Flora Garden Tours take you to the finest gardens in Britain. As well as the famous gardens the tours visit lesser known but lovely ones, some rarely open to the public. The tour director and leader is Dr Barbara Sommerville, a biologist of international repute who has a deep interest in the history of gardening, landscape and architecture.
This is an excellent time to visit because Spring arrives early in this, the mildest part of England. The bulbs and alpines will be ablaze and there will be Camelias, Magnolias, Rhododendrons and fruit trees blossoming. The typical Cornish garden has tree ferns, palms and many species of Magnolia, some 50 feet high covering the sides of steep valleys running down to a river estuary.
Upton House Garden
The Cotswold Hills, lying between Birmingham to the North and Oxford to the South, are renowned for their picturesque honey coloured stone-built villages. Here are some world-class gardens commemorated in the names of famous flower and fruit cultivars such as Blenheim Palace, Hidcote Manor and Kiftsgate Court. There are also the homes of famous gardeners like Beatrix Havergal at Waterperry who ran one of the first horticultural colleges for women.
The tour starts and finishes in Bath and stays at The Cross in a quaint old village near Wells. Bath is easily accessible by fast trains from London Paddington to Bath Spa station.
The tour will begin with coffee in the elegant Georgian Spa pump room followed by a visit to the Roman Baths… Read more
Hampton Court Flower Show
Between London and the South coast are the chalk hills of the North and the South Downs and in between these two ranges is the fertile clay of the ‘Weald’, where some of the most romantic gardens in the world have been created. Several have graced the homes of famous people like Vita Sackville-West’s Sissinghurst, Anne Boleyn's Hever Castle and Churchill’s Chartwell. Others, such as Nymans and Great Dixter, are the creation of famous gardeners. We also visit the award winning garden at Pashley Manor. This tour visits a selection of these and many other great and small gardens: the most romantic Scotney Castle, Polesdon Lacy - an artist’s garden set in ravishing scenery; and, of course, Wisley, the home of the Royal Horticultural Society.
This tour spends a day at the Hampton Court Flower Show [or alternatively Hampton Court Palace] This is one of the largest flower shows, which we approach along the time honoured route of the River Thames. Read more
The Pepys Library, Cambridge (photo Cindy McGregor)
This tour is based at The Arundel House Hotel, Chesterton Road, Cambridge for the first three days allowing us to explore the gardens, ancient buildings and countryside in and close to the city. Read more
Other tours will be run in response to a group of at least four people applying and will take place at times to suit this group. There will be space for others to join a tour once it is guaranteed to run.
The itinerary of each tour may be adjusted to suit the initial group.
We experienced the gardens and houses of the Cotswolds at all levels: the grand, the intimate and the fun’s fancy. This was all made possible by Barbara’s flexibility and wonderful connections with the locals from drivers to land owners.
― A.L. from Cambridge Massachusetts USA
In addition to the scheduled tours mentioned above Flora Garden Tours offers two special services:
Any of the scheduled tours may be run on other dates for groups of four or more people;
Tours to other parts of the British Isles, or tours centred on special interest themes can be arranged on a tailor-made basis. Such tours can incorporate castles and stately homes, as well as gardens: see, for example, Yorkshire and Northumberland.
Special interest themes include Garden Shows Garden Design and Garden History, Tours for Gardeners, Flower Arrangers and Artists, Mediaeval Architecture and English History and Prehistoric and Archaeological sites.
Please make your requests: Flora Garden Tours will be happy to oblige.
Your guidance was inspirational! Gardens, gardens, gardens is your motto. I loved the small cottage gardens and have wonderful visual memories!
― D.C. from Alaska USA on a special tour of Yorkshire and Cumbria
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