THE LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN – Pentewan, St Austell.
25 years ago this glorious garden was hidden beneath a tangle of weeds, but a chance discovery of a door in the ruins led to the restoration of this romantic and mysterious paradise. Now considered one of the finest gardens in Cornwall, visitors can amble through bamboo tunnels under majestic tree ferns, seek out giant rhubarb and bananas, or simply get lost in this 200-acre ancient woodland.
BLENHEIM PALACE – Woodstock, Oxford.
Historical home of the dukes of Marlborough, this glorious 18th century palace boasts some of the loveliest gardens in Oxfordshire. For the romantics at heart there is the fragrant Rose Garden, which was designed in the Victorian era and features more than eight varieties of rose. For history buffs there is the ornate palace itself and the Churchill Memorial Garden which was opened in spring 2015 by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s death.
GODSHILL MODEL VILLAGE – Godshill, Isle of Wight
Set in the grounds of the old vicarage, this is not your average garden but it’s certainly an enjoyable and quirky day out. Opened in 1952 the models represent the local areas with replicas of houses, pubs churches and even little people frozen in time. It also hosts an impressive collection of conifers and shrubs, which are they are treated and sculpted individually to compliment the models.
KINGSTON MAURWARD GARDENS AND ANIMAL PARK – Kingston Maurwood College, Dorchester
Bringing a touch of the Riviera to Dorchester, Kingston Maurward belonged to the Hanbury family who laid out the formal gardens with an Italianate overlay. Other attractions include a Grecian temple, croquet lawn and an enclosed Japanese garden and, not forgetting of course, the animal park with its Shetland ponies, piglets and canaries.
EXBURY GARDENS – Southampton, Hampshire
Nestled in the New Forest these spectacular gardens really showcase Britain’s natural beauty, especially as they host the world-famous Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons. Marvel at the primroses, magnolias and bluebells, idle along the Beaulieu river, ride on the steam railway and finish it all off with an ice-cream or tea and cake in Mr Eddy’s Tea Rooms.
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Images: Royal Horticultural Society