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Top Ten National Trust Gardens

Chelcey Berryhill - Tuesday April 28, 2015 15:16

A trip to England isn’t complete without a trip to a proper English Garden. Fortunately, Royal Oak members enjoy unlimited access to the finest gardens in the UK through the National Trust. Become a member today to take advantage! Join Now

There’s hardly anything more intoxicating after a long, cold winter than the first sight of blossoms at the start of Spring. The inviting colors, mixed with the glorious sunshine, immediately remedy a winter of heavy coats, snow-soaked boots and cracked hands.

We Anglophiles know that the true wonder of Spring can only be found in an English garden, though. It’s a long, celebrated tradition, one that captures the rhythm of nature. Lord Cavendish captured this spirit beautifully, explaining at a Spring 2014 Royal Oak lecture that:  “Gardens are and should be ephemeral. They’re about the giving and taking of pleasure.”

With that ephemeral beauty in mind, let’s enjoy the garden for the few wonderful months it’s here. Make sure to check out these Top Ten National Trust Gardens on your next trip to the UK!

The Temple of Apollo and Rhododendrons reflected in the lake at Stourhead, Wiltshire.

The Temple of Apollo and Rhododendrons reflected in the lake at Stourhead, Wiltshire.

1. Stourhead, Wiltshire 

One of the finest landscape gardens in the world, Stourhead is the quintessential landscape garden. Offering stunning vistas, the garden was designed by Henry Hoare to blend classical mythology with natural beauty. The success of that marriage is stunning, and was the subject of Royal Oak’s 2014 National Trust Appeal, which raised $235,000 to conserve key landscape features.

Sissinghurst Garden

Sissinghurst Garden

2. Sissinghurst, Kent 

Sissinghurst Garden attracts visitors far and wide; it’s among the most popular of all the National Trust’s properties. The garden is impeccably manicured, and true to the spirit of the legendary writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West.

3. Ickworth, Suffolk 

Ickworth’s iconic Rotunda isn’t the only thing to see at this East England property. Spend the day wandering around miles of parkland and woodland before retreating into an 18th century walled garden.

The house from The Lake in autumn at Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire. Image shows property that is privately owned.

Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire.

4. Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire

A Victorian Garden, Biddulph Grange draws on its designer’s visits abroad. The garden draws on on everything from Italy to Egypt and even includes visions of the Far East.

Red deer at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire.

Red deer at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire.

5. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

Fountain’s Abbey, like Ickworth, is another property with an iconic structure surrounded by unique, curated natural beauty. Beyond the famous ruins lies a deerpark and one of the world’s finest water gardens, perfect for a spring day in the sun.

The Shamrock Garden at Mount Stewart, Northern Ireland

6. Mount Stewart House, Garden and Temple of the Winds, County Down

Mount Stewart is Northern Ireland’s signature country house, and it’s just reopened after a three-year, £8 million restoration project. The results are spectacular, and extend beyond the house itself. The grounds consist of multiple gardens: The Shamrock Garden, the Sunken Garden, the Spanish Garden, The Italian Garden and the Dodo Terrace. The jaw-dropping house and expansive, varied gardens is an unusual treat.

7. Charlecote Park, Warwickshire

Designed by Capability Brown, Charlecote Park blends the English garden and home beautifully. The picturesque landscape surrounds a Victorian manor, giving visitors a taste of 19th century country life.   In 2014, Royal Oak sent an English garden historian to research the park. You can read all about Eduard’s experience on our scholarships page.

And, like Hidcote, Charlecote is right next to Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon. We’ve even got the weekend trip from London all mapped out for you here.


Hidcote, Gloucestershire

8. Hidcote, Gloucestershire 

In the North Coswalds, right next to Shakespeare’s home of Stratford-upon-Avon, Hidcote is perhaps England’s finest garden. With its American ties – it was designed by horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston, a US native – and elaborate and colorful outdoor “rooms,” Hidcote is not to be missed.

9. Dyffryn, Vale of Glamorgan

Dyffryn unites different natural treasures on its ground, offering formal lawns, an arboretum and manicured gardens. The tree specimens, in particular, are world class, a perfect place for a spring stroll

Nymans, West Sussex

Nymans, West Sussex

10. Nymans, West Sussex

Home to a historic collection of plants from around the world, the garden changes beautifully season-to-season, offering a new look for the return visitor. Garden rangers offer regular guided tours twice a day, too!

topics: Travel