Gardens for wellbeing
Our research has shown that visiting gardens is both good for your mental and physical health. Reconnecting with nature, creating time for yourself to relax and reflect, enjoying a sense of community with like minded people have all been proven to improve our general health and all of these aspects can be found at our garden openings.
With over 3500 gardens opening for the National Garden Scheme in 2019 it can be difficult to choose which garden to visit, so we have put together a selection below of gardens known to offer some form of sanctuary, perhaps a particularly calming feature or view, or a restfully restorative woodland walk.
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The Old Rectory, Litton Cheney, Dorset is a calming space with streams, a natural swimming pool, front garden with pleached crabtree border, soft planting of roses, peonies and tulips. they have open days on the 6th and 8th May and the 16th June.
Crichel House, Dorset has large sweeping lawns, a massive Lake, a beautiful walled flower garden of about 3 acres an is in a very tranquil setting. They have multiple open days in May and June.
Penny Brohn UK in North Somerset is a 3½ acre tranquil garden which has been specifically designed and planted to offer calming sanctuary. The garden is maintained by volunteers and plays an active role in the Charity’s Living Well with Cancer approach. Open day on Sunday 16th June.
70 Entry Hill, in Bath, Somerset is opening for us on the 30th June and 8th September. The owner Nyla, has chosen to open her garden to raise awareness of the importance of outdoor spaces when suffering from physical or mental health issues, after living with an auto-immune condition herself.
Coldharbour Cottage, Somerset is a hidden garden and a great place to gather your thoughts and unwind.
In Salisbury, Wiltshire our Gardens and Health beneficiary charity, Horatio’s Garden is opening the gate to their garden at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre on the 15th September. With low limestone walls, which represent the form of the spine that divide densely planted beds and double as seating, everything in the garden has been designed to benefit patients during their long stays in hospital.
The Old Mill, Ramsbury, Wiltshire has water running through a multitude of channels to provide a backdrop for a whimsical garden of pollarded limes and naturalistic planting. Paths meander by streams and over small bridges. They open on Sunday 19th May and Sunday 4th August.
Twigs Community Garden in Swindon, Wiltshire is a delightful 2 acre community garden, created and maintained by volunteers. Twigs stands for Therapeutic Work in Gardening Swindon and is a local charity and provides support for people experiencing mental health problems by offering creative activities in gardening, crafts and woodcrafts. Its 2½ acres of gardens are hidden within an industrial estate and contain many surprises. They have open days on Sunday 19th May and Sunday 21st May.
St Timothee in Berkshire is a garden planted for year round interest and has open days for us on 14th and 15th June plus the opportunity to visit by arrangement.
Lindengate, Buckinghamshire’s mission statement is to ‘Foster an improved state of mental health and wellbeing through the healing power of nature and horticulture’. The garden has been developed into a series of wild spaces in synergy with more formalised gardens and is described as an oasis in a busy world. They have open days on the 6th and 8th September.
Also in Buckinghamshire is Horatio’s Garden at Stoke Mandeville. This garden opened last September by our president Mary Berry and was strongly supported by a National Garden Scheme donation. The garden designed by Joe Swift is a beautiful space, cleverly designed to bring the sights, sounds and scents of nature into the heart of the NHS.
Malthouse Farm in East Sussex has been described as having “The most uplifting view for your spirit and soul!” They have open days on the 18th and 21st August and also by arrangement.
Ashdown Park Hotel also in East Sussex has a secret garden, woodland paths, quiet areas and views. Large number of deer roam the estate and can often be seen during the day. Their open day is on the 23rd June.
In West Sussex, Sienna Wood is a beautiful 3½ acre garden with picturesque lakeside walk and 6 acre ancient woodland behind.
The Therapy Garden in Surrey is a wonderful oasis of calm that uses gardening to generate positive change for those living with mental health challenges. They have open days on the 5th May and 1st September.
208 Walm Lane, The Garden Flat is a tranquil oasis of green with a meandering lawn with island beds, curved and deeply planted borders of perennials, scented roses and flowering shrubs and a shaded mini woodland area of tall trees. Their open day is the 2nd June.
12 Fairfield Road is a peaceful and secluded garden that has been created on two levels with year-round interest and is packed with a variety of trees, shrubs and flowers, as well as succulents, palms and bamboos. They have an open day on the 2nd June.
East of England
The Old Rectory,Wrestlingworth in Bedfordshire has lovely wild flower meadows and a large pond as well as a woodland area. The open vistas and overflowing beds make for a relaxed natural feel while many box hedges and clipped balls give it structure.
Ferrar House, Cambridgeshire is a former, historic ‘retreat house’ which still performs this function to this day. The isolation and tranquillity, with beautiful uninterrupted views across meadows and farm land make it an ideal spot for contemplation. There are local walking opportunities and the site commands a view over fields in a valley over to Northamptonshire.
