Day 1 – 29 June 2019
Check-in Doubletree by Hilton Victoria Hotel, London
Guests can check into the hotel from 14:00. This is the first of three nights that we will stay at the very comfortable Doubletree by Hilton Victoria Hotel during this tour. We’ve chosen this hotel not only for its comfort but also its location. From here you can explore some of the main London landmarks on foot: Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Harrods, and the famous Oxford and Bond Street shopping are all nearby. Meet your tour guide and fellow garden visitors over complimentary drinks between 1800-1900 . Make you own arrangements for Dinner.
Day 2 – 30 June 2019
Gardens Visited : Mottisford Abbey, Longstock Water Gardens.
After breakfast we’ll leave our hotel by luxury coach and travel from central London into Hampshire and visit Mottisford Abbey, the first of two gardens that we will visit today. The garden with its collection of old fashioned roses forms an impressive backdrop to the 12th century abbey. Some of the most well-known garden designers of the 20th century have left their mark on this garden. Geoffrey Jellicoe landscaped the pleached lime walk, Russell Page advised on the introduction of many summer flowering shrubs such as Hibiscus syriacus, ceanothus and potentillas whilst Norah Lindsay created a small parterre south of the summer house. However, it’s the Graham Thomas collection of historic roses for which the garden is most famous. In fact, when the walled garden with its collection of historic roses first opened in the 1970s it caused a sensation. Today there are two walled gardens one containing gallicas, albas and damasks dating from the Middle Ages and the other with centifolias, moss roses, rugosas, early and hybrid teas. Mottisford is probably the loveliest rose garden in Britain. We leave Mottisford Abbey and head for the charming town of Winchester. Famous for its cathedral, we’ll have a leisurely lunch here in a typical English pub after which we will travel the short distance to Longstock Water Gardens. Created by John Spedan Lewis, the founder of the John Lewis Partnership and set in 170 acres (68 ha), Longstock Water Garden with its extensive collection of bog and aquatic plants is probably the best of its kind in Europe. In many ways it’s a little Venice. There are countless islands linked together by a series of narrow bridges and causeways all surrounded by crystal clear water from the River Test. From this vantage point we’ll see more than 48 types of water lilies, intense plantings of all types of water loving plants such as astilbes, primulas, kingcups, hemerocallis, musks and irises. All of which are sure to leave you with a deep impression. We travel to Audley’s Wood, a luxury 4* Country House Hotel where we will check-in for a 3-night stay. Audley’s Wood gives us a glimpse of traditional country estate living with a modern twist. The bedrooms here are elegant and the beds very comfortable and we are all sure to get a good night’s rest. Make you own arrangements for Dinner either by choosing to eat in one of the hotels two restaurants or nearby at one of the restaurants recommended by the hotel’s concierge.
Day 3 – 1 July 2019
Gardens Visited: Manor House, Bury Court, Bramdean House Garden.
Today we visit three local contrasting gardens. First we visit Manor House. Since 1984 its owners of have painfully restored this Gertrude Jekyll garden to its full glory. Using Jekyll’s original plans, this 5-acre garden is an authentic recreation of the past. At the side of the house we find a wild garden, with rambling roses, wild flowers and a water lily pond. Rich herbaceous borders with color palettes ranging from cool blue to hot red and every conceivable color in between have bought the garden back to its original Edwardian splendor. If it’s not too busy, we’ll stay and have lunch at Manor House if not we’ll have a pub lunch at one of the authentic British country pubs nearby. Quite different to Manor House garden we next visit Bury Court, a 1.5-acre garden upon which two contemporary masters have left their mark. At the front of the house we see Christopher Bradley-Hole’s modernist grid design of raised beds planted with grasses interspersed with unusual perennials. At the back of the house in the walled garden we see Piet Oudolf’s trademark use of grasses set in asymmetrical beds of perennials with clipped hedges in a naturalistic style and a gravel bed planted with Mediterranean species all with a silver palette. Our final visit of the day is Bramdean House Garden. Behind the fine 18th Century red brick house lies 5 acres of garden. We’re visiting this garden to admire the exemplary mirror-image herbaceous borders that lead away from the back of the house and which are planted with over 100 different types of plants. The borders reach their peak during late June so our visit is well timed. Through a first set of iron gates we reach an exceptionally well kept walled kitchen garden with an abundance of fruit and vegetables, and through a second gate we’ll visit an orchard with fruit trees and hedging. At the end of this full day, we return back to Audley’s Wood for the second night of our stay. Make you own arrangements for Dinner either choosing to eat in one of the hotels two restaurants or nearby at one of the restaurants recommended by the concierge at our hotel.
Day 4 – 2 July 2019
Gardens Visited: Stourhead, Shute House.
