Highgrove and the Cotswolds
Our tour of the Cotswolds features an exclusive visit to Highgrove House, the country home of HRH The Prince of Wales. This will be a rare opportunity to see these fascinating gardens which of course are cultivated using wholly organic methods.
Some of the finest gardens in England are to be found nestled among the green and rolling hills of Gloucestershire. Our tour begins at the ‘Arts and Crafts’ house of Rodmarton Manor, whose fine garden comprises a series of ‘outdoor rooms’, each with its own distinctive character. Hidcote Manor’s contrasting garden rooms and Kiftsgate’s splendid views are justly famous. We shall also visit the small, private garden of Misarden Park and our final visit is to Westonbirt, the National Arboretum.
Please note, by the very nature of this holiday, the running order of the tour and the tour dates are subject to change as we are beholden to a successful application for admittance to Highgrove which will be confirmed in February 2021.
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- Meals - as per the itinerary
8 August 2021: Itinerary
We depart from our pick-ups points in London, Reading, Swindon and Bristol and head for our first visit, the house and gardens of Rodmarton Manor, between Tetbury and Cirencester. This is an ‘Arts and Crafts’ house with a fine eight-acre garden comprising a series of ‘outdoor rooms’ each with its own distinctive character. The architect Ernest Barnsley started Rodmarton in 1909 and it became a shrine to the Cotswolds crafts movement. The grey gabled house has an intricate garden of lively atmosphere, formal in spirit but with a cottage-garden feel to it. The eight-acre Cotswold garden was originally designed as a series of outdoor rooms and is still the same today, which each part of the garden having different characters ranging from alpines in troughs, bigger plants in the rockery, lawns, a large kitchen garden and white borders, to the magnificent herbaceous borders which are constantly being re-planted and improved. There are superb vistas throughout and plenty of places to sit and admire the surroundings.
We continue to our accommodation at the De Vere Cotswold Water Park Hotel. All rooms have private facilities. Dinner is served in the evening.
Meals include: 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.
This afternoon we continue to Kiftsgate Court, which offers an admirable selection of plants and flowers, not least of which is the well-known rambling rose R. filipes ‘Kiftsgate’. The house, in a splendid setting with views to the Vale of Evesham, is surrounded by a series of enclosed gardens, whose formality is blurred by generous planting.
We return to our hotel where dinner is served in the evening.
Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner
After breakfast this morning we will transfer to Highgrove, the country home of HRH the Prince of Wales. This will be a rare opportunity to see these fascinating gardens which of course are cultivated using wholly organic methods. Since buying the property in 1980 His Royal Highness sought the advice of a friend, Lady Salisbury, who was an experienced organic gardener well-known for her work at Cranbourne and at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. She and the Prince laid out parts of the garden with scented plants: wisteria, honeysuckle, jasmine, holboellia, lillies and thyme were chosen to surround the house. On the advice of Miriam Rothschild, another gardening expert, the Prince created an experimental wild flower meadow which already boasts around 32 different varieties of endangered native plants including ox-eye daisies, yellow rattle, common spotted orchid, meadow crane’s bill and ragged robin. Every year the Prince takes on a new project to take his garden in new directions, such as his walled kitchen garden or the arboretum. Vegetable varieties loved by the Prince are grown such as Charlotte potatoes and Happil strawberries, leeks, spring cabbage, brussel sprouts and carrots. A wide variety of apples are grown from trees next to the Orchard Room, along with others gathered from the Walled Garden, including Formosa Nonpareil, Golden Knot, Cornish Aromatic and Lady’s Delight.
In the afternoon, following a break for lunch (not included), we will enjoy a visit to 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 return to the hotel in time for dinner.
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 18,000 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.
Following our visit we will return to our original pick-up points with arrival due in the late afternoon/early evening.
Meals include: Breakfast