For a truly lovely day out, the United Kingdom is home to a frankly ridiculous number of beautiful public gardens, so you’re really spoiled for choice. Don’t bother struggling with sand between your toes at the beach, visit a garden instead! Here are five of the best.
1. Coughton Court, Warwickshire
Recently celebrating its 600th anniversary, Coughton Court was closely connected to Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot and houses 25 spectacular acres of gardens. A beautiful courtyard guides you to a knot garden, and then on to some breath-taking views of the local countryside.
Coughton Court has such a variety of different gardens, from an orchard with unusual fruits such as medlars and Worcestershire Black Pears, to a daffodil garden dedicated to the rare Throckmorton variety. The highlight though, is the walled garden, with a change to the usual hedge maze – they have a rose labyrinth instead!
2. Inverary Castle, Argyll
As the name might imply, Inverary has a castle as well as a garden, so you can mix it up a bit and get the best of both. It is the ancestral home of the chief of the Clan Campbell, the castle took 43 years to build, finally being completed in 1786. It has an armory an old kitchen, a Victorian room and a clan room, among others.
The gardens are gorgeous, heavily featuring the famous Highland azaleas and rhododendrons, and there’s also the “Flag-Borders” the paths are laid out like the St Andrew’s Cross. The garden has attracted visitors from far and wide, most notably Queen Victoria, so you can expect a day out fit for a royal.
3. Chartwell, Kent
Just another garden? No, Chartwell was only the family home and garden of the late, great Sir Winston Churchill! The interior of the house has changed little since the PM’s passing in 1924, so there’s a lot of information and personal artifacts to take in, not to mention books and paintings.
There are a number of exhibitions and events throughout the year, and the estate is home to beautiful gardens and woodland. If you stop for a bit to eat by the lake, make sure you keep an eye out for the majestic black swans.
4. Ness Gardens, Merseyside
Ness Gardens is a fantastically interesting place for the entire family to enjoy. Famous for having more than 10,000 (ten thousand!) different types of plants, they also have a wide variety of rare specimens for study as well as a gorgeous wildflower meadow.
The botanical gardens at Ness near Liverpool are situated on the Dee estuary, you can allow your eyes to bathe in the scenic views as you bite into your sandwiches, or you could even enjoy one of the myriad events they host!
5. Alnwick Garden, Northumberland
Entering the Alnwick Garden is like taking a step into a different world. There’s a fantastic ornamental garden with incredible water features, or if you’re a bit morbid you can take sadistic pleasure in the poison garden, home to the deadliest of plants!
There is also a giant treehouse with a huge walkway, and adjoining all this is Alnwick Castle, which you might just recognize from the Harry Potter films…