Staycation? There’s no place like home…
Over the years we’ve grown so accustomed to the ease of packing our bags for foreign holidays that the beauty on our doorstep has often been overlooked. But, while some of us might pine for sunnier climes it really has never been a better time to explore the wonderful gardens opening for the National Garden Scheme across England and Wales this year. With its beautiful coastline, stunning county towns and villages, centuries of rich history and inspirational gardens there is so much to discover and enjoy at home in the UK.
Whether, like some garden visitors, you use our pre-booking system to visit multiple National Garden Scheme gardens on one day or you combine a garden visit with local sightseeing on a day trip there is something for everyone. And, with restrictions lifting, you’ll be able to enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of delicious cake in many of the gardens too.
“The restrictions of the long pandemic months have focused people’s attention on the enormous pleasure and benefit that comes from being able to engage with nature, in particular to spend time in a garden,” says National Garden Scheme CEO, George Plumptre. “Now as restrictions are easing but everyone still wants to be careful, gardens are ideal destinations as part of a staycation in England or Wales. They offer the chance to relax in beautiful surroundings and to meet up with friends or family for some secure quality time outdoors. The owners of some of our gardens also offer B&B so you can stay as well. Many are particularly suitable for children to explore and lots welcome dogs. We’ll have a succession of gardens opening through the weeks of the summer holiday, many near the coast and other holiday destinations and we look forward to welcoming everyone.”
So, whether you’re looking for a family-friendly day out to keep all ages entertained or a delicious English garden to escape from it all, the National Garden Scheme has something special to add wonderful memories to your staycation this summer. There really is no place like home.
Above Yewbarrow House Gardens, Cumbria – view from the Japanese garden
We’ve grouped our gardens into themes to help you find what you’re looking for (see the links below) – or simply go to our ‘Find A Garden’ search engine, type in the place you are staying and see which gardens are open near you in the dates that suit.
Lead image: Am Brook Meadow, Devon Carole Drake
Group gardens make an excellent day out!
Groups of gardens opening in the same village are always a real treat and excellent value for money! It’s a complete delight for the senses and, as you go from one to another, you’ll discover a wide-variety of different planting schemes, garden sizes and types and barrow loads of inspiration.
Try the Shackleford Garden Safari in Surrey on June 6th. This Surrey Hills village has historic buildings and structures, country gardens, a cottage garden, contemporary landscaping, woodland, ancient trees, formal and informal water features, and a stunning Society of Garden Designer garden. You’ll be spoilt for choice!
Or try the gorgeous Cotswold delights of the Blockley Group on June 6th where restful water and gardens great and small combine to create a glorious garden visiting experience.
In Lancashire the Warton Garden Group that opens on July 17th and 18th will inspire you whatever your interest from formal gardens to allotments while Froyle Gardens in Hampshire, open on June 5th and 6th, offer a smorgasbord of gorgeous gardens in a tranquil country setting. If you’re in East Sussex don’t miss the Mayfield Gardens open on June 12th and 13th you’ll be spoilt with banks of blossom and roses.
Family days out…
A family day out at the farm
Hogchester Farm, Charmouth, Bridport, Dorset – Saturday 3rd July
New for 2021 this fabulous 75-acre old dairy farm has been largely gifted to nature which has helped to preserve the overflowing abundance of natural life. Having worked closely with the Dorset Wildlife Trust, Hogchester Farm has been able to preserve wild meadows and wilding areas which are filled with local flora and fauna including wild orchids, foxgloves and primroses. Hogchester Farm offers something for everyone, making a great family day out with a treasure hunt for children in the wild meadow area, many animals including rare breed sheep, goats, pigs and horses, as well as horticulture therapy for general mental health and well-being.
Mini-quiz and home-made teas
Woodend House, Egremont, Cumbria – August 14th and 15th – children go free!
A small, interesting garden tucked away in a small hamlet. Meandering gravel paths lead around the garden with imaginative, colourful planting and quirky features. Take a look around a productive, organic potager, wildlife pond, mini spring and summer meadows and sit in the pretty summer house. Designed to be beautiful throughout the year and wildlife-friendly. There are plant sales, home-made teas and a mini-quiz for children and lives Blues and Jazz in the garden too!
So much to explore and train rides too
Barnards Farm, West Horndon, Essex – Thursdays throughout the summer – children go free!
So much to explore! Climb the Belvedere for the wider view and take the train for a woodland adventure. Summer beds and borders, ponds, lakes and streams, walled vegetable plot. ‘Japanese garden’, sculptures grand and quirky enhance and delight. And the Barnards Miniature Railway rides are a great treat (separate charges apply).