No matter what time of year, visiting a National Trust property is a great day out. Not only does the Trust keep some of the grandest and most interesting homes across the country safe and in great condition, they are home to some of the most wonderful gardens and landscapes, guaranteed to provide those with green fingers with plenty of inspiration. Here we go through nine National Trust gardens that we think you will love as they truly highlight the beauty of nature in the UK.
1. Cragside - Northumberland
Cragside is one of the National Trust’s largest properties and it is full of amazing things to see. No matter what season you visit, you will discover amazing garden displays. The summer months bring thousands of azaleas and rhododendrons and amazing colour to the estate. The gardeners are still using Victorian techniques and style as their inspiration, with a colourful Victorian woodland. A new flower bed is also designed each year which involves approximately 20,000 plants. As you walk along the 40 miles of footpaths, you will see an array of spectacular views. Not only can you truly enjoy the stunning floral arrangements, you can visit the rock gardens on the slopes of the valley, lakes and the arboretum, Pinetum; home to the tallest Scots Pine in the UK (40m high).
2. Lacock Abbey - Wiltshire
There is so much to do at Lacock Abbey. Not only can you visit the historic house and The Fox Talbot Museum of photography, but you can wonder round Lacock village itself as the entire village is protected by the National Trust. The rose and botantical gardens are bursting with colour especially during the summer months, becoming a haven for butterflies and bees. You can also visit the woodland garden for more of a tranquil and shady feel. You may recognise some of the village whilst you go for a walk as it is used for filming regularly and has appeared in Pride & Prejudice and Harry Potter.
3. Wimpole Estate- Cambridgeshire
Over 150,000 bulbs are planted at the Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire. From globes of alliums & starlike camassia, to pink gladioli and bright foxtail lilies, the floral displays are an explosion of colour and scent. Visit the walled garden and glasshouse where flowers are produced and nurtured. If you are seeking shade or relaxation you can also visit the nearby woodland which is great for exploring.
4. Mottisfont- Hampshire
Mottisfont is home to old fashioned roses which date back to before 1900 and with over 500 varieties, the colour and fragrant displays are amazing to look at. The flower borders within the walled garden are always full of a range of colourful flowers, so this is truly a place to visit if you love flowers. The borders range from soft blues, whites and pinks to vibrant stronger oranges, yellows and dark pinks. Taking a stroll along the River Test that runs within the grounds of Mottisfont is also a great way to view the local wildlife.
5. Fenton House and Garden - London
You will find it difficult to discover somewhere with more stunning panoramic views of London. The Fenton House and Garden is a 17th century house close to Hampstead Heath. Their formal garden is a joy to see, with its bright, colourful flower borders and neat lawns. The sunken rose garden is worth a visit in summer where you can enjoy the fragrant blooms at their best. They also have a functional kitchen garden and orchard which is home to 32 different varieties of heritage apples and pears.
6. Bodnant Garden, Conwy Wales
A lot of work has been put into this garden over the years to transform it into something truly stunning. Seasonal planting ensures there is beauty and colour throughout the year. Daffodils dominate the spring garden, moving onto rhododendrons and azaleas. Roses and hydrangeas are the stars of the show in summer and autumn and winter bring irises and thousands of snowdrops. Along with formal flower borders, full of bright and fragrant plants, there are also wildlife havens and tranquil pools to enjoy as well.
7. Hidcote - Gloucestershire
This estate is split into several “outdoor rooms” each which its own theme and personality. They start as formal gardens the closer you are to the house. These gardens were created by someone who truly had a passion for plants. Lawrence Jonston created the gardens at Hidcote and undertook many plant hunting trips to faraway places such as the Alps, China and South Africa in order to bring back unusual plants with a range of scents, colours and textures for his garden He was such a keen gardener, there are many plants named after him today such as the Fuschia which is also known as “Hidcote Beauty” and Hypericum which is alternatively referred to as “Hidcote Gold”.
8. Nymans- West Sussex
The 13-hectare garden is home to the largest collection of South American plants in England. From formal flower beds and manicured lawns to flower meadows and wild areas, there is plenty to see here all year round. The garden was created in the late 19th Century by Ludwig Messel who was a plantsman and designer and worked alongside Head Gardener, James Comber. Together, they spent a lot of time and money breeding new cultivars. After Ludwig’s death, his work was continued by his son to finish Ludwig’s designs. The Nursery is home to sowing seeds and nurturing young plants all year round and grows around 7,000 plants a year for the garden and plant centre. They work closely with the National Trust Plant Conservation Centre as well to help protect plant species.
9. Sissinghurst Castle - Kent
These gardens are amongst some of the most famous in the country. The White Garden is full of gladioli, irises, dahlias and anemones, all of striking white tones. The Rose Garden is filled with roses and honeysuckle and the South Cottage Garden is filled with colour well into autumn. You can also enjoy the amazing smells coming from the herb garden, explore the nuttery, and visit the Spring Garden which is filled with long flower beds of tulips and hyacinths filling the garden with spectacular colour.
Wherever you are in the country, there is a National Trust garden within travelling distance to explore, enjoy and hopefully be inspired by. Visit the National Trust website to discover more locations, opening hours and prices.
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