Windsor Castle’s East Terrace Garden

The Best Gardens in the UK

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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. 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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