Bill and Ben Chelsea Flower Show 2019
Bill and Ben Chelsea Flower Show 2019

This tour combines the colour, prestige and excitement of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with some of the south of England’s finest gardens, affording the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of horticultural excellence.

Our twin-centre holiday includes visits to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the unmissable gardens of RHS Garden Wisley, Sissinghurst in Kent and Great Dixter.

From our hotel in the West Country we visit the ancient Bishop’s Palace in Wells, the Harold Peto designed garden at Iford Manor and Hestercombe, one of Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens’ greatest masterpieces. We also have some time in the town of Bath, famous for its Roman baths and elegant Georgian terraces. We conclude with a wander round Tyntesfield, a fine National Trust Victorian country house with a glorious walled garden, before returning to London.

What's included?

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

Led by...

Michael Gill

Michael Gill Tour Manager

Michael Gill is one of Brightwater’s most popular tour managers with a loyal following among regular guests.

Today's Price

Deposit: £125 Single supplement: £330

Tour highlights:

  • The Great British gardening event of the year, The Chelsea Flower Show
  • The ornamental and experimental gardens of RHS Wisley
  • The world-renowned courtyard gardens of Sissinghurst Castle
  • Temples, urns and grottoes in the timeless landscape of Stourhead
  • Hestercombe Gardens – a horticultural masterpiece from Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens

Tour details

Dates 25 May 2023 - 31 May 2023
Duration 7 days
Today's Price
Deposit: £125 Single supplement: £330 Balance due by 2 March 2023
Activity Level
Tour code BCHA230525

Departure Points

Location Depart Return
Tothill St, Westminster
1015 1730
London Heathrow Airport 1130 1630

Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.

25 May 2023: Itinerary

We depart from our pick-up points in London and transfer to RHS Garden Wisley, which is where the Royal Horticultural Society shows the gardening public how it should be done. Here the highest standards of practical horticulture are deployed in the setting of a splendid old site rich in fine trees against a backdrop of other plants, all impeccably labelled. A guided tour is included here.

Later we continue to our hotel where dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Holiday Inn, Farnborough

After breakfast this morning we depart for our full-day visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which holds a rare position as a great British tradition and an exciting source of inspiration and advice. One of the highlights of the show is the collection of over 20 full-sized show gardens. Inside the Great Marquee visitors have their senses ravished by the hundreds of floral displays, many of them incorporating new, rare and unusual plants. Other popular features here include flower arranging, floristry and garden design marquees, courtyard gardens, window boxes and hanging baskets. Dinner is served back at our hotel in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Holiday Inn, Farnborough

This morning after breakfast, we head for the manicured gardens of Sissinghurst, where we are treated to an exclusive guided tour before the gardens open to the public. This famous garden was created by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson from 1930 onwards and became the most admired English Garden of its time. Few great gardens live up to their reputations so effortlessly as this. Sissinghurst is a large connoisseurs’ garden consisting of a series of small romantic areas enclosed by the surviving parts of an Elizabethan mansion. It never disappoints its visitors, it has the power of enchantment, but it is also an unending source of inspiration for all gardeners. Sissinghurst is surely as close to gardening perfection as you can get, and it continues to be one of the most copies flower gardens in the world.

We continue to another classic English Country Garden – Great Dixter, where we are treated to an exclusive guided tour. The distinguished garden writer Christopher Lloyd (who died in January 2006 at the aged of 84) was the genius behind Great Dixter, with its timbered 15th century house. Restored by Sir Edwin Lutyens who also planned the garden, Mr Lloyd has firmly put his lively stamp on it. A recent experiment involved installing a summer tropical garden rich in bold shapes and brilliant colours. No gardener could come to Great Dixter without making discoveries and rekindling a zest for gardening.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Holiday Inn, Farnborough

After breakfast we will check out of the hotel and make our way to the gardens of Wilton House, an impressive Palladian mansion near Salisbury. The 17th century garden by Isaac de Caus was removed in 1737 by the 'Architect Earl' of Pembroke to create a serpentine park with the first Palladian bridge. Sir William Chambers later designed a casino and eye-catcher in the park and Richard Westmacott designed an 'Italian garden' with a terrace and a parterre in the 1820s. Today the water features and rose gardens create a tranquil haven beside the River Nadder.

