New gardens for 2021 season reignite passion for gardens and garden visiting

21st January 2021 


The 2021 season launch of new and returning gardens to the National Garden Scheme portfolio signals hope for a much-missed summer of garden visiting. 

National Garden Scheme Ambassador, Rachel de Thame said: “Gardens, gardening and being in a garden helps us get through some of the most challenging of life’s experiences.  With 3,600 gardens registered to open in 2021 (subject to Covid restrictions*) the National Garden Scheme is once agaiat the heart of providing wonderful garden experiences for thousands of people.” 

Picking out some of the season’s highlights Chief Executive George Plumptre said: “We were delighted that our gardens registered to open in 2021 in their usual numbers so have a total comparable to recent years. Even though the first few weeks are going to be challenging we look forward to welcoming visitors to the gardens later in the year. We have a particularly exciting portfolio of new gardens opening for the very first time, some 650 in all as well as more than 350 gardens returning to open after a gap of many years. These gardens illustrate the range and diversity that is now such a hallmark of the National Garden Scheme which we are focused on expanding in the coming years. 

The selection of new and returning gardens includes: 

152a Victoria Rise, London – a space of just 21 by 8 metres which contains lush green foliage, vegetables and espalier fruit, and an arbour seat behind a copper beech hedge. The garden has been created from a rubbish-strewn site in just five years. 

Snowdrop Ridge in Leicestershire which has been made in the last four years and Cherry Tree Barn in Hampshire which is just two years old both demonstrate what can be achieved in a short period of time. 

Groups of gardens opening together, of which there will be 250 in total opening in 2021, are increasingly popular with visitors. Many are situated in picturesque villages such as New Radnor Gardens in Powys and Blockley Gardens in Gloucestershire. 

Allotments are another highlight of the portfolio that visitors love, engaging with the various allotment holders, learning about growing fruit and vegetables and very often taking fresh produce home. Ashbourne Road Allotments in Derby and Oswestry Gateacre Allotments in Shropshire are both new additions to a total of 35 allotment groups opening. 

The National Garden Scheme particularly enjoys gardens that open which belong to one of the charities to which they give donations. These include Horatio’s Garden in Oswestry, Salisbury, Stoke Mandeville and Stanmore, as well as the gardens of Maggie’s centres and a total of 21 hospice gardens.


Naturalistic planting and gardens that are wildlife friendly are increasing priorities and three opening for the first time are Crossroads in Staffordshire, Home Farmhouse in Norfolk and Ready Token House in Gloucestershire. 

A healthy number (80) of the gardens that opened in 1927, the National Garden Scheme’s original year, are still opening and this distinguished group is added to in 2021 by picturesque Pitchford Hall in Shropshire. Other spacious gardens around country houses opening again after a long break include Vaynor Park in Powys, Littlethorpe Manor in Yorkshire and Encombe House in Dorset.

Family tradition. A number of people are also prompted to open their gardens by the example of their parents, this is the case with Hugh Trevor-Jones and his wife at Westwood House in Shropshire, his mother opened her garden for many years and was a Trustee of the National Garden Scheme. For Emma Fellowes and her film-making husband Julian, the decision to open the garden of their Dorset home, Stafford House, was inspired by memories of her mother’s garden openings at her childhood home in Hampshire and as a memorial to her mother who died in 2020. 

The National Garden Scheme also launched the headline summary of its new Strategic Plan 2021-25, which can be found here: 2021-2025 Strategic Plan

The Garden Visitor’s Handbook 2021, which lists all the gardens opening across England and Wales will be published in early February and is available for pre-order online at: Pre-order the Garden Visitor’s Handbook 2021 – National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk) 

Watch a video of a selection of new gardens here:


*All garden openings are subject to the coronavirus restrictions in place at the time and in most instances pre-booking of timed entry slots will be in available. Visitors are advised to check the details of the gardens they want to visit and to book online on the National Garden Scheme website before travelling www.ngs.org.uk  

2021 at a glance 

Total Gardens due to open: 3,602, 0f these 1,121 are opening as part of a group 

New gardens 657 – of these 195 are opening as part of a group – 358 are resurrected gardens   

There are 1,110 gardens opening by arrangement, of these some 800 also have a specific open day 

There are: 5 allotment groups14 community gardens21 hospice gardens13 school gardens due to open 

2,819 gardens are due to offer teas or other refreshments 

2,050 offer plants for sale  

1,705 welcome dogs 

About the National Garden Scheme 

The National Garden Scheme was founded in 1927 by The Queen’s Nursing Institute to raise money for district nurses. Ever since then it has given annual donations to nursing and health charities totalling over £60 million. It gives visitors unique, affordable access to over 3,600 exceptional private gardens in England and Wales and raises impressive amounts through admission charges and the sale of tea and cake.  

Thanks to the generosity of garden owners, volunteers and visitors we are now the most significant charitable funder of nursing in the UK. As well as the Queen’s Nursing Institute, our beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and Parkinson’s UK. 

The National Garden Scheme doesn’t just open beautiful gardens for charity – we are passionate about the physical and mental health benefits of gardens too. We fund projects which promote gardens and gardening as therapy, and in 2016 commissioned The Kings Fund report Gardens and Health. Our Gardens and Coronavirus 2020: The importance of gardens and outdoor spaces during lockdown report was published in September 2020. 

All press enquiries to vicky@ngs.org.uk 

Lead Image Sudeley Castle 


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