Guernsey Coastline
Guernsey Coastline

Garden Tours

Private Gardens of Guernsey and Sark - Country Living Magazine

5 days From £1,395

19 September 2019

The island of Guernsey, just 20 miles off the coast of France, flourishes in the warmth of late summer and is home to some wonderful private gardens, to which we have arranged special access.

On our first day in Guernsey we visit three private gardens as well as a very unusual and inspiring visit - the garden at Guernsey Prison. This is followed by a fascinating day of Guernsey highlights that features visits to a working dairy farm, home to a large herd of sleek Guernsey cows; the iconic Little Chapel and a jewellery workshop; Candie Gardens, a Victorian gem; the walled garden at Saumarez Park and Guernsey’s National Folk and Costume Museum.

On our third day we visit La Petite Vallée, where we find a range of traditional and exotic planting, followed by visits to a private garden with some unusual plants; the Fresia Nursery, where one of Guernsey’s main exports are grown, and Oatlands Village, which brings together a range of local crafts and produce.

Then we make the short sea crossing to the tranquil, traffic-free island of Sark where we visit the wonderful garden of La Seigneurie and wildflower meadows. We stay overnight here, an opportunity to enjoy the wonderful night skies that this unspoilt island offers, before returning to Guernsey where we visit another private garden and the historic gardens at Castle Cornet before our flight home.

We are guided by Malcolm Cleal, previously Manager of Guernsey’s Parks and Gardens Department and a Director of The Guernsey Botanical Trust, who has a vast horticultural and historical knowledge of the island’s parks, gardens, coastal and cliff areas which he will be only too happy to share with us.

We are based at La Barbarie Hotel in St Peter Port. The lovely rural location and award-winning restaurant make this one of Guernsey’s best hotels for relaxing short breaks.

What's included?

  •  Flights
  •  Accommodation
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Ferry crossings

Led by...

Malcolm Cleal

Malcolm Cleal

A welcome new recruit to the Brightwater ranks, Malcolm Cleal was previously the Manager of Guernsey’s Parks and Gardens and has a vast horticultural and historical knowledge of the island’s parks, gardens, coastal and cliff areas.

Book Now £1,395

Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £250

Tour highlights:

  • An interesting range of private gardens in Guernsey
  • Iconic sights such as the Little Chapel, Castle Cornet and Guernsey cattle
  • A one-of-a-kind tour of a prison garden
  • Scenic boat trip to Sark and a night on the island, the perfect spot for star-gazing

Tour details

Dates 19 September 2019 - 23 September 2019
Duration 5 days
Cost £1,395 Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £250 Balance due by 27 June 2019
Tour code CLPG19A

Book Now or call 01334 657155 if you have any questions

19 September 2019: Itinerary

We depart from London Gatwick today on our direct flight to Guernsey (flights and connections from many other regional airports and/or are overnight accommodation at Gatwick available on request). On arrival we board our coach and transfer to a private town garden. We will then continue to St James to view the Guernsey Millennium Tapestry, a project that involved the whole community. It illustrates 1000 years of local history in ten panels of embroidered canvas work, each panel covering one century. The original aim of the project was to provide a lasting reminder of the Millennium celebrations, involve the whole community and encourage people to look more deeply in to the Island’s history.

This afternoon, after lunch (not included), we have a brief visit to another private garden before we make our way to a very different garden – in Guernsey Prison. The prisoners and Horticulture team have established a formal garden in the grounds of the prison. We will get the chance to visit the greenhouses where prisoners grow their own crop, used daily in the prison kitchen.

We then visit Grange Court, a large town garden in St Peter Port which has a gorgeous rose garden, folly, cactus vinery and mixed borders set around rolling lawns, all immaculately maintained. It was the winner of the 2008 Island Garden Competition for the best perennial garden.

We end the day at our comfortable 3-star accommodation at La Barbarie Hotel in St Peter Port. The lovely rural location and award-winning restaurant make this one of Guernsey’s best hotels for relaxing short breaks.

A welcome drink is served on arrival and wine is included each evening with dinner.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: La Barbarie Hotel, Guernsey

After breakfast, we visit Meadow Court Farm, a working dairy farm which offers the opportunity to see the renowned Guernsey breed in its natural island home.

We then visit the nearby Little Chapel, a work of art and labour of love built by Brother Déodat, who started work in March 1914. The version you see today is actually the third version, the first two efforts having been unsatisfactory. The building operation was very laborious, collecting pebbles and broken china to decorate the shrine. Thanks to an illustrated article in the Daily Mirror the Little Chapel suddenly became famous. Presents poured in from around the world and Islanders brought coloured china to Les Vauxbelets, with the Lieutenant-Governor offering a remarkable mother-of-pearl.

