Gardens of West Wales
Tucked away in the rolling countryside of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire are some fine parks and gardens, both large and small; ancient and modern. The centrepiece of our tour is the National Botanic Garden of Wales, the first garden of its type to be created in the United Kingdom for 200 years. This spectacular re-interpretation of the historical garden blends the careful restoration of the historic, double-walled garden with Norman Foster’s Great Greenhouse, the largest single span glasshouse in the world, where mere panes of glass separate the familiar green hills of Wales from a panoramic sweep of warm, Mediterranean scenery.
By contrast Aberglasney is a superb 16th/17th century garden, which was discovered after 50 years of neglect and has been restored to produce a garden with immense appeal, including a unique Elizabethan/Jacobean cloister and parapet walk. We visit two superb woodland gardens, at Picton Castle and Upton Castle along with Cae Hir, which has established itself as one of Wales’ best loved gardens. Singleton Botanic Gardens, home to a spectacular herbaceous border.
We also visit some interesting private gardens, including Dyffryn Fernant, built from scratch by Christina Shand and The Old Rectory, a historic garden with many unique trees, and round off our tour in the tranquil surroundings of Dyffryn Botanic Gardens have also been recently restored to Thomas Mawson’s original 1904 design with the help of lottery funding.
We will be based at the comfortable, family-run Beggars Reach Hotel at Burton in Pembrokeshire. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms together with tea and coffee making facilities, flat screen television with satellite channels, irons and ironing boards and hairdryer.
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Day 1 -
We depart from your pick-up point and travel west to Swansea and Singleton Park Botanic Gardens, located within the old walled garden which was once part of the estate of Lord Swansea. The gardens contain many fine specimens of rare and exotic plants. A wonderful feature on entering from the north is the herbaceous border, which was originally planted in 1921. The stunning plant collections and creative bedding schemes are truly breath-taking.
We continue into Pembrokeshire and visit the private garden of The Old Rectory at Narberth, a historic two-acre garden with many unique trees, some over 300 years old, along with more recently planted formal beds and terraces; a meadow, a fernery and an orchard.
Following this we transfer to the Beggars Reach Hotel.
|Hotel||Beggars Reach Hotel|
Day 2 -
This morning following breakfast we will visit Picton Castle. The gardens comprise 40 acres of some of the most beautiful woodland gardens in West Wales. Discover woodland walks, a maze and rhododendrons. The Walled Garden has an elegant fountain, rose strewn arches and a door that leads to the fernery, a tranquil and fascinating habitat for less hardy fern species.
In the afternoon we visit the gardens of Upton Castle, which consist of 35 acres of listed historic gardens, surrounded by ancient woodlands containing a number of trees listed as veterans. Within the gardens there are spectacular herbaceous borders, a delightful formal rose garden and a fascinating, traditional 19th century walled garden, now being restored to its former use as a kitchen garden. Rare trees and shrubs abound throughout the gardens and include a stunning collection of rhododendrons, tree Magnolias and Camellias whilst the arboretum lists amongst its many unusual specimens a large handkerchief tree, Davidia involucrata, Drymis winteri, Cunninghamia and the fern leafed beech Fagus heterophylla.
Day 3 -
After breakfast we depart for Dyffryn Fernant Garden, a plantsman’s garden, created from scratch by Christina Shand and David Allum. They have made a number of ‘rooms’ including an azalea bank, a bog garden and a fernery and camellia walk. These rooms are punctuated by attractive sculptures plus mouthwatering displays of herbaceous shrubs.
We cross briefly into Ceridigion (Cardiganshire) for our afternoon visit to the gardens of Cae Hir, which since it first opened to the public in 1989 has become one of Wales' best loved gardens. Owned, managed and maintained by two generations of the Akkermans family who first moved over from Holland in 1983, the garden is a love affair between nature and nurture. Cae Hir has become synonymous with blending the wild and the cultivated, of using ordinary materials in extraordinary ways and of thinking 'outside the box' in its approach to garden design.
Day 4 -
Following breakfast we will travel to the National Botanic Garden of Wales, in the exquisite location of a 568 acre estate in the heart of Carmarthenshire. Among the innovative and informative features here are the Great Greenhouses (the largest single span glasshouse in the world – focusing on temperature species, many of them endangered); the oval walled garden; the water discovery centre and the herbaceous boardwalk.
We continue to Aberglasney, set in the beautiful Towy valley. This is a superb 16th/17th century garden, which was rediscovered after 50 years of neglect and has been restored to produce a garden with immense appeal by a young and energetic team of gardeners. Set within nine acres are six different spaces with a rich and diverse collection of plants, including three walled gardens and the unique Elizabethan/Jacobean cloister; a walled garden of concentric herbaceous beds and a parapet walk.
Day 5 -
This morning after breakfast we will check out of our hotel. First today we will visit The Boathouse in Laugharne, where the poet Dylan Thomas lived and worked in his later years and which provided many of the characters featured in his poetic works. The house is now owned by the local council and is dressed in authentic 1950s style, including some of the original furniture, with a recording of Thomas’s distinctive voice playing in the background.
Our final visit is to the magnificent Dyffryn Botanic Gardens, a Grade 1 listed Edwardian garden designed by landscape architect Thomas Mawson displaying a series of garden ‘rooms’ enclosed within clipped Yew hedges. There is something to see year round at Dyffryn – a Roman garden; Japanese garden; fountains and pools and an arboretum containing trees from all around the world including the original Acer Griseum collected by ‘Chinese Wilson’. Dyffryn is one of the best 100 gardens in the UK as selected by the British Tourism Association. A light lunch is included here.
|Meals included||Breakfast, Lunch|
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- Meals - as per the itinerary
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single Supp.||Offer||Availability|
|1 June 2021||BGWW210601||1 June 2021 (Tuesday)||5 June 2021 (Saturday)||£695
|6 September 2021||BGWW210906||6 September 2021 (Monday)||10 September 2021 (Friday)||£695