Enjoy the magical colours, smells, views and relaxing spaces at the Top 20 National Trust gardens during the summer months.
With long, refreshing days to look forward to, it’s time to make the most of nature and soak up the sun while you’re at it. So do your body and your soul a favour and travel around the National Trust garden circuit this summer.
Here are the National Trust’s top 20 must-see gardens:
Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
There are colours and scents on a big scale in this beautiful, relaxing setting comprising over 114 acres. You’ll find rolling lawns, sweeping avenues, formal gardens, wildlife habitats, classical statuary and a working watermill. And don’t miss the herbaceous border and dahlia gardens for vibrant splashes of colour.
Belton House, Lincolnshire
Enjoy passing time by the fountain and pool in the colourful Italian garden or walk the grand, yew-lined path in the Dutch garden, spotting sculptures along the way.
Beningbrough Hall and Gardens, North Yorkshire
Discover the Victorian walled garden and spectacular pear avenue – its borders overflow with colour and scent while the walls shelter a range of pears, apples and figs.
Biddulph Grange, Staffordshire
Discover ‘upside-down’ trees, rockwork, a formal Italian garden, Egyptian court and a tranquil Chinese garden – complete with ornate wooden temple and footbridge over ‘Chinese waters’ filled with exotic fish.
Bodnant, Conwy Valley
Grand terraced lawns, a laburnum tunnel, a renowned collection of Chinese rhododendrons, a romantic waterfall and an 18th-century pavilion are sure to make a lasting impression.
Enjoy a burst of Victorian colour on the Dahlia walk, where over 700 flowers bloom in fiery hues. The carpet bed is just as spectacular; its geometric pattern is planted differently each year.
Emmetts Garden, Kent
Bask in the panoramic views over the Weald and towards the North Downs and enjoy magnificent display of rhododendrons and azaleas in early summer with fragrant roses in the formal garden in late summer.
A contrast to the busy blooms of many summer gardens, Erddig is a place of simple geometry in trees, hedges and water. Admire the craftsmanship; the razor-edged hedges, the pleached – flat trained – limes, espaliered apples and fan-trained peaches.
Studley Royal is one of the best surviving examples of a Georgian water garden. Elegant ornamental lakes, canals, temples and cascades provide a succession of dramatic eye-catching vistas. The garden also provides the perfect complement to Fountains Abbey, the largest monastic ruin in the country.
Hidcote Manor Gardens, Gloucestershire
One of the most inventive and influential gardens of the 20th-century, Hidcote set the trend for dividing a garden into ‘rooms’. Full of contrasts, this garden is fiery and red at one turn and calm and white at the next.
Mount Stewart, Co. Down
With its tapestry-like design, Mount Stewart is one of the most unusual gardens in the National Trust’s ownership and its finest hour is in mid-summer. But there’s something to see, whatever the season, including a wide variety of plants from countries such as South Africa and Japan. Enjoy the formal, Italian garden, the sunken Spanish garden, beautiful rhododendrons and the lake walk. There are all kinds of oddities to delight children in the garden, even crocodiles and dodos.
Feast your senses at the National Collection of old-fashioned roses in the walled garden at Mottisfront. You will find your senses of sight, smell and sound respond to many stimuli at this garden where the babbling priory stream gushes down the waterfall.
This Sussex Weald garden boasts a historic collection of plants gathered from around the world. In spring, there is a heavenly showing of prunus blossoms. Then in June, the borders provide fresh, dynamic early summer displays using unusual perennial plants. And Nymans’ famous, double summer borders of annuals provide colour for July, August and September. Look out for the eucryphias – dazzling shrubs from South America and Tasmania that produce big, starry white flowers in August.
Plas Newydd, Gwynedd
Overlooking the Menai Straits, with uninterrupted views to Snowdonia, Plas Newydd is home to a spectacular collection of rhododendrons. Some flower as late as July. There are also plenty of vibrant, summer plantings in the formal garden.
Powis Castle & Garden, Powys
Spectacular hanging terraces with giant, yew hedges are the star of show, here. But the formal gardens, aviary, woodland wilderness and views of Severn valley all add to the wow-factor.
Rowallane Garden, Co. Down
This wild yet relaxed garden blends seamlessly into the natural landscape. Laid out in the 1860s, it is famous for its woodland rock garden where blue Himalayan poppies and Asian primulas grow in huge drifts.
Sissinghurst Castle, Kent
Discover the famed garden rooms, vistas and exuberant planting schemes in this inspirational garden. You will particularly enjoy its scent-drenched rose garden, colourful lime walk and the famous grey, green and white garden.
Sizergh Castle and Garden, Cumbria
At the gateway to the Lake District, this 1,600-acre estate includes a stunning garden complete with lake, kitchen garden, orchard and magnificent herbaceous border. Sizergh is home to the Trust’s largest limestone rock garden and the beehives introduced last year are now producing honey for purchase in the shop. Estate walks with magnificent views over the Lakeland Fells can be downloaded here.
The lake, two classical temples, a rock bridge, waterfalls and a grotto all vie to captivate, combining to create a picturesque scene in this beautiful 18th-century landscape. In June, the gardens will be full of bright rhododendrons; in July, look forward to virburnum, magnolias and philadelphus; with hydrangeas in August.
Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire
With over 40 ornamental garden monuments, in a landscape that includes wide open spaces and ornamental lakes, this magnificent’ Capability’ Brown landscape is the perfect place to stroll during the summer months.
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