Windsor Castle’s East Terrace Garden

The Best Gardens in the UK

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Prepare to go green with (garden) envy

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Our pick of the best gardens in the UK to visit now.

20 Best Gardens in The World

Gardens take a lot of work and commitment. We might be dedicated to the cause, but without a considerable amount of elbow grease and an understanding for soil and seasons, our gardens are in danger of becoming a little mismanaged, at the very least.

Here in Britain, many of us are obsessive in our journey to greenness. Whether a cottage garden all quaint and serene, or a sweeping escape of modernity, we take pride in our foliage. But inspiration is required at times. To get the ball rolling, we bring you some of the best gardens in the UK.

The Best Gardens in the UK


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  • Windsor Castle’s East Terrace Garden

    Windsor Castle’s East Terrace Garden

    Originally designed for King George IV by English architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville between the years 1824 and 1826, Windsor Castle’s East Terrace Garden is a verdant – and historic – work of art. The idyllic plot (formerly a bowling green designed for King Charles II in the 1670s) was commissioned to provide the King with ‘a pleasant view’ from the castle’s new suite of royal apartments, on which Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were later assigned a small vegetable plot during the Second World War. The garden was opened to the public for the first time in 40 years last summer, and is now welcoming visitors once again (on weekends from 24 July until 5 September). A must-visit this season.

    Image: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021.

  • Farleys House & Gallery Sculpture Garden

    Sculpture Garden at Farleys House & Gallery

    This pretty sculpture garden surrounds the house of artists Lee Miller and Roland Penrose. It was redesigned by Penrose in 1949 to resemble the rooms of a house, complete with an orchard area, a more formal flower garden and lawns which were used for picnics and playing croquet with visitors. Nowadays, the garden houses over 20 permanent works by contemporary artists alongside new pieces – the 2021 display includes an installation by Christine Kowal Post exploring the mythological and spiritual significance of dogs. Muddles Green, Chiddingly, BN8 6HW

  • Chatsworth House

    Chatsworth House Garden

    Local visitors are now being welcomed back to the world-famous grounds of Chatsworth House, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Since being closed to the public, the 105-acre gardens have bloomed with thousands of new plants and trees. There’s also a new display of medieval masterpieces, plus thousands of new plants and trees. Chatsworth House, Bakewell DE45 1PP

  • Chelsea Physic Gardens

    Chelsea Physic Garden

    For Londoners, this garden is nestled in a microclimate next to the Thames on Swan Walk in Chelsea. The walled space was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries for apprentices to study medicinal plants. It’s also the oldest botanical garden in London. Recently the garden secured funding for its heritage project to restore its historic range of Victorian-designed glasshouses, with work set to begin in spring this year. 66 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, SW3 4HS

  • Wrest Park Flickr Karen Roe 2013

    Wrest Park

    These vast gardens showcase over three centuries of design, incorporating French, Dutch, Italian and English landscaping styles. Don’t miss the statue of Diana, the goddess of hunting. Silsoe, Bedfordshire, MK45 4HR

    Image: Wrest Park Flickr Karen Roe 2013 

  • bodnant gardens

    Bodnant Gardens

    Bodnant Gardens located in Colwyn Bay is a world-famous and respected garden home to national collections of plants. Created over 150 years, the plants collected and brought over from far afield have helped create this haven of rarity and beauty with a stunning backdrop of the Carneddau mountains and Snowdonia. Bodnant Rd, Tal-y-cafn, Colwyn Bay LL28 5RE

  • Buscot park house

    Buscot Park

    To enjoy Buscot Park to the fullest, time should be taken to explore the extensive gardens that surround the late eighteenth-century house. They consist of the Four Seasons garden, water garden and Woodland avenues. Faringdon, Oxfordshire SN7 8BU

  • Home of Charles Darwin Flickr Glen Bowman 2016

    The Home of Charles Darwin

    One of the most compelling gardens in the UK, explore Charles Darwin’s outdoor laboratory at Down House. As it stands, the gardens are a relaxed family area, but on closer inspection, you can see the scientist’s work throughout. A historic tour. Luxted Road, Downe, Kent, BR6 7JT

  • Tresco Flickr Nosha 2012

    Tresco Abbey Gardens

    You’ll have to travel a little farther afield for these, but they’re worth it. Founded on the island of Tresco, on the Isles of Scilly, in 1834, unusual plants are abounded due to the warmer climates, and protection from salt winds. Tresco Abbey Garden, Isles of Scilly TR24 0QQ

