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England’s Glorious Gardens

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  • OVERVIEW
  • ITINERARY
  • HIGHLIGHTS


itinerary Map

England’s Glorious Gardens

15 Days

This gorgeous programme combines London with the English countryside showcasing a heady mix of both stunning gardens, some world-renowned and requiring little introduction and others that are hidden gems.

 In London, see the sights and discover how, with over 3,000 parks and open spaces, it is one of the greenest capital cities in the world.

 Throughout, on garden paths both well and less trodden, you’ll be amazed by their diversity of character, colour and arrangement. You’ll have the opportunity to meet garden owners, head gardeners and volunteers – all with a passion for the gardens they tend.

 It is a trip that will allow you the time to smell roses and indulge your senses.

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ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS



Day One: Arrival, London

Day Two: Regal Highlights & Royal Residences – Part I

Day Three: Regal Highlights & Royal Residences – Part II

Day Four: Royal Richmond

Day Five: Leisure & Unusual Gardens

Day Six: South to Sussex

Day Seven & Eight: Great Gardens of England

Day Nine: Great Garden Designs

Day Ten: Beautiful Bath

Day Eleven: Horticulture at Highgrove

Day Twelve: The Cotswolds

Day Thirteen: Leisurely at Le Manoir

Day Fourteen: Beautiful Blenheim

Day Fifteen: Onward Travel

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HIGHLIGHTS

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Day One: Arrival, London

London is a many-layered metropolis with an amazing array of attractions – big and small, lavish and low-key, ancient and modern – waiting to be discovered.

A chauffeur will provide a transfer from London Heathrow to London’s most quintessentially English hotel. Located in exclusive Belgravia, the property was the very last grand hotel of the Edwardian era to be built. Completed in 1910, it is now the oldest privately-owned luxury hotel in London.

Day Two: Regal Highlights & Royal Residences - Part One

From your hotel, it’s a short walk to Buckingham Palace. It’s likely when you think of London, that you picture it: The Royal Family on the balcony – a splash of colour against the pale backdrop – waving to crowds below at moments of national celebration.

For a glimpse of royal pomp and ceremony, watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. It is a spectacular ceremony involving music, marching soldiers and imposing mounted guards, where the Queen’s Guard hands over responsibility for protecting the palace to the New Guard.

Next, visit nearby Westminster Abbey. This stunning Gothic church intertwines with the very fabric of English history and has done for more than 1000 years. It has been the scene of every Royal Coronation since 1066 and, in 2011, hosted the spectacular wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

This afternoon, step aboard a sight-seeing cruise on the Thames then sit back and relax as you cruise under mighty bridges and pass iconic landmarks, including Shakespeare’s Globe and the Shard.

The day concludes at the Tower of London, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which dates from the 1080s. See the famous ceremonial guards known as Beefeaters who guard the British royal crowns, robes and ceremonial regalia. Boasting 23,578 gemstones, the collection is the most complete ensemble in the world.

Day Three: Regal Highlights & Royal Residences - Part Two

By special arrangement, enjoy a pre-opening private tour of Kensington Palace.

Designed by Christopher Wren, its royal connections can be traced back to 1689 when King William III chose it as his residence with wife Mary II. Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret, and Princess Diana all resided here at points in their lives. Today it’s the home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children. Accompanied by an in-house guide, immerse yourself in the extravagance of the State Apartments and hear lively stories of the Royal rivalries and romances which played out here.

To mark the bicentenary of Queen Victoria’s birth, the palace is re-presenting the rooms that were the home of the young Princess Victoria and organising a temporary exhibition about the world famous monarch.

To follow, make your way to The Victoria & Albert Museum. The V&A’s phenomenal exhibition, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, traces the history and impact of the designer and his relationship with Britain. This exhibition presents over 200 rare Haute Couture garments, including the dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday.

The Museum’s William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, home to its sparkling jewellery collection re-opens its doors in spring to reveal stunning new additions, including a spectacular sapphire and diamond coronet designed for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1840, the year of their marriage.

 

 

Day Four: Royal Richmond

Day Four: Royal Richmond

Your exploration of some of England’s finest gardens begins with a privately guided tour of the gardens at Hampton Court Palace.

Monarchs have all influenced the gardens in different ways. From Henry VIII’s heraldic Privy Garden, Charles II’s elegant Long Water, and William III & Mary II’s fine baroque gardens to dazzling displays of Victorian mass bedding, the gardens have always been at the forefront of garden design.

Led by a private guide, later explore part of The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew. It is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the world’s largest plant collections. From the newly restored Temperate House to the Treetop Walkway which provides a sky-high view of the botanical gardens, it makes for a wonderful visit.

 

Day Five: Leisure and Unusual Gardens

Spend the morning at leisure before continuing with the garden discovery as you take time to reflect in the Kyoto Garden which was gifted by Kyoto in 1991 in recognition of the friendship between Britain and Japan. This tranquil garden, complete with koi carp, bonsai and a rock waterfall, offers a peaceful place for a stroll.

