Orchids, Doc Martin, Tulips, and a Flower Festival | Travel Research Online


Orchids, Doc Martin, Tulips, and a Flower Festival

Last Tuesday was supposed to be Covid Liberation Day here in the UK but, instead, our Government lost its nerve and sentenced us to another month of lockdown. Predictably, it went down like a lead balloon! To cheer myself up, and thanks to a press release from Kew Gardens, this week’s article will take you to their fantastic and uplifting Orchid Festival which fills the month of February 2022. With low airfares and off-season hotel rates, this will appeal to green-fingered clients and GB-starved clients alike.

I’ve also included something on Cornwall’s Gardens, stunning in March/April, which—with a dash of Doc Martin, Poldark, and Arthurian myths and legends—create a winning combination. I’ve also added some tempting ideas for a tour based on Tulip Festivals in the southeast of England.

Read on, and let’s exchange some emails about your UK plans for next year.

Celebrating Costa Rica at Kew Gardens

Every year, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew stage a truly spectacular orchid extravaganza, and they’ll be doing it again between 5th February-6th March with a stunning display of Cost Rica’s rich and colourful culture. The Princess of Wales Conservatory will be filled with vibrant horticultural displays and animated soundscapes, which will transport you to the tropics of Central America. You’ll be able to follow a special route that recreates the country’s landscape, taking you from its southern shores overlooking the Pacific Ocean to the northern coastline that looks out onto the Caribbean Sea. Along the way, displays will feature native animals—including amphibians, reptiles, and insects—all made from plants, including the resplendent quetzal, a bird native to Costa Rica and a charismatic symbol for the protection of the country’s forests.

Kew Gardens Orchid Festival 2019 – Credit @ Jeff Eden



View from the Rock Garden towards the Glasshouse in spring at RHS Garden Wisley.

A 400th Anniversary in Oxford

With the Orchid Festival at Kew as the focal point of a 6-night tour, other highlights can include the huge cathedral-like Glasshouse at the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship garden at Wisley. Covering the area of 10 tennis courts, and rising to 12m (40ft) high, it’s like walking into a jungle—tree ferns, tall palms, lush-leaved creepers, and dazzling flower displays which give a feeling of lushness and drama. You should also add a side trip to the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. Founded on 25th July 1621, exactly 400 years ago to the day, it is the oldest botanic garden in the UK. It was established as the Oxford Physic Garden for growing medicinal plants used to teach medical students and as the birthplace of botanical sciences at Oxford.

Scents of Spring and Doc Martin in Cornwall

President Biden’s recent visit and the staging of the G 7 Summit in the southwest of England drew a great deal of attention to this southwest corner of the England. In March and April, the warming effects of the Gulf Stream also enable the gardens to flourish with some of the most rare, beautiful and colourful plants in the country. You’ll see what I mean with this video of Trebah. If your clients are garden lovers, time the visit to coincide with the Cornwall Garden Society’s annual Spring Festival on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd April 2022. To broaden the appeal, add a dash of Doc Martin, Poldark, and the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table—and you’ve got something very saleable for your anglophile customers.

Credit @ Adam Gibbard


Credit @ Kate Wilson

Swathes of Colourful Tulips in England

Between April and May, many English gardens are transformed into a rainbow of welcome colour as tulips bloom. A 3-4-night tour based in the southeast should include the extensive gardens at 11th century Arundel castle, where more than 120,000 tulips in 130 varieties burst into bloom and look incredible (see video)! The itinerary should also include the spectacular, award-winning Pashley Manor, moated, 13th century Hever Castle, privately-owned Hole Park and Dunsborough Park, and the brightly coloured blooms in the courtyards and formal gardens at magnificent Hampton Court Palace. Further enhanced with tea and cakes at one or two private gardens, your garden loving clients won’t have been offered this tantalizing combination before. This makes a great pre-or-post addition to a few days in Holland highlighted by the Keukenhof.


A Festival of Flowers in Salisbury Cathedral

Between 10th-15th May 2022, you’ll be able to see and smell over 30,000 stems of blooms and foliage in spectacular floral displays set, in magnificent medieval architecture, in an amazing feast for all the senses! The arrangements will reference the Cathedral’s site at the meeting point of five rivers, using traditional materials built with lead, wood, stone and glass. The shapes in the designs will explore the movement of water, re-imagining the flow of shape, colour and light that water creates. Designs will be contemporary, traditional and interpretative, and the teams of over 300 volunteers creating the works will be led by a trio of award-winning designers. Precede it with a journey through time with a visit to the awe-inspiring Stonehenge and Old Sarum, the footprint for the original city of Salisbury.

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 www.customgb.co.uk or email him at ptickner@customgb.co.uk.

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