Gardens of Somerset and Dorset
The neighbouring counties of Dorset and Somerset epitomise the timeless and restrained beauty of rural England and are home to a fine selection of classic gardens in a variety of different styles. Both counties offer grand vistas, both natural and man-made and small and intimate treasures, again, both natural and man-made.
From our base in Taunton, our tour heads out each day to all four compass points, visiting historic National Trust properties such as Barrington Court, Tintinhull and the wonderful landscape of Stourhead, as well as outstanding gardens such as Kilver Court, Forde Abbey and East Lambrook, recognised throughout the world as the ‘Home of English Cottage Gardening’. On our final day, we visit Barrington Court, whose gardens were inspired by the designs of Gertrude Jekyll, and the enchanting Lyte’s Cary Manor.
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Day 1 -
We depart by coach from our pick-up points and head for our first visit, 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 our journey to our comfortable accommodation at the Holiday Inn Taunton, where dinner is served in the evening.
|Hotel||Holiday Inn, Taunton|
Day 2 -
Following breakfast, we depart for the gardens at Kilver Court, Shepton Mallet. The Gardens were first created by Ernest Jardine as a recreational space for factory workers of Kilver Court in the 1800s and were known as Jardine’s Park and Vegetable Gardens. In the 1960s, they were restored and developed by the Showering family of Babycham fame, who commissioned Charles Whiteleg to recreate his Gold medal winning Chelsea Flower Show rockery garden within the setting. At the time, the garden was a bold and modern design statement, yet remained a hidden secret for 25 years. The Gardens feature a millpond and boating lake as well as rolling laws, parterre and herbaceous borders, set against an unusual and highly impressive backdrop – a vast Grade II listed viaduct built for the Somerset and Dorset railway. A plant shop provides an opportunity for the perfect souvenir.
In the afternoon we visit the Yeo Valley Organic Garden. The well-known producers of dairy goods such as yoghurt and butter created this garden nearly 20 years ago and the six and a half acres of ornamental and edible plants in a seasonal patchwork has been constantly evolving ever since.
We return to our hotel, where dinner is served in the evening.
Day 3 -
After breakfast this morning we depart for Minterne, an eighteenth century Serpentine park with lakes, a stream and a woodland garden. Although the hills are chalk, the garden is situated on a mound of green sand, which runs for a mile down the centre of the valley. This, with the humus and dappled shade provided by the large beech trees was the perfect setting for the rhododendrons and magnolias provided by plant-hunting expeditions to the Himalayas.
We continue to Forde Abbey which is home to the stunning Mortlake tapestries, woven from the internationally famous Raphael cartoons, now housed in the V&A, the Abbey has a rich and varied history spanning 900 years. We can walk in the actual footsteps of the monks, and explore the exquisite interior featured in a Hollywood adaptation of ‘Far From the Madding Crowd.’
The highest powered fountain in the country is a highlight for many in 30 acres of the award-winning gardens which include topiary-lined vistas, colourful herbaceous borders, a giant-sized labyrinth in the arboretum and swathes of early spring bulbs and camellias to provide all year round interest.
We return to the hotel in time for dinner.
Day 4 -
After breakfast we visit Tintinhull Gardens, near Yeovil. Created last century around an attractive 17th-century manor house, this is one of the most harmonious small gardens in Britain. It features secluded lawns, small pools and colourful borders. There is also an attractive kitchen garden, woodland walk and orchard.
In the afternoon we call in at East Lambrook Manor recognised throughout the world as the ‘Home of English Cottage Gardening’, having been created in the 1940s, 50s and 60s by the late gardening icon, Margery Fish. Now, in the new millennium, visitors can continue to enjoy the gardens while also visiting the famous ‘Margery Fish Plant Nursery’, which remains a place of pilgrimage for keen plant buyers. A specially designed display bed showcases an extensive and nationally recognised collection of hardy geraniums.
Dinner is served in the evening.
Day 5 -
After breakfast we check out of the hotel and depart for the gardens of Barrington Court. These enchanting, formal gardens, inspired by the designs of Gertrude Jekyll, are laid out in a series of walled rooms and include the White, Rose, Iris and Lily Gardens.
Our final visit is to Lytes Cary Manor, which was once the home of the 16th Century herbalist Henry Lyte and is surrounded by an enchanting garden. The 3-acre garden has a central path lined with yew topiary leading up to the Tudor manor house. The borders are a mix of herbaceous plants, yew buttresses and roses, which overlook an orchard, open lawns and statues leading to a shady tunnel of hornbeam and a secret garden.
Following our visit we return to our original departure points, where we expect to arrive in the late afternoon.
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Meals - as per the itinerary
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single supplement||Offer||Availability|
|19 August 2021||BSDO210819||19 August 2021 (Thursday)||23 August 2021 (Monday)||£695
|30 June 2022||BSDO220630||30 June 2022 (Thursday)||4 July 2022 (Monday)||£695
|18 August 2022||BSDO220818||18 August 2022 (Thursday)||22 August 2022 (Monday)||£695