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Sarah Raven's Garden
Sarah Raven's Garden

We might be getting a bit overexcited about this brief sniff of summer, but let's not forget to appreciate how the rain has made the gardens look absolutely fabulous this year. So, we invite you to put a spring in your step and get outside to enjoy some of England's lushest gardens.


Drive: 2 Hours

Nearest Train Station: Stroud

During the 1700s, the upper middle class enjoyed flaunting their wealth, and here at Painswick, they included a garden and landscape where they would entertain guests by exhibiting their treasures in plant and flower variety and architecture. Painswick Rocco Garden is the only Rococo garden finished in the UK, meaning it is infrequent to see, so you must visit. The work of artist Thomas Robins was asked by Benjamin Hyett in 1748 to create a painting of the garden. Here, you can attend many events for family and friends, as well as talks and workshops to learn a new skill or be enchanted by the beautiful landscape.


1 Hour 54 Minutes - Southeastern + Bus

Nearest Train Station: Etchingham

Sarah Raven's Perch Hill Farm is a transformation and hard work story. Moving from London life 28 years ago to taking an ex-dairy farm and reconstructing the land into a home for cattle, sheep, and 90 acres of organic land, with hedges, flowers, trial gardens, fruits, and vegetables. Sarah is constantly testing and trying new seeds, which makes this garden one to visit, as there is bound to be a new flower or colour to enjoy.


1 Hour 45 Minutes - Greater Anglia + Bus

Nearest Train Station: Hythe

In the 1960s, Beth Chatto transformed this wasteland into a colourful emporium. Today, 7.5 acres of garden and stock beds are filled with over 2,000 different types of plants. The nursery and gardens have helped the garden team maintain the works and methods that make the plants here garden-ready and give them a resilient attitude. Many of the gardens to explore here include the Reservoir Gardens, Water, Woodland, Gravel, Scree, and much more.


Drive: 2 Hours

Nearest Train Station: Moreton-in-Marsh

The present owner's grandparents, Heather and Jack, took influence and encouragement from their next-door neighbour, gardener Lawerence Johnson, at Hidcote Manor and decided to create a garden next to their family home. Heather pulled up her sleeves and got to work. The beautiful landscape grew throughout the years and became the charming garden you can see today. The garden was passed down from daughter to daughter, first to Heather's Daughter in the 50s and her Granddaughter in the 80s, who both maintained and added their features and style to the garden. And now Johnny and Anne Chambers live, work, and enjoy the home and garden at Kiftsgate.


Drive: 2 Hours

Nearest Train Station: Mottisfont & Dunbridge

Horticulturist Graham Stuart Thomas OBE VMH was one of the most well-known of his time in the 20th century, especially during the 1970s. He helped create and influence this beautiful garden, which is planted to display flowers in bloom every season all year round. This act has stopped some flowers planted here from becoming extinct. Your eyes will dazzle with the carefully bordered bays and walkways created by making shapes and sizes, with darker colours along the trim and lighter surroundings, which lead your eyes around the garden, making it a living artwork.


1 Hour 32 Minutes - Greater Anglia + Walk

Nearest Train Station: Audley End

During the Jacobean era, Audley End Gardens was known to be one of the most extensive and luxurious gardens. It was created by the talented English landscaper and architect Capability Brown, one of, if not the best of his time. With much to discover throughout the ground, there is a kitchen garden with delicious produce and a pond garden that was created in the 1860s and was inspired by France, Switzerland, and the Lake District. Also, stumble across the Elysian Garden, which features a design by Robert Adam, the Tea Room Bridge, and wander through the parkland with many trees planted in the late 18th Century that still stand tall.


1 Hour 44 Minutes - Thameslink + Southeastern + Bus

Nearest Train Station: Headcorn

Throughout the year, the garden changes colour with the seasons; the summer months are when it takes flight, and changes happen more frequently, the perfect time to come and admire the flowers in full bloom. The estate is set on 460 acres, 180 of which are woodlands, ideal for a long walk to explore the grounds, house, and gardens. Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson created the formal garden, filling it with passion and roses. However, clashing with their approaches to gardening, nature can adapt together to make something beautiful; it's a representation of Vita and Harold coming together.


Nearest Train Station: Sloane Square / Victoria

Once a place to teach Apothecaries, Chelsea Physic Garden has taught about gardens and plants for over 350 years; since 1673, the garden has been developing and growing. To this day, they produce many edible and medical plants, and they are still exploring their uses. You can escape the busy life of London and take a deep breath of fresh air in this four-acre space filled with greenery, the heated Glasshouse and Pond Rockery at Chelsea Physic Garden.


1 Hour 17 Minutes - Southern/ Gatwick Express

Nearest Train Station: Haywards Heath

Grade II listed landscape at Borde Hill, which is ever-changing through the seasons and is delightful for your site and scents. There are many different corners to explore, each having a uniqueness, which has had the touch and designs of many brilliant gardeners, like artwork at a gallery. Set amongst 383 acres, you will find the Italian Gardens with a lily pool and plantings, the Jay Robin’s Rose Gardens, which were designed by Robin Williams in 1996, with an impressive 750 David Austin Roses—Round Dell, filled with Exotic sub-tropical plants, designed by Sophie Walker and a fantastic collection of champion trees.


1 Hour 47 Minutes - GWR + Taxi

Nearest Station:  Bradford on Avon / Freshford

Thought to be lost during World War 11, the current owners, Cartwright-Hignett family have restored and grown the delightful garden for over half a century. They have finished and helped maintain the works of John Hignett's designs of the Oriental Garden and Harold Peto's work of the plantings, who lived at Ilford Manor from 1899-1933. He was inspired by Japanese, Roman, and Italian styles and worked under them, continuing the beauty from the Manor to the garden and bringing it back to life. Your very own secret garden to visit and enjoy.


Drive: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

Nearest Train Station: Woking

Starting at 60 acres, the garden was mainly woodland, and only a small section was garden. George Fergusson Wilson purchased the garden in 1878 and set himself the task to grow lilies, gentians, water plants and much more; this was an experiment to see how he could grow these complex plants, hence later earning the same as 'Oakwood Experimental Garden'. Sir Thomas Hanbury then bought the garden after George Fergusson Wilson's death, and in 1903, the RHS came on to help maintain the garden to what it is today, a colourful and large garden with a must to explore. The RHS has also continued the element of the learning and education gardening that George Fergusson Wilson had started.


Drive: 2 Hours

Nearest Train Station: Rye

Surrounding the 15th-century Great Dixter House, you will find nineteen different types of gardens to explore, from the front meadow to the peacock and vegetable garden; the list also features a pond. Spending a day rooming around the vibrant land filled with various plants, vegetables, hedges, and flowers is ideal. The house was once home to garden writer Christopher Lloyd, an incredible gardener. The gardens were created in 1910 and have grown and flourished since.


1 Hour 55 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: East Grinstead

The Garden at Gravetye Manor was developed in 1885 by a gardener and author, William Robinson. One of his books, The English Flower Garden, is still a great seller today. Robinson worked on Regents Park's New Botanical Gardens, and after his writing success, he purchased 1000 acres of the land surrounding Gravetye Manor. Among the 1000 acres, the 35 acres close to the Manor is where Robinson's creations flourished, where he learnt his love of maintaining the natural nature that grew landscapes rather than controlling, which made a delightful landscape.



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