To follow, explore a garden tucked away by the River Thames. This delightful garden is the oldest botanical garden in London, first established by apothecaries in 1673 in order to grow medical plants.

 

Day Six: South to Sussex

Your exploration of England’s great gardens continues at RHS Wisley, home of the Royal Horticultural Society. Gifted to the Society in 1903, it has evolved over time into a world-class garden. Encompassing 240 acres, the garden is unmissable, offering ideas and inspiration on design, innovation and cultivation.

To follow, visit the gardens and property that were saved from dereliction by William Waldorf Astor. The magnificent Italian Gardens showcase Astor’s formidable collection of antique Greek and Roman statuary to the Tudor Garden and Walled Rose Garden.

Continue to your accommodation for four nights. Situated in the heart of the Sussex countryside at the foot of a mile-long private drive, the property dates from 1598 and was one of the first country houses to open its doors as a hotel in Britain. The property’s one-thousand acres of parkland and gardens are famous for being created by William Robinson, one of England’s greatest gardeners.

This evening you may wish to dine in the property’s Michelin-starred restaurant which incorporates ingredients freshly-sourced from their own kitchen garden into the menu.

 

Day Seven & Eight: Great Gardens of England

Spend two days exploring. Garden visits could include:

  • Chartwell – This grand Victorian house was the home of Sir Winston Churchill home from the 1920s until the end of his life in 1965. History aside, the gardens are a feast for the eyes and a delight to explore.
  • Sissinghurst Castle Gardens – Created in the 1930s by writer and poet Vita Sackville-West and her husband, diplomat and author Harold Nicolson. Vita spurned traditional formal design, instead creating a series of small stylised romantic areas or “rooms”, around the old Elizabethan mansion, reflecting the romance and intimacy of her writing.
  • Penshurst Place and Gardens – Featuring 11 acres of formal gardens divided into rooms, this historic estate is a treasure trove of foliage and form. To this day, the gardens are among the oldest in private ownership.
  • Great Dixter – They were created by Christopher Lloyd, often said to be the most noted garden-maker of the 20th Century. Born at Great Dixter in 1921, the house was his home until his death in 2006. The gardens were his passion; for over 40 years they were the focus of his energy and enthusiasm, fuelling over 40 books and articles.
  • Wakehurst Place – This is the country estate of the earlier visited Kew Gardens. The Millennium Seed Bank is a means of preserving the world’s botanical heritage and for many is a must-see. Opened in 2000, by HRH, The Prince of Wales, he said ‘A gold reserve…a place where this reserve currency, in this case life itself, is stored.
  • NT Sheffield Park and Garden – A lesser-known gem. Originally designed in the 18th century, the garden contains four lakes joined by a waterfall and cascade.

 

Day Nine: Great Garden Designs

Leave the gardens of Kent and Sussex behind as you travel west towards Bath.

Pause for a private visit at Iford Manor Estate which lies in the secluded Iford Valley. Harold Peto, the famed Edwardian garden designer, lived here from 1899 until his death in 1933. During this time, he created a beautiful Arts and Craft garden. Today the manor and gardens remain in private hands, actively cared for and lived in by two generations of the Cartwright-Hignett family.

Your exclusive guided tour includes a visit to the family’s private walled garden then concludes with champagne and canapes served in this beautiful setting.

To follow, visit the garden laid out by famed Dutch designer Piet Oudolf who once said it “echoes the tradition of classic gardens but the variety of species and combination of plants creates a looseness, softening the formality of its appearance”.

Continue to Bath and check-in to your accommodation, located on the famous Royal Crescent. The Grade I buildings were first occupied in 1775 and today the public rooms and bedrooms have a wonderful 18th century-style décor, complete with paintings from period artists such as Gainsborough.

Day Ten: Beautiful Bath

Accompanied by a local guide, explore Bath on foot. It is considered one of Britain’s most beautiful cities and is home to some of the nation’s grandest and most graceful architecture. Sweeping crescents of gorgeous Georgian architecture co-exist harmoniously with ancient cobbled alleys and grand Roman Bathhouses, ensuring that almost every corner of the city boasts classical beauty that will stop you in your tracks.

 

 

Day Eleven: Horticulture at Highgrove

Highgrove is home to the private gardens of Their Royal Highnesses, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. A keen gardener himself, Prince Charles has devoted much energy to transforming the gardens around the house since his arrival in 1980.

What was once a somewhat bleak landscape is now one of the most inspired gardens of its time. With the house always visible in the distance, a series of interlinked areas, each with their own character and purpose, weave magically around the space.

Join a group of up to 26 guests, led by one of The Prince of Wales’s expert guides, on a tour through these inspiring gardens which showcase Prince Charles’s deep commitment to sustainability and his environmental philosophy: “it is better to work with nature than against it”.

