10 Last-Minute Garden Holidays

If the dull winter season has finally got the better of you and you simply can't wait for your next holiday, we have a range of last-minute departures that could see you exploring the charming gardens of a lovely destination – at home or abroad – in just a matter of weeks. 

So, whether you fancy a trip to a place that's just a few hours away by coach, or if you want to jet off to sunnier climes, browse our late-availability tours departing in April, May and June below and just give us a call on 01334 766135 when you're ready to book!

1) Villas & Gardens of the Italian Lakes | 26th June

An 8-day Italian escape that includes a visit to the private gardens of the President of the Italian Camellia Society can be yours for £1,895pp. Departing in mid-May, this holiday combines glorious weather with beautiful gardens, and will leave you feeling reluctant to return home! We will also take you on a private tour of Villa Cicogna Mozzoni with its owner.

Staying on the Gulf of Borromeo on Lake Maggiore and at the food of Lake Como, explore a series of villas and their gorgeously manicured gardens in the company of Kate Williamson.

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2) Tresco's Abbey Gardens | March, April or May

A stunning island off the Cornish coast where no cars are allowed, a visit to Tresco is an experience unlike any other and one that might leave you wondering if you've left the UK in favour of somewhere in the Caribbean. Unspoilt beaches, gardens that house subtropical plants and a relaxed atmosphere may well trick you into thinking this!

Join us for a brief break of just 4 days, taking in the magnificent Abbey Gardens, where you'll enjoy a special guided tour. You can also explore the Valhalla collection of ship's figureheads, wander around the ancient castles and take optional excursions to islands that include Bryher, St. Martins and St. Agnes.  

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3) The RHS Chelsea Flower Show & Classic English Gardens | 20th or 23rd May

It's almost time for England's most prestigious horticultural event of the year - Chelsea Flower Show. We still have some spaces left on our tour, which will not only treat you to an entire day at the dazzling annual event, but will also take you to a variety of other magnificent British gardens.

Discover the world-renowned courtyard gardens of Sissinghurst in Kent, walk around Stourhead's timeless landscape with its urns and grottoes, and experience the beauty of Hestercombe Gardens, which was created by Gertrude Jekyll. We also include some time in Bath, where its famous Roman baths and elegant Georgian terraces can be admired.  

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4) Arran, Scotland in Miniature | 26th April or 7th June

A blend of Highland and Island scenery with granite peaks and deep glens to the north of the island, an adventure in Arran is always memorable. With a coastline of only 56 miles, this 5-day tour allows you to get the most out of it. Sail across the Firth of Clyde, take a highly scenic tour of the island and spend time admiring the colourful gardens of Brodick Castle. 

As we're in Scotland, we will take you to the Isle of Arran Distillery, where you'll be given a guided tour and of course a sample of its fine golden drams. You'll also visit Whiting Bay, Lamlash, Brodick and Pirnmill, with its '12 Apostles'. 

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5) An Archaeologist's View of Orkney & Shetland | 22nd April or 27th May

The archaeological remains on these islands are impressive and a 6-day tour is just enough time to explore them properly. People first came here over 5,000 years ago and evidence of their settling here can still be seen today. 

Gain a fascinating insight into Stone Age life at Skara Brae, discover the multi-period settlement of Jarlshof and wander around the stunning Italian Chapel (pictured right). You can also handle ancient artefacts at the Tomb of the Eagles and delve into the history of Neolithic Orkney – a UNESCO-listed world heritage centre. This unique tour is led by Clive Warsop, an environmental archaeologist who has excavated at sites in both France and Scotland. 

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6) Discover Corfu with Lee Durrell | 17th May

If you've watched the popular ITV drama 'The Durrells' and fell in love with the glorious Mediterranean island of Corfu, as well as with the family's heartwarming story, this tour is for you. Your chance to meet the famous naturalist and writer Lee Durrell awaits, as she will join the tour group to chat about her family's journey, her work and her love affair with this stunning destination. 

From your base at the 5* luxury Corfu Holiday Palace, visit Mouse Island, dine at the former White House home of the Durrells and explore the abandoned village of Perithia, where a local bee-keeper will join us for a talk. 

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7) Arts & Gardens of Florence & Tuscany | 22nd April

Rolling vineyards, neat rows of cypress trees and beautiful weather are the things that will fill the imagination of anyone who thinks about Tuscany, and this region delivers. Visit the Villa Gamberaia and Villa La Pietra, meet a lecturer from the British Institute for Historical Walks in Florence and Siena for special guided tours of the Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell'Accademia, and enjoy a delicious wine-tasting experience over lunch. 

We will also take you to the Boboli Gardens, the Bardini Gardens and the splendid Palazzo di Corsini. Anticipate delicious food, beautiful landscapes and lovely weather. 

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8) Dutch Bulbfields Cruise | 14th April

The vibrant bulbfields of Holland are on many travel wish lists, and after you've experience them for yourself it's easy to see why. Travelling either via Eurostar or flying, this tour begins as you arrive and board the MS Gérard Schmitter – a spacious and well-appointed river cruiser that accommodates around 170 passengers. Discover the Museum Van Loon, the Rijksmuseum and Rubens House. 

Then, of course, we visit Keukenhof. Here, we find a magnificent display of tulips, daffodils and hyacinth varieties, and over 6 million bulbs are planted here annually. To appreciate its scale and beauty, an entire day is spent here. This is a holiday for flower lovers!

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9) Arts & Gardens of Cornwall | 11th May

Venture south to one of England's most glorious counties – Cornwall. Home to the incredible Tate Gallery in St. Ives – which won the 2018 Museum of the Year award – as well as the magnificent Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden, there is much to discover here. 

On this 5-day Cornish tour, you'll admire the horticultural masterpiece that is Hestercombe, whose gardens have been restored to Gertrude Jekyll's original plans. You'll also pay a visit to the National Trust's Godolphin House, where a behind-the-scenes tour awaits, and there will be time to soak up the artistic excellence at the two aforementioned galleries. Before the tour ends, there is a stop at Lanhydrock Gardens, with its woodland garden and stunning rosebeds. 

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10) Gardens of the French Riviera | 9th May

What could be a better way to spend a week in May than with a holiday to the majestic French Riviera? Starting in Nice, this trip will take you from the historic gardens of Serre de la Madone and the Villa Thuret, to the Jardin Exotique d'Eze and the private garden of Clos du Peyronnet – an exclusive and real highlight of this tour. 

If this wasn't enough, the May departure of this tour will see you spending a day at the International Rose Festival in Grasse, an annual event filled with colour and fragrance. There is also a visit to Fondation Ephrussi de Rothschild at St Jean Cap Ferrat, pictured right. 

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10 Last-Minute Garden Holidays was published on 25 February 2019