Visit a family friendly garden this summer

children sitting on step of shepherd's hut with a dog

Did you know that in the vast majority of our gardens children go free, making a visit to a National Garden Scheme garden a great value day out.  Many of our gardens also offer special activities or have features that are of particular interest to children. Our list below highlights some of those that are open over the summer holiday period and beyond!

South West          London               East
East Midlands        West Midlands     Wales
North West         North East          Yorkshire and the Humber

South East

Iver Enviromental Centre, Buckinghamshire is a garden where you can embark on your own secret garden adventure past ponds, through willow tunnels and into their rainforest polytunnel. You can even try navigating your way through their hedge maze. Open day on the 27th July

Old Thatch and the Millennium Barn, Hampshire have a garden quiz for children to enjoy. You may also have the chance to arrive by narrow boat. Trips on ‘John Pinkerton’ may stop at Old Thatch on our open days. Also Accessible Boating shuttle available from Barley Mow wharf, approx every 45 mins.

The Courtyard, Kent, an accessible gardens that welcomes families.

In Kent there is The Courtyard, a sensory based, family focused garden. They are a smallholding with a few hens, pigs, sheep, honey bees and hives, a small raised fish pond and a little pony. They welcome all families – especially those with children with special needs. They have multiple open days throughout the summer.

Also in Kent is Hurst House which has a graffiti wall, woodland walk/painted forest and intriguing features and sculptures. They have open days on the 20th and 21st July and are also open by arrangement.

Hill Farm in Surrey is a garden to be enjoyed by all, with a wildlife pond, woodland walk, a tapestry of heathers and glorious late summer grasses and perennials. They also offer pond dipping for children. They have an open day on the 15th September.

Borde Hill Garden in East Sussex is the perfect day out for horticultural enthusiasts, families and those who love beautiful countryside. Enjoy tranquil outdoor rooms, woodland walks, playgrounds, picnic areas, There open day for the National Garden Scheme is on the 30th September.

Also in East Sussex, Cupani Garden has a gazebo set aside for children containing coloured pens and crayons; animal pictures, place mats or tablecloths to colour in, and for £1 children and adults with them can buy a t-shirt or tote bag and draw their own design on it with fabric paint which they can then take away. There is also a children’s trail sheet which invites then to find and identify all the animal ornaments and sculptures in the garden. Multiple open days throughout June and July and also open by arrangement.

Children learning about sustainability at Tuppenny Barn

In West Sussex, Tuppenny Barn is an iconic, organic smallholding used as an outdoor classroom to teach children about the environment, sustainability and healthy food. There are children’s activities, apple education and talks. They have open days on the 30th June and 6th October.

Explore the bug house arch and woodland walk at The Old Vicarage, West Sussex

The Old Vicarage, West Sussex has a woodland area with stream, treehouse and nature viewing platform, as well as the “valley of the gnomes” and topiary of characters to discover. Open days on the 26th August and 13th October and also open by arrangement.

Other gardens that welcome families in the South East

Hampshire – 21 Chestnut Road, Clover Farm, Dipley Mill, Rotherfield Greys, Selborne, Weir House.

Isle of Wight – Northcourt Manor Gardens

Kent – Chartwell, Emmetts Garden, Eureka, Falconhurst, Ightham Mote, Leeds Castle, Penshurst Place and Gardens, Quex Gardens,

Surrey – Coldharbour House, Coverwood Lakes, Dunsborough Park, 69 Salisbury Grove

East Sussex – King John’s Lodge, Nymans, Town Place, Twyford, 35 Dorset Avenue

West Sussex – The Apuldram Centre, 54 Elmleigh, Fittleworth House, The Moongate Garden, Peelers Retreat,

South West

Scarecrows at Foxhill Community Garden, Devon

Foxhole Community Garden, Devon has a nature trail and garden crafts for children, mud kitchen, plus talks and walks. Open days on the 28th and 30th July.

At Kia-Ora Farm & Gardens, Devon you can leisurely stroll around, you will be taken back in time to your childhood, with the fascinating Nursery Avenue – amazing works of art from Humpty Dumpty to Little Miss Muffet! Also novelty crazy golf. Multiple open days throughout the summer.

The Manor in Gloucestershire offers croquet and tennis on open days so it makes a great day out for the whole family.

Twigs Community Garden is in Wiltshire and has an Iron Age roundhouse that gives shade and seclusion on a hot summer’s day, whilst the fitness trail offers a gentle challenge to the energetic.  Their National Garden Scheme open day is on the 21st July.

Twigs Community Garden, Wiltshire

Other family friendly gardens in the South West

Bristol – 9 Greenpark Road, St Monica Trust, University of Bristol Botanic Gardens

Devon – Andrew’s Corner, Linden Rise, Moretonhampstead Gardens, Riverford Field Kitchen Garden, Squirrels, Summers Place

Dorset – Herons Mead, Lawsbrook, The Secret Garden & Serles House

Gloucestershire – Highnam Court, Trench Hill 

Somerset – Hestercombe Gardens, The Walled Gardens of Cannington


45 Great North Road have a children’s fun trail for 3-6 year olds and adult garden quiz with prizes. Open day on the 4th August and also open by arrangement.

