We’re lucky to have some of the finest gardens in the world, from national treasures such as Kew, Sissinghurst and Wisley to the thousands of smaller private gardens open for charity.
Many of them do so under the National Garden Scheme, which raises money for good causes in England and Wales through garden openings, plant sales and teas — its president is none other than the queen of cakes herself, Dame Mary Berry. There is also a Scottish version, Scotland’s Gardens Scheme.
A number of these ‘open gardens’ properties also offer B&B or self-catering accommodation, allowing the chance to revel in some of the most spectacular gardens in the country. Here is our pick of the places to stay to delight any garden lover.
The Easton estate in Lincolnshire has a pair of stone cottages, The Gatehouse and May Lodge, as well as smaller Loft suites
The Easton estate properties have been lovingly restored
The historic Easton estate, in the heart of Lincolnshire, has a pair of beautifully fitted-out stone cottages, The Gatehouse and May Lodge, as well as smaller Loft suites. The properties, which each sleep two, are on the edge of the renowned 12-acre garden, lovingly restored over the past 20 years. Guests have access to the garden at any time.
Don’t miss: Wandering among the roses, sweet peas and two acres of wildflower meadows before breakfast, or sitting in the garden at night and stargazing.
How to do it: Cottages from £650 a week, or from £400 for two nights; the Lofts from £150 for two nights (eastonholidaycottages.co.uk).
A 470-acre working farm, Greenwick Farm near York has sweeping views across the Wolds. The Victorian farmhouse B&B has three double bedrooms, or guests can stay in two nearby eco-pods with bathrooms and kitchenettes. There is unrestricted access to the quiet one-acre garden, developed from disused farmland. Guests can enjoy the terrace, a large dell with mature trees, flower borders, a stumpery and the water feature.
Don’t miss: Enjoying an evening drink while taking in the glorious views from the garden towards a wooded valley teeming with birdlife.
How to do it: B&B from £100 a night, or a pod from £85 (greenwickfarm.co.uk).
Arley Hall (pictured) near Northwich in Cheshire offers a smartly furnished cottage, Chapel House, which sleeps four
Dating back more than 250 years, the superb, flower-filled garden at Arley Hall near Northwich in Cheshire covers eight acres. One of the locations for the TV show Peaky Blinders, Arley offers a smartly furnished cottage, Chapel House, which sleeps four. It’s just a few steps from the cottage to the garden, and guests get free entry to it between 10am and 5pm. There’s also an excellent tearoom.
Don’t miss: The huge double herbaceous borders, a tapestry of colourful blooms set against immaculately clipped yew hedges.
How to do it: A week from £533 to £1,100 (ruralretreats.co.uk).
Hideaway Loft at Laversdale in Cumbria is a charming thatched cottage sleeping two. The cottage sits within the garden, surrounded by abundant flowers, arches, grottoes and a rill, with plenty of seats dotted around from which to admire the countryside. Guests have their own seating area with a barbecue by the cottage, but are welcome to use the rest of the garden.
Don’t miss: Magnificent views across the Lake District, the Pennines and the hills of the Scottish Borders.
How to do it: Hideaway Loft from £90 a night or £504 for a week (hideawayloft.co.uk).
On the High Glanau Manor estate in Gwent there is a stylishly furnished stone cottage sleeping two (pictured)
High Glanau Manor near Monmouth in Gwent, an Arts and Crafts garden laid out in 1922, is full of period charm, with an Edwardian glasshouse, stone terraces and pergolas. In late spring, visitors can enjoy the rhododendrons and azaleas, while in the summer expect flower-packed borders and an orchard filled with wildflowers. Nestling in the 12-acre plot is The Garden House, a stylishly furnished self-catering stone cottage sleeping two.
Don’t miss: Watching the sun set over the Vale of Usk towards Sugar Loaf and the Brecon Beacons.
How to do it: From £125 a night (airbnb.co.uk).
CIDER WITH COSY
Cider Barrel Cottage in Somerset is a former cider store that is now an inviting two-bedroom house
Cider Barrel Cottage, a former cider store near Cheddar in Somerset, has been turned into a comfortable two-bedroom house with a conservatory.
The cottage is in a large, lush garden with sweeping lawns, a brook, pergolas, arbours and an impressive collection of trees, shrubs and perennial plants. Guests can access the garden at any time, and also explore the four and a half acres of working cider apple orchards. Owner Kathy Longhurst likes visitors to go home with a cutting or two from the garden.
Don’t miss: Micro pigs Raquel and Cassandra.
How to do it: From £460 to £600 a week; but fully booked until late August (ciderbarrelcottage.co.uk).
Established in 1980, Coddington Vineyard near Ledbury in Herefordshire has two acres of vines, plus a fine garden with waterside planting, a wildlife meadow, woodland, roses and flower borders.
Guests can use the garden or wander through the vineyards, or explore the threshing barn and cider mill. You stay in the newly-renovated Hop Cottage, a two-bedroom, Grade II-listed cottage ideal for families, or in the Vine Lodge log cabin, which sleeps two and is located in the vineyard.
Don’t miss: Tasting the estate’s wine, sparkling wine, apple juice and ice cream.
How to do it: From £160 a night (coddingtonvineyard.co.uk).
Guests who stay at Gordon Castle in the Highlands are free to access the huge Walled Garden during the daytime
One of the most Instagrammed gardens in the country, the huge Walled Garden at Gordon Castle in the Highlands brims with flowers, fruit, herbs, vegetables and 3,000 lavender plants. Guests, who are free to access the garden during the daytime, stay at one of five self-catering properties: the Garden House sleeping eight; the Kennel Cottage, for six; the Courtyard Cottage and the Lakeside Cottage, each for four; and Quarry Gardens Lodge, for two.
Don’t miss: Sampling the gin, jams and chutneys — plus toiletries made from garden herbs.
How to do it: From £629 to £861 for smaller properties, £1,151-£1,799 for the largest (gordoncastle.co.uk).