Later, we depart for a visit to the gardens of lford Manor, near Bradford on Avon where we have an exclusive private visit. This romantic award-winning Italian garden designed by Harold Peto contains a formal garden on old terraces embellished with his collection of classical statuary and architectural fragments, which we will discover on our guided tour. Steep flights of steps link the terraces with pools, fountains, loggias, colonnades, urns and figures.

We continue to our hotel, where dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: The Walnut Tree Hotel, North Petherton

After breakfast we visit the Bishop’s Palace, a stunning mediaeval palace which has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for 800 years, having been founded in the early thirteenth century when Bishop Jocelin Trotman, the first Bishop to hold the title Bishop of Bath and Wells, received a crown licence to build a residence and deer park on land to the south of the Cathedral of St Andrew. Here we will enjoy a special ‘Horticulture at the Palace’ tour on arrival. There are 14 acres of gardens to explore, including the beautiful well pools from which the city takes its name. We will also have some free time in Wells to experience the city’s architecture, view its breathtaking cathedral and have free time for lunch.

In the afternoon we visit Hestercombe, one of Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens’ greatest masterpieces. The garden is home to a round pool in a round walled garden filled with wintersweet and roses, a Dutch garden of lamb's ears, lavender and the most beautiful orangery of the 20th century. Everywhere there are details of design and planting from which any gardener can learn.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: The Walnut Tree Hotel, North Petherton

This morning, following breakfast, we visit the garden at Stourhead (NT). 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.

In the afternoon we transfer to the historic city of Bath for some free time. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city of Bath has many of the finest architectural sights in Europe such as the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge. It houses a variety of museums and attractions including the Roman Baths, Jane Austen Centre and Thermae Bath Spa. You may wish to take the opportunity to do some shopping, visit a museum or experience the properties of the Thermae Bath Spa, where you can relax in two spectacular baths, fed by the natural thermal waters and refresh yourself in a series of aromatic steam rooms (not included).

We return to our hotel, where dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: The Walnut Tree Hotel, North Petherton

After breakfast we check out of the hotel and travel to Tyntesfield, near Bristol, a fine Victorian country house created by one of England's richest commoners, William Gibbs, who built his fortune on fertiliser. Spiralling turrets and pinnacles adorn the roof, ornate stone carvings and church-like windows complete the Gothic look, giving the feel of a mysterious, fairytale mansion. Beyond the grandeur that visitors of the Gibbs family would have seen, you will also discover a family home and the evidence of their changing fortunes. Terraced lawns give way to spacious parkland filled with hundreds of trees collected by the family, and a glorious walled kitchen garden beyond. The rolling Somerset hills in the distance create an atmospheric backdrop. A guided tour is included here.

Following this, our final visit, we return to our drop-off points in London, where the group will disperse or make onward connections.

Meals include: Breakfast

25 May 2023: Additional Info

25 May 2023: Accommodation

Refurbished in 2018, Holiday Inn Farnborough is set in an impressive Edwardian building and features a modern leisure club and an international restaurant. With free on-site parking, Guildford is just 20 minutes away.

The bright and airy bedrooms have en suite bathrooms and tea and coffee facilities. All rooms feature a satellite TV with interactive games and on-demand movies. There is also ample work space.

The Spirit Health Club features a swimming pool, spa bath, steam room and sauna. There is also a fitness suite, and an on-site beauty therapist, offering a range of therapeutic treatments.

The Junctions Restaurant serves a cosmopolitan menu in stylish surroundings. There is also a cocktail lounge and cosy bar area, offering a selection of beverages and light snacks. A breakfast buffet is available each morning.

The Walnut Tree Hotel is an 18th-century hotel set in the heart of Somerset. The hotel has been tastefully modernised to meet and exceed the high levels of quality, service and hospitality expected by both our guests. 

All bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms with complimentary toiletries and hairdryer, along with TV and tea and coffee-making facilities.

25 May 2023: Enquiries

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