Spring has sprung! – Gardens Of Britain

“(…) Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there. (…)”

fragment of “Lines Written in Early Spring” by William Wordsworth

The poem written by one of the best known British poets and one of the precursors of English Romanticism, William Wordsworth, wonderfully describes the beauty of Spring.

This week, on 20th of March, we celebrated the first day of Spring. Finally! Days are getting longer and brighter, the sun is shining more and more, birds share their melodies with us and flora comes back to life.

From wild reserves, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks, through meadows, coasts, wetlands, lakesides, forests and mountains, to city parks, private greenhouses, hotels’, castles’ and public gardens – flowers blossom all over Britain, bringing joy to all with their gorgeous colours, sweet fragrances and various shapes. Foxgloves, Tulips, Primrose, Pansies, Peonies, Snowdrops, Bluebells, Alliums, Lilac, Iris, Freesias, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Crocuses, Wood Anemones, Rhododendrons, Magnolias or Cherry Blossoms – all and many, many more can be spotted across England, Wales and Scotland.

Public gardens in particular are a very treasured and cultivated part of the nation’s culture. To celebrate the Spring, we want to introduce some of the most cherished gardens of Britain and encourage you to visit at least one of over 5,000 public gardens during your vacation with us!

The Lost Gardens Of Heligan, near Falmouth, Cornwall, England

The Lost Gardens Heligan, Saint Austell, Cornwall, England
The Lost Gardens Heligan, Saint Austell, Cornwall, England

One of the most magical gardens of England is located in South West in spectacular coastal county of Cornwall. Set in over 200 acres, The Lost Gardens Of Heligan take their name not without a reason – rediscovered in 1990s, they were forgotten and run down since the World War I. Known as “The Sleeping Beauty”, the garden was brought back to life by passionate gardeners and continues to thrive until today. One of the most remarkable feature are moss and plants covered rocks reshaped into human and troll-like creatures. Magical gardens, woodlands and a farm await to be discovered!

You will find Pleasure Grounds, first laid out over 200 years ago, with a collection of plants, flowers, romantic structures, historic plantings and themed mini-gardens. There is also the Jungle! Wild, vibrant and colourful, where you can admire exotic trees and tropical plants, including bananas, bamboos, palms or giant rhubarbs, and cross the bridge above the jungle’s grounds to see it from birds’ perspective. In the Victorian Productive Gardens however, you will find over 300 varieties of seasonal and heritage vegetables, fruits and herbs. Having undergone an award-winning restoration, this is one of the finest productive gardens of Britain.


Sissinghurst Castle Garden, near London, Kent, England

Sissinghurst Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, England
Sissinghurst Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, England

Located in the garden county of England, Kent, known for notable gardens and the famous Chelsea Flower Show held annually every May, Sissinghurst Castle Garden is another remarkable place to visit, especially in the Spring. Built on a site Saxon pig farm, which transformed into a castle estate over the years, and was once used as a prison during the Seven Years War between 1756-63, Sissinghurst was bought in the early 1930s by Vita Sackville-West, who was particularly fascinated by plants with historical or literary associations, and her husband Harold Nicolson. They transformed the place into a world-renowned garden, so cherished today.

Representing the quintessence of English garden, the place is a series of themed gardens. The Nuttery shelters Kentish cobnuts (a variety of hazelnut); The White Garden welcomes you only with greens, whites and greys variations of flora; Delos brings a Hellenistic taste of Greek islands inspired by Vita and Harold’s travels; and The South Cottage Garden focuses on bold colours evoking summer and autumn sunsets.

At this time of the year, it is The Spring Garden however, that steals the show. Late winter and early spring flora returns to life, bringing back the colour after grey winter. Yellows, pinks, purples, whites and blues – they all brighten The Lime Walk, The Purple Border, The Orchard and other parts of the whole estate. Explore the garden and get to know its history during your ventures around South East of England.

Helmsley Walled Garden, near York, North Yorkshire, England

Further north, you will find many beautiful gardens too! In a previous blog I wrote about Aysgarth Rock Garden, which we visited during adeo Travel’s familiarisation trip. Within 50 miles east from Aysgarth, you will find Helmsley Walled Garden, a sustainable and therapeutic horticulture focused garden.

Built in 1759 by the ruins of Helmsley Castle to provide fruit and vegetables to the Feversham family at nearby Duncombe Park, the garden is set in over five acres and has a unique parallelogram outline with serpentine walls, which was designed to avoid shadows and instead, deliver as much sunlight to the plants as possible. Retaining it original features and still focusing on fruits, herbs and heritage vegetables which survived passed from grower to grower, the garden has been opened to the public only over 30 years ago and is now complimented by many flowers, areas for relaxation and a wildlife pond.

Located around 30 miles north (approx. 45 mins drive) from the historic town of York, and separated from the outside world with its tall walls, it’s a peaceful and ideal place to observe fruit trees in early stages of seasonality when their flowers and leaves start to blossom before turning to fruits in late summer or autumn.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales, near Brecon Beacons, Wales

National Botanic Garden of Wales
National Botanic Garden of Wales

Moving on to Wales, another nation’s garden treasure is situated nearby Brecon Beacons Nation Park in mid-south Wales – The National Botanic Garden of Wales. Situated near Carmarthen in between Cardiff and Tenby, it’s twice the size of London’s Kew Botanic Gardens reaching over 500 acres (!) and is a must visit for anyone who enjoys plant-life.

At The Great Glasshouse, the largest single-span glasshouse in the world, you will find many endangered plants from six areas of the world (California, Australia, the Canary Islands, Chile, South Africa, the Mediterranean Basin). Growing in the environment resembling their natural habitat, plants nurtured here are under serious threat due to modern human developments in their local habitats but are now being preserved in Wales, ensuring they survive for future generations.

Follow trails to Garden Lakes for aquatic flora and fauna; Slate Beds for flower beds made of recycled slate material; or head to Apothecary’s Garden dedicated to medicinal plants, herbs and fungi. As well as the beauties of plants, flowers, trees, bushes and other flora variety, you may also notice many colourful butterflies and variety of bees flying around, or head to British Bird of Prey Centre to see various owls, falcons, eagles and hawks.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales is now visited on our Enchanting Wales tour.

Inverewe Garden and Estate, Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Inverewe Gardens, Scottish Highlands
Inverewe Gardens, Scottish Highlands

In Scotland, the note-worthy garden estate is located in the Scottish Highland. Inverewe was created by Osgood Mackenzie in 1862, and took over by his daughter Mairi in 1922. Built by the Loch Ewe in a barren wilderness on the Atlantic coast, it’s a great example of a microclimate with some rare species from around the world, including rare Wollemi pines, Himalayan blue poppies, Californian redwoods and a fantastic variety of rhododendrons from China, Nepal and India (making rhododendrons in flower every day of the year). Alongside fantastic flora, you will have a chance to spot land, air and sea wildlife and head to Inverewe’s Underwater Garden for seabed habitats including Scottish coral reef – maerl beds.

If you’re interested in visiting gardens, or any other sites of your specific interests (castles, museums, themed venues, theatres or any attractions of your choice) during your British vacation, please let us know – either in an enquiry or request it directly with your agent, if you’ve already have a booking in place with us. You may choose to purchase tickets independently too, but whatever you decide, we are here to help!

Magdalena Glen

March 23, 2024

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