Friday, 10 June 2016

Top Summer Gardens

Many National Trust gardens are at their peak during the summer months, with striking colours, heady scents and relaxing spaces to take in the view. Here are the top National Trust gardens to explore this summer

Written by National Trust
Anglesey Abbey Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire
With wide avenues and a sweeping Herbaceous Border, Anglesey Abbey Gardens are the perfect place to while away a summer's afternoon. Enjoy the heady scent of the Rose Garden, dazzling dahlias and the natural beauty of over 30 acres of wildflower meadows. Take a stroll down to the historic working water mill where you can buy freshly milled wholemeal flour, or sit back and watch the world float by in the newly opened Sky Garden.

Berrington Hall, Herefordshire
Escape the summer crowds with a tranquil stroll through Berrington's 450 acres of parkland designed by 'Capability' Brown. Some 200 years on from its design, the oak and beech trees have matured and the park truly looks as Brown envisioned. During the summer months, the walled garden will be in full bloom, with colourful flower borders, a flourishing vegetable patch and an orchard filled with historical varieties of apples, all cared for by National Trust gardeners.

Make a weekend of it: The Triumphal Arch is an unusual cottage at Berrington Hall which has views across the Capability Brown gardens and its parkland. Take time to relax in the beautiful surroundings while enjoying the knowledge that every stay at a National Trust property helps the charity care for special places like this forever, for everyone to enjoy.

Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire
Biddulph is a fine example of a high Victorian garden created by James Bateman for his collection of exotic plants from around the world. A visit in summertime takes you on a global journey from Italy to the pyramids of Egypt, a Victorian vision of China and a re-creation of a Himalayan glen. The garden features collections of rhododendrons, summer bedding displays, a stunning dahlia walk in late summer and the oldest surviving golden larch in Britain, brought from China in the 1850s. It's the perfect place for a lazy summer stroll full of discovery and exploration. And you can be sure that every penny you spend on a visit to Biddulph Grange is helping the National Trust care for the gardens for many summers to come.

Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
Bursting to life in the summer months, Dyffryn is an idyllic place to soak up the summer sun. The Grade I gardens feature a stunning collection of formal lawns, an extensive arboretum housing tree specimens from all over the world and a number of intimate garden rooms for visitors to relax in. In high summer, the sunshine streams through the garden's reinstated glasshouse, highlighting its inspiring collection of cacti and orchids.

Late night Fridays, 24 June & 8 July, 10am - 8pm
Bring a bottle of bubbly and a picnic to enjoy your dinner al fresco at Dyffryn Gardens. With musical performances and a relaxed atmosphere, make this a summer evening to remember.
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply) For more information, please call: 02920 593328

NT-Gardens-590-2The Rotunda at Ickworth House, Suffolk.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire
What better way to enjoy a warm summer's stroll than by cool water at this World Heritage Site. Marvel at one of the best surviving Georgian water gardens, with breathtaking views of the Cistercian Abbey, canals, neo-classical temples and elegant ornamental lakes. Conservation work has opened up some eye-catching vistas, so there's a stunning view around every corner. There are 800 acres to explore with medieval deer park, a Victorian high Gothic church, Jacobean manor house and a surviving Cistercian corn mill.
While you're there:

Landscapes and Gardens: A Capability Brown Embroiderer's Guild Exhibition, 1 July – 31 August, 10am – 5.30pm
Celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of the world-famous landscape designer 'Capability' Brown, the Embroiderers' Guild has drawn upon the beautiful gardens of England as inspiration for a textile exhibition. Step into Fountains Hall to see the beauty and genius of the Studley Royal Water Garden with its breath taking vista of Fountains Abbey interpreted in textile and stitch.Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply) For more information, please call: 01765 608888

Make a weekend of it: There are 11 places to choose from on the Fountains' estate including an Elizabethan manor house, Yorkshire stone cottages and stylishly-converted 17th-century barns. Cottages sleep between two and 10 people, for larger groups of friends and family there are five cottages which can be booked together at How Hill. And every single stay helps the National Trust care for special places like Fountains for ever, for everyone to enjoy.

