From Newcastle to York to Birmingham and finishing in Richmond with roses all the way! Famous gardens: Chatsworth, Castle Howard, Sissinghurst, Great Dixter, RHS Wisley, Alnwick Castle, Sudeley Castle, David Austin Roses and finish at the grand Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. Deluxe hotels in each city centre.
Check in to our 5-star boutique Jesmond Dene House. Our tour starts this evening. Meet your Tour Leader, Colin Barlow and your travel companions at a Welcome Dinner, where Colin will outline the highlights of your tour.
We are travelling north this morning into Northumberland to Alnwick Castle, home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. Jane Percy married the twelfth Duke of Northumberland and is mistress of Alnwick Castle. The earls and dukes of Northumberland have lived in Alnwick Castle for seven hundred years. The Duchess has spent the last fourteen years creating beautiful public gardens in the grounds of the castle and, because of her fascination with and knowledge of poisons, has created a world-famous Poison Garden. Guided tour of the gardens this morning. Tour of the castle itself this afternoon. Travel back to Newcastle.
Two fabulous gardens today. Wynyard Hall is a luxury Country House Hotel and Spa with a new garden that’s home to 3000 David Austin roses and their beautiful companions. Gardens here were first developed in 1822 with flowerbeds, raised terrace walks and shrubberies. In 1987 Wynyard Estate was sold and refurbished, now a house hotel. Morning tea is included in the conservatory. Next stop is Middleton Lodge, a Georgian country estate in Northern Yorkshire that is home to a hotel and restaurant. Walled garden here is a triumph from master designer Tom Stuart Smith. Travel on to York; check into the sophisticated Grand Hotel and Spa York, located inside the medieval city wall with views of The Minster. Dinner is included this evening in your hotel.
Castle Howard this morning; remember Brideshead in its divine setting in the Howardian Hills.Three hundred acres of formal and woodland gardens were laid out around this classical manor house. Explore the Walled Garden, rose garden, cut flower garden and potager. Walk to the Mausoleum, the Pyramid, Temple of the Four Winds and the New River bridge. Travel back to York with the remainder of the day at leisure in York. Take a walk along the city wall that follows the old Roman wall, for a panoramic view of the beautiful Gothic Cathedral, York Minster. Option this evening to attend evensong in York Minster.
We are travelling to Birmingham today with a visit to Chatsworth set in the heart of the Peak District in Derbyshire, on the banks of the river Derwent. The 105 acre garden within 1,000 acre park on the banks of the River Derwent, was designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the 1760s. Then Joseph Paxton worked his magic; Emperor Fountain, Canal Pond and Great Conservatory. It’s the product of nearly 500 years of careful cultivation and includes an arboretum, rock garden, fountains and sculptures. Travel into Birmingham and settle into our hotel for the next four nights that overlooks the canal wharf. Meet up for dinner in the restaurant.
Travel to Stoke-on-Trent this morning to Trentham Gardens.Tom Stuart-Smith has reinterpreted the original Italian Gardens with massed, naturalistic planting within the parterre. It’s a labyrinth of dramatic flowering perennials in 70 flower beds that capture views to the lake. Flanked either side by the long borders and the prairie plantings of Piet Oudolf, is the formal upper garden. There’s a rainbow of iris, a 100m rose border and a beautiful meadow with ‘rivers’ of grass. Stoke on Trent is affectionately known as ‘The Potteries’ because of its rich industrial heritage of ceramics. ‘World of Wedgewood’ is our next stop to admire superb craftsmanship and learn about Josiah Wedgewood who founded Wedgwood in 1759. Travel back to Birmingham.
Travel to Stratford this morning to immerse in the life and times of William Shakespeare. Visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage with a picturesque typical English cottage flower and vegetable garden. Free afternoon in Birmingham. Take an optional canal cruise to learn about the history of this fascinating city, see restored industrial heritage buildings and modern developments like the Cube. .
Winterbourne House in Edgbaston, Birmingham is one of the finest Arts & Crafts houses in Britain, set in seven acres of gardens that have been fully restored by the University of Birmingham. with features associated with Gertrude Jekyll. The large walled garden is planted in traditional Arts & Crafts style, with borders arranged to provide splashes of colour in high summer. Fully restored glasshouses are home to collections of orchids, succulents and alpines. Afternoon visit to Albrighton, Shropshire to David Austin Rose Nursery. This garden is a showcase for many of the marvellous roses bred by David Austin. Lessons here for lovers of the rose.
Over 700 different varieties of roses are planted with the overall concept to enclose the exuberant and informal growth of the roses within neatly clipped evergreen hedges.
Set in the beautiful Gloucestershire Cotswolds, Sudeley Castle, final resting place of King Henry VIII’s last wife, Katherine Parr, is partly castellated and its centuries-old ruins are festooned with roses. Head Gardener Stephen Torode will take us through an exquisite set of gardens; Tithe Barn garden, Knot Garden, Queen Elizabeth Garden, Secret Garden, Tudor Physic Garden and The Queen’s Garden filled with roses. Travel on to Richmond, check in to Richmond Harbour hotel on the banks of the River Thames.
Spend this day at Sissinghurst in Kent, loved for its beautiful balance, with Harold Nicholson’s strict formal design partnered with Vita Sackville West consumate planting schemes. The air will be scented with fragrant roses, billowing through trees and over walls. Vita planted hundreds of roses and their charming companions; all harmoniously colour blended. Climb the tower for a fabulous view, peep into Vita’s writing room, explore each compartment of the garden, walk down to the Moat, the herb garden and browse the shop. A day to remember!
Two grand gardens today. First one is Wisley, the showpiece & headquarters of the Royal Horticultural Society with a comprehensive suite of gardens to educate & inspire. See the glasshouse with gardens designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. Iconic Glasshouse Borders are being transformed into an immersive perennial paradise to a brand new design by internationally acclaimed landscape designer Piet Oudolf, who created the original borders over 20 years ago. Travel back into Hampshire to Marylyn Abbott’s West Green. Since 1993 she has remade and enhanced a series of beautifully designed garden spaces. The inner garden is a massive walled parterre. Marylyn’s use of colour is legendary; at this time her roses will be in peak flower along with dahlias and lilies. Ornamental berry-filled fruit cages make a fine centrepiece for the patterned potager, where herbs, flowers and vegetables are designed into colourful patterns. Afternoon tea is included then head back to Richmond.
We will arrive early at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival for the grand finale to our tour. With hundreds of flower displays and designer gardens, this is now the world’s largest flower show. The prestigious Rose of the Year award will be announced, following the assessment of the year’s most promising new introductions. We will have the whole day to enjoy it. Return to Richmond late afternoon by river boat down the River Thames from Hampton Court Palace jetty. Farewell dinner this evening. Swap and share stories and photographs!
Your tour finishes at breakfast this morning. Check out of the hotel at your convenience.
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