After a visit to Bruce Russell & Son, a wonderful workshop and showroom where they craft traditional silverware, gold, and platinum jewellery, we continue to Candie Gardens, which have given pleasure to many since they were left to the people of Guernsey in 1887. The gently sloping upper lawn affords the visitor a panoramic view over St Peter Port and the neighbouring islands beyond. The Lower Gardens provide a rare example of a late 19th century Public Flower Garden as originally laid out, while the heated glasshouses date to the end of the 18th century, making them the oldest in the British Isles.

We conclude today at the Victorian walled garden at Saumarez Park. Work to restore the walled garden is still in progress, but it is already producing well, yielding crops in varieties appropriate to the Victorian era. The garden has also gained several first prizes in the Northern Agricultural & Horticultural Society's annual show held in the park.

Within the park is the National Trust of Guernsey’s Folk and Costume Museum, where we will enjoy a guided tour. The museum illustrates the history of the people of Guernsey over the last 250 years through their costumes.

We return to our hotel, where dinner will be served in the evening. Afterwards our guide Malcolm Cleal will give a talk on his life in Guernsey, including his time with the Parks and Gardens department.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: La Barbarie Hotel, Guernsey

This morning, following breakfast, we visit the private garden of La Petite Vallée, a mature three-acre garden with a wide range of exotic and traditional planting on the terraces and slopes leading down towards the sea. A stream, ponds and folly are some of the features of this fine garden.

We continue to the private garden of Forest Lodge, a medium sized garden which contains a wide variety of more unusual and tender, plants and shrubs.

In the afternoon we visit a Fresia Nursery, where we will see the various stages of growing these exotic blooms, which are one of Guernsey’s principal exports. Nearby is Oatlands Village, home to a variety of unique attractions, in the form of historic brick kilns, thatched barns, craft and embroidery shops, a jeweller’s and a chocolatier.

Dinner is served in the evening. After dinner, for those who wish, Malcolm will offer a short guided walk along the cliff top.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: La Barbarie Hotel, Guernsey

Following breakfast, we transfer to the harbour at St Peter’s Port and depart by boat for the neighbouring island of Sark. More than twice the size of Herm at 2 square miles in area, Sark also bans motor vehicles and on arrival at the port we will be taken up the hill to the centre of the island by horse and cart.

We continue to the gardens of La Seigneurie, which were created on land bought by Seigneur Le Pelley in 1835. The Walled Garden is aligned with the Church Le Pelley built in 1820 and the central arches framed a view of the tower, a scene now obscured by the new Island Hall. The high walls give protection from the wind and, together with the mild micro-climate, allow many tender and half-hardy plants to thrive. The more unusual specimens are labelled, such as the Australian Bottlebrush and New Zealand Tea Tree. Probably the oldest surviving feature of the original layout is the formal rose garden edged with box hedging. Other features include a Victorian glasshouse on the north wall which shelters some long-established vines; a productive vegetable garden which helps supply the café, and adjacent sensory and wildflower gardens.

We then continue to the luxurious Stocks Hotel, where overnight accommodation has been arranged and where dinner is served in the evening. After dinner, if weather conditions allow, we can enjoy the clear and starry night skies for which Sark is renowned.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Stocks Hotel, Sark

After breakfast this morning we return by ferry to St Peter Port where we will visit 800 hundred year old Castle Cornet and its three historical gardens. The castle not only offers a fascinating insight into hundreds of years of island history but also spectacular panoramic views back towards St Peter Port.

We enjoy a final visit to another private garden before we transfer to the airport in time to check in for our homeward flight.

Meals include: Breakfast

19 September 2019: Additional Info

19 September 2019: Accommodation

Situated in the quiet, green valley of St Martin, La Barbarie Hotel overlooks Saints Bay. With a swimming pool, restaurant and stylish rooms, there is also free parking and free Wi-Fi.

The bright and airy rooms at La Barbarie Hotel have modern en suite bathrooms and tea and coffee facilities. All rooms have a TV and ironing facilities, and some have cosy seating areas.

The Barbarie Restaurant serves a creative British menu, featuring fresh local seafood and vegetarian options. Light lunches and bar snacks are also available.

La Barbarie Hotel features a charming guest lounge with exposed beams and open log fires. There is also a heated outdoor swimming pool, a large sun terrace and pretty flower gardens.

With direct access to the rugged cliffs and coves of South Guernsey, La Barbarie boasts a peaceful location just half a mile from Mouilpied. Guernsey Airport can be reached in 10 minutes’ drive. 

This 16th-century luxury hotel is located on the peaceful island of Sark, offering individually decorated rooms with elegant furnishings. Guests can enjoy acres of landscaped grounds and a heated swimming pool.

All of the rooms at Stocks Hotel feature solid oak furniture, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. Guests can make use of tea/coffee facilities, hairdryers, and ironing facilities.

Meals are served in the elegant main restaurant, offering fine dining made from fresh, locally sourced produce. Guests can relax at the Poolside Bistro, with outdoor dining in beautiful surroundings. The Smugglers Bar provides a range of drinks and single malt whiskies amongst historic oak beams.

19 September 2019: Enquiries

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