‘Full Colour’: readers’ favorite gardens in the UK | Public Holidays in UK

Winning Tip: Amber Drifts, North Yorkshire

The walled garden of champagne, near Malton, offers so much: it is a set of modern garden rooms within the walls of the 18th century vegetable garden and has a beautifully restored conservatory, garden cafe and plant shop. In 2003, Dutch designer Piet Oudolf (who helped design New York’s High Line) created contrasts in structure and form: from yew columns, ashlar squares, and pleated linden trees to amber drifts of molinia grasses and the perennial flower meadow. Scampston Hall is the home of the Legard family and within its grounds you can explore walking trails through 18th-century Capability Brown countryside, past mature trees, follies and an ornamental lake.
Gardens only ticket adults £9, children £5, scampston.co.uk
Suzanne Callaghan

Whisper in awe, Cromarty, near Inverness

Hugh Miller Cottage
Photo: National Trust for Scotland

Miller’s Yard: Garden of Wonders is little more than a backyard, but it is a secret, silent space packed with the wonders of its title – a visual and sensory microcosm of art, geology and nature. Admire okra-green ferns, candy-headed geraniums, and pink spikes persicaria, each peering out artfully where they will and swaying in the wind, as do swallows and dragonflies. Swallow a giant ammonite sculpture made of etched brass and scrap copper, patinated in orange and maroon. Step on fossil fish forms set into the bleached gray stone slabs. A quiet, secluded place where visitors whisper in awe.
adults £6.50, nts.org.uk
Anna Tudor

Lincolnshire’s Secret

The Secret Garden of Louth

That secret garden in the market town of Louth is a tropical paradise full of fascinating plants, including 15 varieties of bananas. The path meanders around a pond and an exotic island with multiple seating areas, the air scented with evocative scents. The owners, as collectors of plants, are constantly in search of new pleasures. This private garden is open for the NGS in July and August.
£3, booking required, findagarden.ngs.org.uk

Essex Experiment

Hilldrop Garden
Photo: Sarah Cuttle

hill, in Horndon-on-the-Hill, is an experimental garden using industrial waste for soil, a drying garden, a recycling garden – and it’s an experiment that worked because it’s the most beautiful garden we’ve been to, full of insects and birdlife . It’s hard to believe that this stunning beauty was created from materials used to widen the A13, along with other unlikely substrates. It’s a living, organic example of how climate change allows our gardens to thrive. The website doesn’t quite express how amazing it is.
£5, ngs.org.uk
Jan Mack

Roman Roots, West Sussex

The Triclinium (outdoor dining area) at Fishbourne Roman Palace.
The Triclinium (outdoor dining area) at Fishbourne Roman Palace. Photo: Paris Franz/Alamy

My favorite garden to visit is at Fishbourne Roman Palace in west sussex. Not only is this perhaps the oldest known formal garden in the United Kingdom, but it is also located in the courtyard of the largest Roman residence north of the Alps, begun in AD 75, just 30 years after the invasion of Britain. The plants used in the reconstructed garden, based on archaeological bed ditches, are species known to have been grown in ancient times. It is an oasis of Roman civilization on the remote northwestern border of Britannia. Hail Pomona, goddess of gardens, fruit trees and orchards.
Adults £12, Children £6, sussexpast.co.uk
David Russell Rudling

Arts and Crafts Principles, Leeds

York Gate Garden
Photo: Ros Crosland/Alamy

York Gate Garden only covers one acre but feels much larger. The garden forms themed rooms. You will be guided to discover herbaceous borders, a vegetable garden, a stream garden, among other things loggia, dents and follies. The ingenious division gives a glimpse of what is to come, and the planting on different levels also creates space. Inspired by the 19th-century Arts and Crafts movement, craftsmanship is evident throughout this space, designed between the 1950s and 1990s, and no two benches are alike. Paths meander in and out, alternative routes avoid steps. You are also welcome to walk around a second time to see every colorful crack.
£7, perennial.org.uk
Debbie rolls


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Charming hideaway in South London

There are community gardens all over London that are often overlooked by people who head to the famous parks. Walworth Garden is my favorite. A stone’s throw from Kennington train station, this is a nature hub that stretches well beyond its borders. Educational programs train professional gardeners to work across South London. Meanwhile, free workshops lure people into the charming retreat. The plants have it all too: bananas, extensive herbs and vegetables as well as magnificent espalier apple trees. It is beautiful, expertly maintained and truly community oriented. Perfect.
Free, walworthgarden.org.uk
Sarah Collings

Salvia sensation, Kent

Perennial border Great Comp Garden
Photo: Plantography/Alamy

Dazzling rhododendron blossoms pass from the baton to hundreds of pink and indigo blue sage blossoms in the hidden idyll in early June Great comp garden between Sevenoaks and Maidstone. Once the home of a prominent suffragette and pioneering English cricketer, Great Comp is now known as the site of one of the most important Salvia collections in Europe. Mexican hardy sage plants, blooms from Argentina, an Italian garden and swaying grasses make this three-acre garden a horticultural honeypot near south-east London. A perfect place to put the phone away and just make time for the quiet within its walls.
Adults £8.50, Children £3, greatcompgarden.co.uk
Vicky Rimmer

Herbal high, Snowdonia

Caeraus Gardens

Caerau Gardens near Bala claims to be the tallest public garden in North Wales at 304 metres. There are certainly beautiful views, plenty of examples of thoughtful planting and an eclectic mix of elements from former show gardens. The owners, Toby and Stephanie Hickish, have made sure there is entertainment for children with a sunken trampoline and zip line among the attractions – it’s not a garden that takes itself too seriously. Tasty offers from the café and a small selection of plants for sale complete the offer. We received a very friendly welcome from Stephanie – it’s not always easy to get into conversation with the garden designer. caerau-gardens.co.uk
Isabel C

Colourfulness, Cotswolds

Hidcote Manor Garden
Photo: Chun Ju Wu/Alamy

Hidcote is an Arts and Crafts inspired garden with intricately designed outdoor spaces. Created by gardener and Boer War veteran Lawrence Johnston – who developed a keen interest in African flora during the conflict – it features colorful outdoor ‘rooms’ that are full of surprises. It was donated to the National Trust in 1947 when Johnston decided to turn his attention to his garden at Serre de la Madone in Provence, France. Visitors with an eye for design will love the maze of narrow cobbled pathways and secret gardens filled with colorful plants. Many of the species growing here were collected from distant locations by Johnston’s plant hunting trips. It’s the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for gardening inspiration. Among the visitors and residents of the garden are green woodpeckers and hummingbird hawk moths.
adult £15, child £7.50 nationaltrust.org.uk
Khalida parveen

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