    Image: Tresco Flickr Nosha 2012 

  • Garden at Sissinghurst Castle Glen Bowman Flickr 2016

    Sissinghurst Castle

    Whether you’re inspired by the love story between Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, or simply the beauty of the garden, Sissinghurst Castle’s blend of fresh greenery and stone walks has become one of the most iconic of them all. Biddenden Road, near Cranbrook, Kent, TN17 2AB

    Image: Garden at Sissinghurst Castle Glen Bowman Flickr 2016

  • belvoir castle garden

    Belvoir Castle

    Belvoir Castle is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Rutland. Crowning a hill in Leicestershire, its turrets and towers look over the Vale of Belvoir. The estate has been divided up into four sections; The Formal, The Japanese, The Duchess and Hermits – all unique and stunning in their own right. Grantham, Leicestershire, NG32 1PE

  • Levens Hall Flickr HorsesItch 2011

    The Topiary Gardens at Levens Hall

    As gardens in the UK go, this one’s pretty fascinating. Levens Hall houses the most extensive topiary garden in the world. If you want to get creative with your gardening, mark this as your challenge. Levens Hall, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 0PD

  • Hestercombe Gardens Flickr Wendy Cutler 2010

    Hestercombe House

    Hestercombe House is nestled in a sleepy little village in Taunton, Somerset. The gardens feature two exquisite historic landscapes – the 18th century park by Copleston Warre Bampfylde, and a Lutyens/Jekyll area with formal stonework and classic colour schemes. Hestercombe House, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, Somerset TA2 8LG

  • Barbara Hepworth Gardens Flickr Phill Lister 2015

    Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden

    The former home of St Ives artist Barbara Hepworth houses the Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, which displays a collection of her work in the clutches of west Cornwall. Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden, Barnoon Hill, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 1TG 

    Image: Barbara Hepworth Gardens Flickr Phill Lister 2015 

  • Stourhead Gardens Flickr Flowcomm 2009

    Stourhead Gardens

    This Palladian mansion and world-famous landscape garden is a captivating escape in the country. The lake is a must see. Stourhead, near Mere, Wiltshire, BA12 6QF

    Image: Stourhead Gardens Flickr Flowcomm 2009

  • iford manor

    Iford Manor

    In 1899, Harold Ainsworth Peto discovered Iford and the individuality of the garden owes everything to his inspiration and eye for combining architecture and plants. Set in 2.5 acres, the Italian style grounds provide visitors with an abundance of plants but also picturesque views over the valley. They have even launched their own Cider handcrafted on the estate, born from the desire to use the apples from the ‘forgotten’ orchards which can be visited whilst at the manor. Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 2BA

  • Carisbrooke Castle Flickr wdw1998 2013

    Princess Beatrice Garden at Carisbrooke Castle

    Designed by Chris Beardshaw, the award-winning gardener, this fragrant, floral spot is known for its architectural elements and geometric pattern. The plants represent Princess Beatrice’s blue, red and gold heraldic crest. Don’t miss the orchard either… Castle Hill, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1XY.

    Image: Carisbrooke Castle Flickr 1998 2013

  • Sculpture By The Lakes

    Sculpture By The Lakes

    Set in 26 acres of bucolic Dorset countryside, renowned sculptor Simon Gudgeon has blended inspiring pieces with natural beauty and Monique, Simon’s wife, has created a modern garden which perfectly compliments the sculptures. The garden was inspired by several places both in the UK and around the globe and features over 3,500 different trees and shrubs, as well as herbaceous plants, bulbs and grasses. From bees and butterflies to birds and other wild visitors, Monique’s main aim is to restore the original flora as much as possible. Sculpture by the Lakes, Pallington, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 8QU

    Image: Firebird by Simon Gudgeon

  • Pashley Manor Gardens

    Pashley Manor Gardens

    A statue of Anne Boleyn by Philip Jackson stands on a moated island in the grounds of this Tudor house, once owned by her great-grandfather. Their tulip festival is not one to miss, with 40,000 tulips (of 112 different varieties) creating a carpet of colour. Their enchanting bluebell walk is also a must. Pashley Manor Gardens, Ticehurst, Near Wadhurst, East Sussex, TN5 7HE

    Image: Herbaceous borders by Kate Wilson

  • Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

    Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

    Just a mile from Edinburgh city centre lie 70 acres of carefully curated greenery. In the summer months, the herbaceous border is at its prime and the ponds in the glasshouses are sporting exotic sacred lotuses and tropical water lilies. Royal Botanic Garden, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR

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Featured image: GettyImages

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