 

Day Twelve: The Cotswolds

Depart Bath, travelling through the Cotswolds. Glorious all year round, the Cotswolds is home to rolling hillsides, country lanes and impossibly pretty villages. It has become best known for representing what many consider to be “quintessential England”. Gardens of interest include:

  • Painswick Rococo Garden – Designed in the 1740s as a flamboyant pleasure garden for holding intimate garden parties, this hidden valley is the country’s only surviving complete rococo garden.
  • Hidcote Manor Gardens – Another gardening gem. Created by an American particularly known for his strong design, it is very much another Arts and Craft “Miles of sculptured hedges showcase a bewildering number of outdoor rooms”.

Travel onwards to your final accommodation. Under the esteemed leadership of Monsieur Raymond Blanc, this 15th century manor has become one of the most coveted properties in the country and is a paradise for epicureans.  Situated in a picturesque Oxfordshire village, this most cherished of manor house hotels offers 32 individually designed guest rooms and suites. Surrounded by lawns, flower borders and orchards, it enjoys an idyllic English setting.

Day Thirteen: Le Manoir

Enjoy a guided tour of the beautiful gardens that surround the property; lavender beds give the place a distinctive Gallic charm, but there is also a tranquil Japanese Garden and an orchard. Beyond the eye-catching displays are vegetable and herb gardens that provide the kitchen—and the acclaimed Raymond Blanc Cookery School—with fresh, organic produce, ensuring the restaurant remains at the cutting edge of culinary excellence.

To follow, enjoy a private cookery class in the kitchen. Over two hours you’ll be able to refine your culinary skills in class, perfectly tailored to your needs and interests in a fun and relaxed setting.

 

Day Fourteen: Beautiful Blenheim

Home to the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The superb gardens were landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, Britain’s greatest landscape gardener. They are complete with parkland and 90 acres of formal gardens including the Rose Garden, Secret Garden and Churchill Memorial Garden. The feature with which he is forever associated is the lake, a huge stretch of water created by damming the River Glyme and ornamented by a series of tumbling cascades where the river flows in and out.

 

Day Fifteen: Onward Travel

Drive to London Heathrow Airport, returning your rental vehicle in time for the flight home.

 

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HIGHLIGHTS

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THINGS TO DO

CHARTWELL

A grand Victorian house was the home of Sir Winston Churchill home from the 1920s until the end of his life in 1965.

BLENHEIM PALACE

Blenheim Palace was given to the first Duke of Marlborough by a grateful Nation, following his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in August 1704.

VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM

The “V&A” Museum was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, lays claim to being the world’s greatest and largest museum of decorative art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5million objects.

SISSINGHURST CASTLE GARDENS

Sissinghurst Castle Gardens were created by writer and poet, Vita Sackville-West and her husband.

WESTMINSTER ABBEY

The remarkable Gothic structure of Westminster Abbey is like a huge memorial to one of our most pious Anglo-Saxon Kings.

HIGHGROVE

Visit the private gardens of their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall for a very special visit. A keen gardener himself, His Royal Highness has devoted much energy to transforming the gardens around the house since his arrival in 1980.

ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, KEW

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the world’s largest plant collections. From the newly restored Temperate House to the Treetop Walkway which provides a sky-high view of the botanical gardens, it makes for a wonderful visit.

THE TOWER OF LONDON

This famed UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the early 1080s and has borne witness to many defining events in British history.

RHS GARDEN WISLEY

RHS Wisley is the home of the Royal Horticultural Society. Gifted to the Society in 1903, it has evolved over time into a world-class garden. Encompassing 240 acres, the garden is unmissable, offering ideas and inspiration on design, innovation and cultivation.

 

PLACES VISITED

LONDON

London, with its unique blend of history and culture, is constantly changing, with new landmarks, stylish restaurants and clubs opening up all the time. Recently voted as the gourmet capital of the world, London is the European capital to stay in touch with all that’s new and exciting, while enjoying its wealth of historic buildings and eclectic mix of museums and art galleries. With its unique blend of history and culture, the bustling metropolis of London has long been considered a must-see destination. The city is constantly changing, offering a wealth of historic buildings and monuments, as well as an eclectic mix of museums, art galleries and world famous attractions.

KENT

Kent, also known as the Garden of England is an idyllic, quintessentially English must-see destination to explore and discover. Located just outside of London, it is England’s oldest and most beautiful county. Visit RHS Garden Wisley, the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society. It is considered one of the great gardens in the world, and is home to some of the largest plant collections.

THE COTSWOLDS

Glorious all year round, the Cotswolds are the largest of all the 38 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales. It is best known for representing “quintessential England”: rolling hillsides, country lanes and pretty stone villages. Perhaps the key to the Cotswolds’ irresistible and characteristic pull lies in the limestone bedrock from which so many of its towns and villages are built. It is this golden stone attributed from medieval wealth from wool merchants that makes the area equally as beautiful on an overcast afternoon or a sunny morning.

BATH

Considered one of Britain’s most beautiful cities, Bath is home to some of nation’s grandest and most graceful architecture. Sweeping crescents of gorgeous Georgian architecture co-exist harmoniously with ancient cobbled alleys and grand Roman Bathhouses, ensuring that almost every corner of the city boasts classical beauty that will stop you in your tracks.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

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