RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Classic English Gardens
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*Due to popular demand we have added a second departure*
- The Great British gardening event of the year, The Chelsea Flower Show
- The ornamental and experimental gardens of RHS Wisley
- The world-renowned courtyard gardens of Sissinghurst Castle
- Temples, urns and grottos in the timeless landscape of Stourhead
- Hestercombe Gardens – a horticultural masterpiece from Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens
England’s greatest flower show, England’s finest gardens. This tour combines the colour and excitement of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with some of the south of England’s finest gardens, affording the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of horticultural excellence.
Our two centre holiday includes visits to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the unmissable gardens of RHS Garden Wisley, Sissinghurst in Kent and Great Dixter. We then head west, breaking our journey at the beautiful gardens of Wilton House near Salisbury and ‘Capability’ Brown’s famous landscape garden of Stourhead.
From our hotel in the West Country we visit the ancient Bishop’s Palace in Wells, the Harold Peto designed garden at Iford Manor and Hestercombe, one of Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens’ greatest masterpieces. We also have some time in the town of Bath, famous for its Roman baths and elegant Georgian terraces. We conclude with a wander round Tyntesfield, a fine National Trust Victorian country house with a glorious walled garden, before returning to London.
We depart from our pick-up points and transfer to RHS Garden Wisley, where the Royal Horticultural Society shows the gardening public how it should be done. Here the highest standards of practical horticulture are deployed in the setting of a splendid old site rich in fine trees against a backdrop of other plants, all impeccably labelled — and we are taken through it all on a guided tour. After lunch at Wisley, we continue to our hotel to the south of London, where dinner is served this evening.
Today, after breakfast, we will spend the day at the Chelsea Flower Show. The Chelsea Flower Show holds a rare position as a great British tradition and an exciting source of inspiration and advice. One of the highlights of the show is the collection of over 20 full-sized show gardens. Inside the Great Marquee visitors have their senses ravished by the hundreds of floral displays, many of them incorporating new, rare and unusual plants. Other popular features here include flower arranging, floristry and garden design marquees, courtyard gardens, window boxes and hanging baskets.
We return to our hotel for dinner.
This morning, we shall visit Sissinghurst in Kent. It never disappoints its visitors — it has the power of enchantment, but is also an unending source of inspiration for all gardeners. After a pub lunch, we continue to another classic English Country Garden: Great Dixter. The distinguished garden writer Christopher Lloyd (who died in January 2006 at the aged of 84) was the genius behind Great Dixter, with its timbered 15th century house. 'We shall have a tour of the grounds before returning to our hotel for dinner.
We make our way to the gardens of Wilton House, an impressive Palladian mansion near Salisbury. Today the water features and rose gardens create a tranquil haven beside the River Nadder. After lunch, we are led around the famous landscape garden at Stourhead. Temples, urns, a grotto and a wealth of trees all contribute to the special atmosphere of this celebrated landscape garden. It is, above all, a garden to walk in, following the serpentine path that borders the lake and exploring every detour that presents itself.
We continue to our hotel, where dinner is served this evening.
After breakfast we visit the Bishop’s Palace, a stunning medieval palace which has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for 800 years. There are 14 acres of gardens to explore, including the beautiful well pools from which the city takes its name. In the afternoon, after lunch in Wells, we visit Hestercombe, one of Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens’ greatest masterpieces, where we have a guided tour. The garden is home to a round pool in a round walled garden filled with wintersweet and roses, a Dutch garden of lamb's ears, lavender and the most beautiful orangery of the 20th century.
Dinner is served in the evening.
We visit to the gardens of lford Manor, near Bradford on Avon. This romantic award-winning Italian garden designed by Harold Peto contains a formal garden on old terraces embellished with his collection of classical statuary and architectural fragments, all of which we explore on a guided tour. In the afternoon, after lunch in nearby Bath, we enjoy some free time in the city. You may wish to take the opportunity to do some shopping, visit a museum or experience the properties of the Thermae Bath Spa, where you can relax in two spectacular baths, fed by the natural thermal waters.
We return to our hotel, where dinner is served in the evening.
After breakfast we check out of the hotel and travel to Tyntesfield, near Bristol, a fine Victorian country house. Spiralling turrets and pinnacles adorn the roof, ornate stone carvings and church-like windows complete the Gothic look, giving the feel of a mysterious, fairytale mansion. Terraced lawns give way to spacious parkland filled with hundreds of trees collected by the family, and a glorious walled kitchen garden beyond. The rolling Somerset hills in the distance create an atmospheric backdrop. Here, we are treated to a guided tour, followed by lunch.
Following this, our final visit, we return to our drop-off points at London Heathrow airport and central London, where the group will disperse.
- Three nights at the 3-star Holiday Inn, Farnborough and three nights at the 3-star Winford Manor Hotel, North Somerset on a bed and breakfast basis
- Six dinners with wine; seven lunches
- Coach travel throughout
- Full day at RHS Chelsea Flower Show
- Visits to the gardens of RHS Wisley, Sissinghurst, Great Dixter, Wilton House, Stourhead, Bishop's Palace, Hestercombe, Iford Manor, Great Dixter, Wilton House and Tyntesfield
- Guided tours of RHS Wisley, Stourhead, Hestercombe, Iford Manor, and Tyntesfield
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Water on coach
Supplements per person
- Single room supplement: £250
Air packages available from Scottish and other airports on request
2018 Insurance Prices
As part of our booking conditions, our travellers must have adequate insurance protection for any holidays overseas but we strongly recommend that you are covered for any of our tours. Our travellers are welcome to take out their own insurance policy, providing that we have the details of this before departure. Alternatively, we can provide our own recommended single-trip travel insurance for all holidays, please see the most upto date prices below:
Under 65, from £18.00 | 65-74, from £35.00 | 75 and over, from £52.00
Under 65, from £32.00 | 65-74, from £64.00 | 75 and over, from £96.00
Prices on application
24/05/2018 from £1425pp
(Tothill St, Westminster)
Air packages available from Scottish and other airports on request