Hare Hill, Cheshire
Hare Hill is a delightful, tranquil woodland garden with sweeping views across Manchester. With an historic walled garden at its core it is a mecca for birds and other wildlife. Cheshire has the densest pond landscape in Britain, and the ponds dotted around Hare Hill are home to newts, frogs, water boatman and pond skaters who live in these increasingly endangered habitats. The ponds also house Mandarin ducks, dragonflies, damselflies and an occasional heron. Traditional horse power is being used to help dredge some of the ponds over the summer to improve the wildlife environment. Beehives and a magnificent, huge white border in the walled garden which blooms in late summer add to the charm of this jewel-like garden.

Late night openings: 9 & 10 June, 6pm – 8pm
Experience the sights, sounds and scents of this summer woodland garden. Every visit to Hare Hill helps the conservation charity to care for the local wildlife, so bring a picnic and relax in the walled garden or see what birdlife you can spot in the woodland birdhide. Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)
For more information please call 01625 827534

Hidcote, Gloucestershire
Cradled in the Cotswolds with stunning views over the Vale of Evesham, a stroll in the gardens at Hidcote is sure to make a lasting impression. Full of contrasts, this garden is fiery and red at one turn and calm and white at the next, where avenues lead to small pockets of shrubs, trees and unusual plant species from all over the world. Explore the maze of narrow paved pathways and discover secret gardens, magnificent vistas and vibrant, exotic plants. Find a quiet spot and sit on one of the ornate benches and watch green woodpeckers search for their lunch or listen to the calls from the buzzards circling overhead.

Ickworth, Suffolk
With miles of parkland and woodland to explore, a wander or cycle around Ickworth Park makes a grand place for a summer's day out. Don't miss the informal Italianate garden, one of the oldest surviving examples of its kind, created in 1821. Discover the enchanting Victorian stumpery, a rockery made out of parts of trees which is one of the largest in the UK. Beyond this lie the remnants of an 18th-century walled garden, a magical summerhouse and a dazzling lake, a perfect place to relax and enjoy a picnic with the family. Before you leave take a visit to the Tea Party Oak, at around 700 years old, this magnificent tree is one of the oldest on the estate.

NT-Gardens-590-3The Gothic Tower folly at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire

Make a weekend of it:
There are four cottages on the Ickworth Estate including the Round House, which is set in an enchanting woodland glade overlooking the Fairy Lake and a former gardener's house, with its own walled garden filled with fruit trees. With a stay at one of the Ickworth cottages you can soak up the summer sun on the estate after the crowds have gone home and know that every penny you spend on your visit is helping to care for this glorious landscape for years to come.

Mount Stewart, County Down
Mount Stewart is hailed as one of the most unusual gardens cared for by the National Trust due to its tapestry-like design. In early summer the formal displays of scented rhododendrons in the Italian, Spanish, Mairi and Shamrock Gardens are magnificent, and the celebrated collection of scented lilies flower in succession all summer long in the Lily Wood. Due to the mild micro-climate, summer also brings in fresh new growth of ferns, with a large collection of sub-tropical ferns.

Jazz in the Gardens, 26 June, 31 July & 28 August, 2pm – 4.30pm
Bring your picnic and settle down on the lawn with your family and friends to enjoy an afternoon of jazz in the beautiful gardens at Mount Stewart. Every penny you spend at Mount Stewart helps the National Trust care for the landscape for generations to come, so get that feel good factor and treat yourself to an ice cream from the café to complete the day. Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)
For more information, please call: 028 4278 8387

Osterley Park and House, Middlesex
Osterley's formal gardens are a relaxing retreat from urban life during the summer months. Funded by visits to the gardens, they have been transformed during a six year long conservation project from an overgrown wilderness back to their 18th-century grandeur of herbaceous borders, roses and ornamental vegetables beds. Look out for the original Robert Adam summer house full of lemon trees and highly scented shrubs. Take a break on the deckchairs on the temple lawn, enjoy the woodland walk and uncover the forgotten boathouse or picnic in the ancient meadow, bursting with wildflowers and butterflies.

Osterley's Barefoot Walk for National Meadows Day, 2 July, 11am – 4pm
As part of National Meadows Day, Osterley is hosting a walk around the Great Meadow with a difference; no shoes allowed. Get closer to nature and connect with the outdoors whilst exploring the diverse fauna along the way.Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply) For more information, please call: 020 8232 5050

Petworth House and Park, West Sussex
Complete with serpentine ponds and rolling pastures, Petworth's classical 'Capability' Brown landscape is the perfect place to relax with a refreshing drink on a hot summer's day. Marvel at some of the oldest and largest trees in the country on the ancient tree walk and keep an eye out for the magnificent herd of roaming fallow deer as you stroll.