334 Belper Road in Derbyshire where you can take a scenic walk through the ten acres of woodland and glades to a ½ acre lake and see wild orchids at their opening on the 26th May. You can also organise a visit by arrangement.
Coxbench Hall, Derbyshire is a residential home where the gardens are developed to inspire a number of sensory perspectives – different colours, textures and fragrances of plants, growing vegetables next to the 18th century potting shed. Most of the 4 1/2 acre grounds are accessible and wheelchair friendly.
Mountain Ash in Leicestershire opens by arrangement for the National Garden Scheme. It has stunning views across Charnwood countryside and several places to sit and relax around the garden.
Also in Leicestershire, Ravenstone Hall is open on the 4th and 27th May and also by arrangement. This is a gem of a garden in The National Forest area of Leicestershire. The vista includes woodland with a selection of unusual trees and a lake which attracts a selection of wildlife.
Dripwell House in Northamptonshire is a beautiful spot, well away from hustle and bustle. A path takes you down 3 acres of steep terraced slopes, through secret and unexpected places to a woodland carpeted with bulbs and wild flowers. Open on the 12th May as part of Guilsborough Gardens and also by arrangement.
Lawless Hill in Herefordshire is a Modernist Japanese-influenced garden with dramatic views over River Wye. A gravel and rock Zen garden is quietly hiding under the cantilevered reflection pond. They open by arrangement throughout the summer.
The Gardeners Lodge, Shropshire is opening on the 26th May. This garden is dedicated to the memory of Amanda’s daughter, Harriet, who died of cancer in 2016, aged 31. Inspired by Harriet’s writing and images of the places she had visited, Amanda decided to develop her garden as a testiment to her daughter’s life. The garden is designed to not only leave you feeling inspired and motivated but relaxed and calm too.
Ruthall Manor also in Shropshire is a lovely quiet, countryside garden with lots of places to sit and contemplate. They have multiple opening dates throughout the summer and are also open by arrangement.
Rothbury in Worcestershire has a breakfast opening on the 27th May plus other openings on 23rd June and 27th July. On the 27th May they offer continental breakfasts so visitors can share their haven and enjoy the view across the Severn valley and up to the Malvern Hills, birdsong, buzzards wheeling overhead, and the early summer flowers. As the owner says “There’s a certain peace in a morning garden before most of the world has woken up.”
19 Winnington Gardens also in Worcestershire has a small oriental garden with Japanese music quietly playing in the background. It is an ideal place for peace and contemplation. They open on the 28th May and 17th June as part of Hanley Swan Gardens and also by arrangement.
Llandough Castle in Glamorgan opens by arrangement. With a woodland walk dotted with sculpture and benches to sit and listen to the birds, dappled sunlight and woodland flowers and a seating area just to listen to the water and watch the dragonflies, this garden offers total tranquility.
Nant y Bedd in Gwent has open days on the 26th and 27th May. With the tumbling river, dark forest, birdsong and the lovely pond it is a haven for life, both wild and human. High up a Welsh mountain, the air is clear and the silence blissful!
Gorsty House in Powys is an abundant cottage garden with hundreds of bulbs in season, orchard with wildflowers, wildlife pond, and a ‘secret garden’, planted to encourage pollinators. Beautiful views and they have multiple openings throughout May and June.
North of England
Bluebell Cottage Gardens is a south facing country garden wrapped around a cottage on a quiet rural lane in the heart of Cheshire. The garden is an excellent base for local walks along the River Weaver and Trent and Mersey Canal.
Galeskye, Cumbria is set in the beautiful and very quiet Wasdale valley and is a woodland garden which is bisected by the river Irt . You can cross over the river via a picturesque small suspension bridge. The garden is secluded and calm. They have open days on the 1st and 2nd June.
At Casa Lago in Lancashire you can traverse the globe through horticultural specimens. This is small garden open by arrangement throughout the summer.
The Growth Project, Lancashire is a haven of beauty in a post-industrial landscape. It is is set over an acre and includes organic veg varieties, wildlife pond, insect hotels, formal flower and wildflower borders, and potager. The garden is partnership between our guest charity Mind and Hourglass.
Rewela Cottage in Yorkshire is a good example of a peaceful, calm and restful garden. It is mainly a shade garden with many calming features such as water, birds, woodland type walks and plenty of green foliage. The garden owner says “I find my garden very therapeutic and I can spend just a little time in the garden and any heavy head or tiredness just drifts away. No need here for pain relief. It is definitely my sanctuary.”
We strongly believe that all gardens have the power to improve both our mental and physical health. To find more gardens near you visit our find a garden search.