DAY 1 LONDON – IGHTHAM MOTE – SCOTNEY CASTLE – TUNBRIDGE WELLS
Our tour of England’s green and pleasant land begins at one of its most unique manor houses. Igtham Mote dates back Stop and smell the roses on this leisurely tour of Southeast England’s greatest gardens and show-stealing stately homes. And the jewel in the crown? A trip to the green-fingered event of the year, the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show. over 700 years, and can only be reached by crossing pretty stone bridges that stretch over its very own moat. Our next stop is Scotney Castle. With tumbledown walls, turrets strewn with ivy and a tangled garden, this medieval relic is straight out of a fairy tale. The end of our action-packed first day brings us to Tunbridge Wells, a historic spa town with a pretty town centre, where we enjoy a welcome dinner (D)
DAY 2 TUNBRIDGE WELLS – SISSINGHURST CASTLE – GREAT DIXTER – TUNBRIDGE WELLS
This morning our road turns east to Sissinghurst Castle Gardens. Created by writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson in the 1930s, it is renowned for its romantic design and colourful rose gardens. Next we swap architectural layouts for a naturalistic approach to planting at Great Dixter. We tour the old, timber-framed house that was home to British gardening royalty, Christopher Lloyd, and explore the gardens that were his pride and joy. (B)
DAY 3 TUNBRIDGE WELLS – HEVER CASTLE – RHS GARDEN WISLEY – WINDSOR
Giant chess pieces. Classical statues and Italian grottoes. Bustling crowds of colourful tulips. Roaming the grounds at Hever Castle is like stepping into a dream. As well as unearthing all the surprises this award-winning garden has to offer, we discover the castle that was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second Queen. Then it’s time to while away the afternoon among the tranquil surrounds of RHS Garden Wisley. Take in the sounds of water flowing through the rock garden, or relax in the Alpine meadow, before we continue on to Windsor. (B, D)
DAY 4 WINDSOR – THE SAVILL GARDEN – WINDSOR
Wake today with a free morning stretching out in front of you. And what better way to spend it than discovering Windsor’s regal highlights? Listen out for the sounds of drums, then pause on the High Street to see the royal guards, in their classic red uniforms and tall ‘bearskin’ hats, march up to the castle. You can pay a visit to the castle itself, which is one of the oldest in Europe that’s still in use. We come back together to visit The Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park. Renowned for its award-winning rhododendrons, it’s a beautiful place to stroll through. Look out for rare plants from around the world as we walk through its themed gardens that showcase the beauty of the seasons. (B)
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DAY 5 WINDSOR – WADDESDON MANOR – CLIVEDEN – LONDON
This morning we swap English country houses for an elegant French château at Waddesdon Manor. Built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the late 19th century, Waddesdon is inspired by Renaissance-era Gallic grandeur, inside and out. Feast your eyes on the intricate parterre garden, and listen out for birdsong in the rococo influenced aviary. Next, we marvel at the grand designs at Cliveden. With colourful gardens for all seasons and glorious views over the River Thames, this truly is something special. Then it’s time to travel to London, and look forward to all the excitement of the following day. (B)
DAY 6 LONDON – CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW – LONDON
The highlight of our adventure, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, is ours to enjoy for a full day. But where to begin? From gardens designed to conjure up a slice of anywhere from Provence to Japan, to urban patches with remarkable water features, this is the place to see the very best of contemporary garden design. Or immerse yourself in the countless colourful varieties on display from talented international growers. With so many inventive ideas and beautiful sights to enjoy, this truly is a dream come true for anyone who loves flowers and gardening. And, to round off the day in style, we sit down together for a farewell dinner. (B, D)
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