Powis Castle and Garden, Powys, Wales
Explore a paradise in Wales this summer. Dating back 300 years, this bright limestone-red castle has world-class gardens that are steeped in history and boast stunning views across the Severn Valley. Overhanging terraces house an ancient orangery, original statues and an array of rare and tender plants. During the summer months, the gardens will be blooming with roses, poppies, iris and delphinium, as well as wild flowers including common spotted orchids. Weave your way down through terraces and take a stroll through the medieval deer park or get lost in the romantic charm of the woodlands below.

A guided tour of the garden terraces, 15 & 29 June, 6 & 20 July, 11.30am – 12.30pm
Join Powis's knowledgeable garden volunteer on a guided tour of the garden's famous terraces. Find out a little more about their history and take a look at what's currently blooming and how your visit helps fund the work in this glorious garden. Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply) For more information, please call: 01938 551 929

Make a weekend of it: Built in 1908, The Bothy's Edwardian half-timbered style offers fantastic views over the garden from the majority of its rooms, all of which have traditional features. And every single stay helps the National Trust care for special places like Powis for ever, for everyone to enjoy.

Sizergh, Cumbria
This much loved family home nestled on the edge of the Lake District is great for a day of family adventures. Explore the formal Dutch garden and the magnificent limestone rock garden. Admire the views and the tulips that border the terrace walls and take a walk to the beautiful kitchen gardens and orchard. Don't forget to venture into the 1600 acres of rambling estate to spot the rich and diverse wildlife that call Sizergh their home.
Guided walk and talk, 11 - 15 July, 11am & 2pm
To celebrate the opening of the new Stumpery and fern area there will be guided talks to give visitors an insight in their creation as well as complimentary planting and local wildlife. Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply) For more information, please call: 015395 60951

Make a weekend of it: Holeslack is a lovely spacious farmhouse that was once possibly used as the dowager house for the Sizergh estate. It has views over the estate's farmland and in the evening deer walk through the surrounding woods and in to the garden. And every single stay helps the National Trust care for special places like Sizergh for ever, for everyone to enjoy.

NT-Gardens-590-4Dyffryn House, north front

Tyntesfield, North Somerset
Spend a glorious summer's afternoon soaking up the sun in Tyntesfield's gardens and parkland. With a recently restored orangery, a cut flower garden and a walled vegetable garden, the grounds will be blooming and buzzing with life. Explore the rolling parkland, heritage orchard and peaceful woodland of the wider estate and find a shady spot to relax in and watch the world go by. All proceeds from the café help the conservation charity care for beautiful places like Tyntesfield, so why not treat yourself to a guilt-free ice cream from the café to complete that summer feeling?
Live from the Lawn, 27 – 29 August, 10am – 4pm
Back for its third year, Tyntesfield's very own mini music festival will be showcasing amazing Bristol-based performers and artists from further afield. There'll be a main stage, fun workshops and intimate sessions in beautiful settings. Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply) For more information, please call: 01275 461 964

Make a weekend of it: There are three cottages on the estate at Tyntesfield, including the homes of the former Chaplain and family butler, which can be rented together (with an interconnecting door) for up to 11 guests. The smaller Summerhouse cottage is tucked away in a clearing on the wood and sleeps two. All three cottages allow guests to enjoy the gardens and wider estate after-hours. And every single stay helps the National Trust care for special places like Tyntesfield for ever, for everyone to enjoy.

Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
Wimpole's magnificent parkland is the work of many of the greatest names in landscape gardening, including Humphrey Repton and 'Capability' Brown. Take a summer stroll through the parkland to find the Pleasure Grounds where the family would have taken their picnics in the 18th century, surrounded by exotic plants. Some 12,000 plants in the parterre garden bloom in vibrant tones throughout the summer months, and the vegetable plots in the walled garden flourish with tasty produce ready to be eaten in the restaurant.

Capability Brown "CB300 exclusive" guided walk, 1 July, 5 August, 11am – 12.30pm
Discover how 'Capability' Brown altered Wimpole's landscape in this guided walk around the parkland. Walk with an experienced guide on a 2.5 mile route around the North Park, seeing how Brown swept away the formal garden styles of the past and created the natural looking parkland that still survives at Wimpole, on the first Friday of every month between May and September. Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply) For more information, please call: 01223 206000

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