The Green Giant, Lost Gardens of Heligan
Green Giant, Lost Gardens of Heligan

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.

The Cotswold Tour 2014

Friday 23rd to Tuesday 27th May, based at Stow-on-the-Wold

The Cotswold Hills, lying between Birmingham to the North and Oxford to the South, are renowned for their picturesque honey coloured sand-stone 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.

Chelsea Flower Show runs 20th–24th May

See the Cotswolds tour itinerary.

The Hampton Court tour 2014

8–13th July 2014

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, one of the largest, which we approach along the time honoured route of the River Thames. Our base is the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells where we stay at the Tunbridge Wells Hotel on the “Pantiles”, a pillared pedestrian precinct by the Chalybeate spring, paved by Queen Anne. It was very popular in Georgian times when Richard ‘Beau’ Nash organised the seasonal entertainments.

See the itinerary for more detail.

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 but the list is a guide to suitable locations for visiting gardens.

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

Special Tours

In addition to the scheduled tours mentioned above FLORA Garden Tours offers two special services:

  1. Any of the scheduled tours may be run on other dates for groups of four or more people;

  2. 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, the North of England (Gardens of Yorkshire and Northumberland).

    Special interest themes include National Garden Shows in 2014, 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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For printed information, please contact

Dr B Sommerville
FLORA Garden Tours
Hythe Cottage,
Ferry Road,
Norfolk, PE33 9PT
United Kingdom

e-mail: enquiries@flora-garden-tours.co.uk or tours-2014@flora-garden-tours.co.uk
Tel: International +44 1366 328 946 (with answering machine outside office hours)