The Gardens of Oxfordshire including Waddesdon Manor (Hillier Garden Centres)
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Exotic birds in the aviary at Waddesdon Manor
A close look at Tom Stuart-Smith's masterful garden at Broughton Grange
The topiary Sundial at Ascott House
A private tour with the curator of Oxford University's Botanic Garden
Oxfordshire is steeped in history. You can sense it in the august, honey-hued buildings, the tranquil flower-lined courtyards, the quaint and narrow cobbled lanes, and the famed spires of its principal city. Within this county's wonderful old buildings and gardens one meets with a satisfying wash of colour and scent – a timeless treat all can enjoy.
The University of Oxford Botanic Garden is a particular highlight of this tour. With a national reference collection of 7,000 different types of plant, this garden contains the most compact and diverse collection of plants in the world, with more biological diversity than is typically found in a tropical rain forest. We will be privileged to receive a exclusive guided tour from its curator
At Waddesdon Manor, we enjoy a guided tour of what can only be described as a fantasy pastiche of a Loire Château, situated on top of a knoll with fantastic views over the Vale of Aylesbury. To the south of the house are terraced gardens restored to their original Edwardian splendour, complete with elaborate bedding schemes, and a splendid Rococo 1960's ironwork aviary that continues to house exotic birds.
We also visit Broughton Grange, a spectacular estate set in 25 acres of woodland. The centrepiece here is a large terraced walled garden, designed in 2001 by multiple Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winner Tom Stuart-Smith. Good early displays of bulbs are followed by outstanding herbaceous planting in the summer.
We depart from our local pick-ups and head for our first destination, the garden at Broughton Grange. This spectacular design mixes formal and informal gardens in an attractive Oxfordshire setting, We see how its prestigious creator, Tom Stuart-Smith, skilfully used his vision to blend these sympathetically-designed gardens into their surrounding countryside – the 350 acres of parkland that enclose them. A guided tour and refreshments are included here.
Later we continue to our comfortable hotel in Oxfordshire. Dinner is served in the evening here – the perfect way to round off a relaxing first day.
This morning we visit the gardens of Waddesdon Manor, where thousands of terraced bedding plants look to the eye like a well-filled eiderdown. A guided tour of the garden is included. We may also tour the house and its opulent rooms.
Ascott House, originally built in the reign of James I, is our next destination. Its gardens were laid out in 1902 by Leopold de Rothschild as a wedding present for his wife, and feature a sundial made entirely of topiary. Unwind in the Dutch flower garden, or beside the lily pool.
We return to our hotel where dinner is served in the evening.
After breakfast we depart for Oxford and the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, where we will enjoy a special tour from the curator. The garden consists of three sections: glasshouses shielding plants from the extremes of British weather; the open garden with its water features, rock garden and black border; and the walled garden, where plants are grouped together by country and botanic family – as well as economic use.
Following our visit we have free time in the historic city of Oxford with an opportunity for lunch (not included). We then return to our original pick-up points with arrival due in the late afternoon.
- Two nights’ dinner, bed and full breakfast at the Witney Four Pillars Hotel. All rooms have private facilities
- Comfortable coaching throughout
- Entrance to the house and gardens of Waddesdon Manor (including guided tour of the gardens); the gardens of Ascott House; Broughton Grange (including guided tour and refreshments) and the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens (including guided tour with the Curator/Director)
- Services of a professional tour manager
Supplements per person
- Single room supplement: £70.00
- Insurance: £13.00 (under 65); £26.00 (65-74); £39.00 (75-90)
Departure points and times