After a leisurely breakfast we leave Audley’s Wood Hotel by coach and travel a short distance to visit Stourhead, the greatest surviving example of an 18th century English landscape garden. Set around a Palladian mansion the Stourhead landscape was first created in 1744 by Henry Fitcroft. Temples and grottos were built around natural springs and today are best viewed from different vantage points on the opposite side of the lake. Subsequent owners of the estate had more interest in plants and between 1791-2 many varieties of oak, elm, holly, willow, crataegus were planted next to the lake. At this time the first rhododendrons were also planted. Later in the 19th century many conifers were introduced as well as more flowering trees, shrubs, rhododendrons and azaleas. After our tour, we’ll stay on the grounds of the Stourhead estate and have lunch in a typical English pub. Shute House was originally a 15th century pilgrims inn. Today, it’s famous for its water gardens. The most famous feature of the garden is its musical cascade. Visitors can make their way through the many garden paths and discover different themed spaces. After we’ve explored the garden we’ll have afternoon tea here. As we are so close, we will pay a short visit to Stonehenge, the iconic neolithic monument made using stones transported from Wales and built for an unknown purpose. Stonehenge itself is a protected site but we’ll get as close as we can after learning more about it during a short visit to the Stonehenge Visitors Centre. We return to our hotel for the third night of our stay. Make you own arrangements for Dinner either choosing to eat in one of the hotels two restaurants or nearby at one of the restaurants recommended by the Hotel’s concierge.
Day 5 - 3 July 2019
Gardens Visited: West Dean House, West Green House.
Today is the last day we spend in Hampshire and we’ll visit two contrasting gardens each of which is sure to leave you with a lasting impression. There has been a garden at West Dean House since 1622. Bought by William James in 1891, today its crowning glory of West Dean House is its kitchen garden. With over 1 mile of walls and 13 Victorian glasshouses a huge variety of plants are grown here. No space is wasted. The walls of the kitchen garden are covered in more than 200 trained apple, pear and plum trees. In the kitchen garden itself, you will find all the usual vegetables being grown in rows next alongside herbaceous borders. Beyond the 3.5 acre walled garden there is an arboretum, 35 acres of ornamental gardens including a sunken garden and over 240 acres of landscaped park. West Dean House is an unexpected delight. We’ll have time enough to lunch here at West Dean House before visiting the second garden of the day, West Green House. West Green House garden has been created by the renowned Australian gardener Marylyn Abbott. The gardens surround an extremely attractive 1720s manor house and include a number of inner 18th Century walled gardens one with a parterre, another of more classical design with topiary. There is the main walled garden that includes a water garden with a Nymphaeum, a potager as well as an impressive neo-classical park where you will find birdcages, monuments and other garden elements designed by Quinlan Terry. There is much of great interest to see in this exceptional garden. At the end of the day, we travel back into central London from the Hampshire countryside and check back into the Doubletree by Hilton Victoria for the first of two nights. Make you own arrangements for Dinner either in the hotel or at one of the restaurants recommended by the concierge at our hotel.
Day 6 - 4 July 2019
Gardens Visited: RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, Hampton Court Palace Gardens.
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is the largest flower show in the world and is held once a year at Hampton Court Palace in southwest London. Here you will find show gardens, marquees with floral displays, talks and practical demonstrations. The Hampton Court Flower show has a very different character to Chelsea Flower Show. Like Chelsea, at Hampton Court you’ll find contemporary and traditional show gardens but here the emphasis is on practical eco-friendly gardening, examples of which you can see in the Lifestyle, Kitchen and Communities Gardens on display. There is much to see at the show with new areas being added every year. In the afternoon around 15:30 we will all meet up and visit the historic gardens at Hampton Court Palace itself. Being so close by, it would be a shame not to. Lunch today will be on your own at one of the many eateries you’ll find at the show. Hampton Court Palace was designed by Sir Christopher Wren for King William III & Queen Mary II. It’s gardens largely date from the late 17th century and were laid out in the formal French style. The maze was planted in Queen Anne’s rein and the famous Great Vine was planted in 1769 and today is said to bear almost 300 kg of fruit every year! Like the main palace buildings, the orangery was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Much of the garden has been painstakingly renovated and strictly adheres to the original plans and planting schemes: roses, fritillaries and other flowering plants widely spaced in raised beds just as they would have been 300 years ago. The garden is very large and it takes many hours to view all the different gardens and styles. We’ll do our best to take in as much as possible before we have to return to our hotel for the last night of the tour. At the end of the day, we’ll travel back to central London on our luxury coach for the last night of this tour. Make you own arrangements for Dinner either in the hotel or at one of the restaurants recommended by the Hotel’s concierge.
Day 7 - 5 July 2019
Gardens Visited: Kew Gardens.
Checkout of the hotel will be 12 noon. For those staying in London or who want to extend their tour just a little longer we include a complimentary (optional) short trip this morning between 0900-1200 to visit the recently reopened Temperate House at the world-famous Kew Gardens (minimum of 10 people). The Temperate House is said to be the largest remaining Victorian glasshouse in the world and is home to a collection of rare and threatened temperate zone plants. After our short tour, we’ll all drive back to our hotel in central London and for those that will continue their onward journey, say farewell to London and the gardens of Hampshire.