26 Normandy Avenue, Barnet challenge you to take part in ‘I Spy’ 42 objects for kids (of any age!). Open day on the 14th July.

18 Park Crescent, London

18 Park Crescent, Finchley is a constantly evolving “Secret Garden”. They run a children’s treasure hunt. Open on 23rd June and 21st July.

Other gardens that welcome families in London

Golf Course Allotments, Hampstead Garden Suburb Gardens, 48 Erskine Hill, 25 Mulberry Way, 22 Dorset Road, Royal Trinity Hospice

East of England

Barnards Farm in Essex has so much to explore! Climb the Belvedere for the wider view and take the train for a woodland adventure. Multiple open days throughout the summer and also open by arrangement.

Enjoy a train ride at Barnards Farm, Essex

Hilldrop in Essex welcomes groups of children. The garden features a self build timber house with green roof, 6 other green roofs, 3 ponds, brownfield habitat which gives ideas for difficult areas, green roof shipping container garden room, wildlife friendly hedges including laid hedges. 2 wild flower meadows and ephemeral wetland. Open day on the 7th July and also by arrangement.

The Celebration Garden, Hertfordshire has a spiral grass maize and willow tunnel for children to explore. Multiple open days for the National Garden Scheme throughout September.

The Celebration Garden, Hertfordshire

Chickens, ducks and a rhea can be found at Tudor Lodgings, Norfolk. Open day on the 11th August. While Lexham Hall is in a lovely parkland setting with lots of space to run around. Open day on the 31st July.

Also in Norfolk, Dale Farm has music during the afternoon and remote-controlled model boats on pond for children. Open day on the 28th July. Whilst Wells-Next-the-Sea Gardens enable you to combine looking at small town gardens with a trip to the seaside.  You can reach the beach from the gardens by narrow gauge railway. Open day on the 7th July.

Enjoy remote controlled boats at Dale Farm, Norfolk

Other gardens that welcome families in the East

Bedfordshire – 22 Elmsdale Road

Cambridgeshire – Elm House, Sandpiper

Essex – The Beth Chatto Gardens, Green Island, Horkesley Hall, Little Myles, 69 Rundells – The Secret Garden, South Shoebury Hall

Hertfordshire – 102 Cambridge Road, 42 Falconer Road, Mackerye End House

Norfolk – Hoveton Hall Gardens

East Midlands

In Derbyshire, Cascades Gardens has the added attraction of an old lead mine which has had lighting installed – just right for the young explorer! Open days for the National Garden Scheme 21st July and 18th August. Raiswells House, Derbyshire has relaxed planting surrounding the children’s play area where fairies & toadstools can be found.

Mountain Ash, Leicestershire

Mountain Ash, Leicestershire has lots of places to explore and discover unexpected statues and ornaments, many of a humorous nature. Open by arrangement through til the end of August. Wigston Gardens, Leicestershire is full of ideas to attract wildlife and interesting use of upcycled materials.Open days on the 6th and 7th July.

68 Watts Lane, Lincolnshire is a great garden for children with an activity trail tofind where the frogs are hiding! how many different butterflies and bees, feed the fish and find Cedric the spider, Simon the snake and Colin the Crocodile. Multiple open days throughout July and August and open by arrangment.

In Northamptonshire, Lawn Cottage, 36 East Street has a vegetable patch, chickens and two pot bellied pigs. Features include a vintage farm cart and a classic car. Open as part of Long Buckby Gardens on the 21st July.

Other gardens that welcome families in the East Midlands

Derbyshire – Coxbench Hall, The Paddock, Renishaw Hall & Gardens, 10 Chestnut Way

Lincolnshire – Doddington Hall Gardens, Marigold Cottage

Northamptonshire – Briarwood, Castle Ashby Gardens

Nottinghamshire – Honeytree Tropical Garden, Lodge Mount, Rhubarb Farm

West Midlands


The Wrekin Giant’s boots

Edge Villa in Shropshire has a Wendy House and Teepee for children and riding toys on the tennis court. Open day on the 8th September and also by arrangement. At Windy Ridge, Shropshire children love exploring the winding paths and marvelling at the Wrekin Giant’s wellingtons. Open days on the 7th July, 11th August, and 8th September and also by arrangement.

82 Hay Green Lane, Staffordshire is deligtfully unusual, but certainly children love it, and their parents of course! Watch out for the animals[not real]. Open day on the 7th July as part of Bournville Village.

Astley Towne House, Worcestershire has a stumpery garden, woodland temple, tree top high safari lodge, revolving neo-classical summerhouse, columns with statuary and grotto based on Greek Mythology with water features and shell mosaics. A recent addition is ‘Mr McGregor’s’ vegetable garden. Multiple open days throughout the summer. Also in Worcestershire, Cowleigh Lodge offers a kids quiz sheet with a goody bag for all returned sheets. Open day on the 23rd June but also open by arrangement.

