fab Four), and take a colourful, musical journey through their life and times at the Liverpool Beatles Museum and the award-winning Beatles Story. With two evenings at the famous Cavern Club, you can follow it with tours of iconic rock sites and locations in London.

Discover China, The Breakable Kind

A day at the RHS Bridgewater Garden makes an eye-catching addition to a Shop ‘n’ Ship Girls Getaway long weekend to Stoke on Trent, the World Capital of Ceramics. Here they will get hands-on experiences at the World of Wedgwood (throwing your own pot, pottery decoration, ceramic design), Emma Bridgewater (pottery decoration), and Gladstone Pottery Museum (throwing a pot & bone china flower making). You can get discounts of up to 75% at the numerous factory outlets which include the Royal Doulton Outlet Shopping Store, Portmeirion, and the Spode Works Visitor Centre. A side trip to the nearby treasure filled Chatsworth House, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, completes the programme.


In the Footsteps of Romans, Celts, and Vikings

Bringing together the walled city of Chester, the 12th century castles in North Wales and York’s Viking heritage, you can offer a two-country tour that starts with a walking tour of Chester led by a Roman Centurion. North Wales visits include a ride on one of the Great Little Trains, watching a Welsh Male Voice Choir in rehearsal, wandering through the beautiful gardens at Bodnant, and the majestic castles at Caernarfon and Conwy. With a day at the RHS Bridgewater Garden, head into the neighboring county of Yorkshire and discover Brideshead Revisited at Castle Howard, the spectacular ruins of the Cistercian monastery at Fountains Abbey, and enjoy a close encounter with York’s Viking history.

Chatsworth, Welsh Castles, and the Emerald Isle

Looking ahead to the resumption of non-stop transatlantic flights to the Manchester gateway, think about promoting a three-country England, Wales, and Ireland tour that starts with a tour of the art treasures at Chatsworth House and includes joining local villagers as they take part in the ancient tradition of Well Dressing. With some shop ‘n’ ship retail therapy in the World Capital of Ceramics and private tours of some of the great castles in North Wales, the fast ferry will then whisk you across the Irish Sea to Dublin for two or three more nights. This tour works equally well in reverse, finishing with a couple of nights in London.

Dazzling Dahlias mass planting with Chatsworth House in the background. RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2019.

Beatrix Potter, James Herriot, and The Brontës

These acclaimed authors are world renowned writers who your anglophile clients will know well. Having read their novels and seen them on PBS, invite them to discover their sources of inspiration with a north of England tour that includes Beatrix Potter in the Lake District, the world of James Herriot seen most recently with the screening of All Creatures Great and Small, Brideshead Revisited, Harry Potter, and Dracula as side trips from York. Finish it with a visit to the Brontë sisters’ home in Haworth, a day at the RHS Bridgewater Garden, and a final evening of world class theatre at Manchester’s Royal Exchange.

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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