Autumn Tints of the Cotswolds
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What finer place could there be to visit in this season of “mists and mellow fruitfulness” than the timeless English landscape of the Cotswolds.
As we walk through Westonbirt, the National Arboretum, we will enjoy a stunning display of vibrant autumn colour, with every imaginable shade of yellow, red and orange adorning over 15,000 trees from all around the world. The new Treetop Walkway lends a unique perspective to this impressive collection of woody wonders.
There are more sylvan delights to enjoy at Batsford Arboretum, which contains over 1500 trees with species from all over the world, including Maples, Bamboo, Magnolias, Oaks and Sorbus. The landscaping includes rockeries, streams and waterfalls, a lake, statues and a hermit’s cave.
Elsewhere we visit the small, private garden of Misarden Park; Hidcote Manor with its contrasting garden rooms; Snowshill Manor, where an Arts & Crafts garden surrounds a house stuffed full of curiosities, and the unique Painswick Rococo Gardens. All will be painted in autumnal shades or filled with fruit and vegetables that have ripened to perfection over the summer.
16 October 2020: Itinerary
We depart from our pick-ups points in London, Reading, Swindon and Bristol and head for Misarden Park, near Stroud. Originally designed in the 17th century, the gardens were redeveloped in the 20th century by Sir Edwin Lutyens in his famous Edwardian style. Herbaceous borders, topiary, shrubs, grass terraces and the newly planted rill and lavender-and-hebe parterre are all contained within a walled garden. The manor house’s elevated position allows for scenic views over the five golden valleys of Stroud.
We continue to our comfortable hotel in the Cotswolds. Dinner is served in the evening.
Meals include: Dinner
After breakfast we head for Painswick Rococo Garden. The last of its kind in the country, the garden is a pleasure ground created in the decadent and fun loving early 18th century. Follies nestle in a hidden valley surrounded by magnificent Cotswolds views and a large Kitchen Garden produces many crops that are used in the garden's own restaurant. Using a painting, by Thomas Robins in 1748, the garden is being fully restored to its eighteenth-century character, featuring rococco buildings, woodland walks and well-planned vistas. Among the plants looking at their best are beech trees, the Japanese maple, the Sedum 'Autumn Joy', and Cyclamen hederfolium.
In the afternoon we travel to the unique Snowshill Manor. Snowshill is no ordinary manor, just as Charles Paget Wade was no ordinary Edwardian gentleman. Mr Wade embodied his family motto 'Let nothing perish', spending his life and his inherited wealth amassing a spectacular collection of everyday and extraordinary objects. Laid out theatrically, the Manor is literally packed to the rafters with 22,000 or so unusual objects - from tiny toys to splendid suits of Samurai armour. The Manor is surrounded by an intriguing terraced hillside garden designed in the Arts & Crafts style and, like so many of the gardens here, split into a number of different ‘rooms’. The garden and the valley running alongside typically put on a lovely display of autumn colour.
We return to our hotel where dinner is served in the evening.
Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner
This morning, following breakfast, we visit the gardens of Hidcote Manor, near Chipping Campden. Although among the best known gardens in Britain, Hidcote Manor still has the power to startle. It was begun before World War I by an American, Major Lawrence Johnston, who devised a type of garden that many think of as quintessentially English. It is a garden built up of separate rooms, each connected to the rest but often with blazing contrasts, laid out in a disciplined setting. Everywhere something enticing is glimpsed through an opening, across a pool or framed by a gate.
In the afternoon, following a break for lunch (not included), we will enjoy a visit to Batsford Arboretum, which contains over 1500 trees with species from all over the world. The collections cover a wide range of plants particularly from the Far East with a good collection of Acer (Maples), Bamboo, Magnolias, Prunus, Quercus (Oaks) and Sorbus, all of which can be expected to put on a fine display of autumn hues. The landscaping includes rockeries, streams and waterfalls, a lake, statues and a hermit’s cave.
On our way back to the hotel we will detour via the picturesque Cotswold villages of Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter and Bourton-on-the-Water.
Dinner is served at our hotel in the evening.
Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner
This morning after breakfast we check out of the hotel. Our final visit is to Westonbirt, the National Arboretum which is perhaps the most important and widely known arboretum in the United Kingdom. It is managed by the Forestry Commission and was established in 1829 by Robert Stayner Holford. It comprises some 15,000 trees and shrubs, over an area of approximately 600 acres. We will see numerous ‘champion’ trees including rare magnolias, tree rhododendrons and maples as well as a wide variety of smaller trees and shrubs. A recent innovation is the Treetop Walkway, which lends a unique perspective to this impressive collection of trees, which many argue look at their absolute best at this time of year.
Following our visit we will return to our original pick-up points with arrival due in the late afternoon/early evening.
Meals include: Breakfast