In Herefordshire, Ralph Court Gardens is a family orientated garden with a twist, incorporating an Italian Piazza, an African Jungle, Dragon Pool, Alice in Wonderland and the elves in their conifer forest and our new section ‘The Monet Garden’.

Enjoy a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Ralph Court Gardens, Herefordshire

Other gardens that welcome families in the West Midlands

Herefordshire – Southbourne and Pine Lodge, Woodview

Shropshire – Welshampton Gardens, Holly House

Staffordshire – 32 Knighton RoadDorothy Clive Garden, Pershall Farm Cottage, Whitewood Lodge, Woodbroke Quaker Study Centre, 2 Woodland Crescent

Warwickshire – Guy’s Cliffe Walled Garden, Stretton-on-Fosse Gardens

Worcestershire – The Dell House, Marlbrook Gardens, The River School, Spetchley Park Gardens, Whitlenge Gardens


At Llwyngarreg, Carmarthenshire, children will enjoy climbing inside the ‘monkey cage’ of willow and other living willow structures, which include a dome and 2 benches. There are also swings, dens and hiding in the jungly Miscanthus!

Bwlch y Geuffordd Gardens, Ceredigion is a great day out for all the family. There is plenty for children, and the young at heart, a play area, musical instruments, a train, den, treasure hunt, pond dipping, and fairy door. Open by arrangement only.

Bwlch y Geuffordd Gardens is great for families

Ty Glyn Walled Gardens, Ceredigion is a secluded walled garden in beautiful woodland setting alongside River Aeron, developed specifically for special needs children. The garden contains potager style, formal vegetable gardens, water features, adventure playground, unobtrusively placed musical instruments and mixed borders planted with calming colour schemes and unusual perennials and shrubs. Open for the National Garden Scheme on the 28th July.

Castell Cwrt, Gwent has woodland and hay meadow walks, chickens and geese, bees, livestock in fields and family pets. Children very welcome, animals to see and space to let off steam.

In Powys, Bryncelyn has donkeys, peacocks and a children’s play area. There are 3 acres for children to let off steam. Open days on the 14th and 15th September and also open arrangement through the summer. Tyn y Cwm, Powys has a children’s quiz and a fairy garden and also stunning views.

The stunning Tyn y Cwm in Powys

Other gardens that welcome families in Wales

Denbighshire – Caereuni, Delfryn, Llandegla Village Gardens, Ty Sioned

Glamorgan – Dinas Powys

Gwent – Birch Tree Well, Clytha Park, Croesllanfro Farm

Gwynedd – Llanidan Hall

Powys – Caebardd, Llanerch Lodge, Ceunant, 1 Church Bank, Dingle Nurseries and Garden, Ponthafren, Welsh Lavender

North West

Laskey Farm, Cheshire has a quiz for children and also a treehouse for children to explore. Open days for the 10th and 11th August and also by arrangement.

Hayton Village Gardens, Cumbria has a yew tree house at Kinrara and you can view gardens created by the local children at the primary school. Open day on the 7th July.

Lytham Hall, Lancashire has a mount, that can be climbed and 4km of paths and a children’s woodland trail. Open day is the 21st July.

Other gardens that welcome gardens in the North West

Cheshire – Lane End Cottage Gardens

Cumbria – Chapelside, Grange Fell Allotments, Holehird Gardens

Lancashire – Willowbrook Hospice Gardens

Yorkshire and the Humber

At Pilmoor Cottages, North Yorkshire you can take a ride on the 71/4′ Gauge railway runs through 2 acres of gardens and gives you the opportunity to view the garden from a different perspective. The journey takes you across water, through a little woodland area, past flower filled borders, and through a tunnel behind the rockery and water cascade. Open day on the 25th August and also open by arrangement.

Pilmoor Cottages, North Yorkshire

Brookfield in West Yorkshire is an intimate 1 acre garden with steps and paths leading down to a large pond with an island, mallards, wild geese and greylags. They also have a Round and Round the Garden children’s quiz. Open day on the 3rd July and also open by arrangement.

Jungle garden at 14 Chellsway, East Yorkshire

14 Chellsway, East Yorkshire is a jungle garden with grass and gravel paths surrounded by hardy and tender plants that is also by the sea. Open day on the 4th August.

Other gardens that welcome families in Yorkshire and the Humber

Highfield Cottage, 23 The Paddock, Fernleigh, Holmfield

North East

Walworth Gardens, Durham also has a large play area available so bring the family! Open day on the 18th August.

Bichfield Tower, Northumberland provides activities on the day for children including a fairy walk, sculpture walk. a croquet lawn and a tennis court (bring your own racquets). Open day on the 14th July.

Coldcotes Moor Farm, Northumberland has a play area created especially for the owners’ grandchildren and visiting children will enjoy it. Open days are the 17th and 21st July and you must pre-book tickets here or also open by arrangement.

Beautiful Coldcotes Moor Farm, Northumberland

Other gardens that welcome families in the North East

Durham – Kiplin Hall, Middleton Hall Retirement Village, Raby Castle, Ravensford Farm, Woodside


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