As conversations about sustainability and zero waste lifestyles become increasingly common in the daily lives of consumers all over the world (thank you Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg) and as supermarkets come under neccessary pressure to get rid of some of their unneccessary plastic packaging, thoughts of growing one’s own fruit and veg become more tantalising and within reach than ever before.
Enter orchards; places of retreat, places of biodiversity, green spaces where fruit trees are well, fruitful. The self-sufficiency and circular ways of working that reside and occur within orchards make them havens for the modern, conscious consumer. If you haven’t the space to grow your own, a day trip to an orchard can still very much be on the cards. Orchards are spread over the UK and are available to visit. Here are our pick of the bunch…
The Best Orchards in the UK
Brogdale Collections, Faversham
Book a walking tour of the Brogdale Collections’ orchards during the open season of April to October and learn and sample their homegrown fruits. Their fruit collection consists of 4,000 different fruits including apples, cherries, medlars and plums to name a few, all of which can be explored via a walking tour as mentioned, a self-guided tour for those who want to walk at their own pace, or a tractor tour ideal for those less mobile. brogdalecollections.org
The Orchard at Lyveden, Lyveden
The National Trust has been caring for The Orchard at Lyveden, previously owned by Sir Thomas Tresham, since 2000. Specialising in apples, they put on The Apple Weekend on October 6-7 to celebrate the produce and allow guests to explore the Elizabethan orchard which holds over 300 trees with 19 different varieties of apples. nationaltrust.org.uk
Fenton House and Garden, Hampstead
Another National Trust gem, Fenton House and Garden is a 17th century house with a 300 year old walled garden where an orchard full of apples and pears can be found. nationaltrust.org.uk
RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey
Visit the orchard at Wisley in summer to get a behind the scenes look at how fruit ripens and to enjoy shaded walks from the sun. With over 1,300 types of fruit, this orchard is the most accessible collection of apples, pears and plums in the UK. They also have a special collections area with a small scale selection of gooseberries, currants, rhubarb, figs and other soft fruits. rhs.org.uk
Hill Close Gardens, Warwick
Hill Close Gardens consists of 16 hedged Victorian gardens with plentiful plots of fruit and vegetables, specifically plums and other soft fruits. Visit specifically in October for Apple Day where guests can taste rare types of apples. hillclosegardens.com
Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire
Once the country house of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, this 19th century house now under the ownership of the National Trust includes a walled garden. Sit here amongst the fruit trees and vegetable plots and discover historical insights from the volunteer experts on hand. nationaltrust.org.uk
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