An English Country garden

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An English Country Garden

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

(Marcus Tullius Cicero)

England is a nation of garden lovers, with more gardens open to the public than anywhere else in the world. Join us as we lead you down the garden path and show you the natural wonders of England; walk through the majesty of ‘Capability’ Brown landscapes; drink in the smell of English roses in the secret gardens of the Cotswolds and stop for lunch at a local country pub…

 

London

“London, thou art the flower of cities all!” (William Dunbar)

 

Day 1 London Arrival

Arrive and settle into your central London hotel before we wine and dine al fresco this evening (weather permitting) while enjoying Thameside views. (D)

 

Day 2 Chelsea Physic Garden

After a leisurely breakfast we visit The Chelsea Physic Garden, the oldest botanical garden in London, founded in 1673 and which houses around 5,000 different medicinal, herbal, edible and useful plants. Tucked away beside the Thames you would never know this beautiful oasis is a short distance from the hustle and bustle of central London.

This afternoon enjoy some free time, perhaps visiting one of the capital’s free museums, or shopping, or wander around one of the Royal parks – did you know that with over 3,000 parks and open spaces, London is one of the greenest capital cities in the world.

This evening we will head for a feast of a picnic whilst enjoying a production at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre*. (B, D)

*weather dependent;  an alternative activity will be arranged if required.

 

Day 3 Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

Today we take a short train ride to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew where you can immerse yourself in centuries of horticulture, history and science. We will enjoy a 90-minute privately-guided walking tour.

There is so much to see and do within the 300 acres of Kew Gardens and we will take full advantage of the hop on/hop off Kew Explorer land train to help us get around. We can enjoy breath-taking views across the Gardens 18 metres above the woodland floor on the Treetop Walkway. You can be Queen Bee for the day at The Hive where the lights you see and sounds you hear are triggered by bee activity in a real beehive. Kew Palace was the summer home of George III and is one of the lesser-known royal residences in London. It would be impossible to miss the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world, the Temperate House, which has just re-opened after five years of restoration. It houses an internationally important collection of plants, including some of the rarest and most threatened.

There are no fewer than five cafes and restaurants at Kew Gardens offering lots of choice for our lunch break. (B, L)  

 

Day 4 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

After breakfast today we head to Hampton Court Palace for the world’s largest annual flower show, run by the Royal Horticultural Society. You can enjoy Show Gardens, the Rose Marquee, Floral Marquee, plant pavilions and a variety of talks, demonstrations and exhibits.

Hampton Court Palace is England’s largest and grandest Tudor structure. It was Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence and he brought all his six wives here. We will explore the palace’s magnificent 24 hectares of riverside gardens, including a 300 year old maze.

In keeping with the historical aspect of the day we will head back to central London late afternoon and enjoy supper at a pub local to your hotel, which dates back to the 1820s. (B, D)

 

The Cotswolds

‘And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.’

(‘Adlestrop’ – Edward Thomas)

 

Day 5 Blenheim Palace

After a leisurely breakfast we will board the coach from our London hotel to Woodstock, where lies Blenheim Palace, a World Heritage Site, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and home of the 12th Duke of Marlborough. Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown constructed the Great Lake and planted thousands of trees in his ten-year tenure here.

After a tour of the historic palace we will hop aboard a ‘buggy’ for a tour of the park and gardens, followed by a walk round the secret garden, the majestic water terraces, a fragrant rose garden and the grand cascade and lake. For those young at heart there are The Pleasure Gardens, where you can hop aboard a miniature train, get lost in the giant maze or visit the tropical butterfly house. We will enjoy a traditional pub supper in the lovely market town of Woodstock. (B, D)

 

Day 6 Hidcote Manor Garden & Kiftsgate Court

Today we board our coach to Hidcote Manor Gardens, the Arts and Crafts-style garden divided into a series of outdoor rooms surrounding the manor house. It was built by the American horticulturist Major Lawrence Johnston. There are ponds and fountains, brightly-coloured flowerbeds, views across rolling, sheep-filled meadows and elaborately-sculpted hedgerows.

This afternoon we venture to nearby Kiftsgate Court Gardens, the creation of three generations of women gardeners.  Kiftsgate is famous for an enormous rose bush – possibly the biggest in England – which cascades over three trees.

We round the day off with dinner at the Three Ways House Hotel in Mickleton, which is world famous as the home of The Pudding Club, where we will gather for the Parade of Seven Traditional Puddings, to vote for the best pudding of the night! (B, D)

 

Day 7 Miserden & Barnsley House

Winner of the Historic Houses garden of the year 2018, Miserden is a dreamy secret garden, off the beaten track and undiscovered by the hordes.

This will be followed by a visit to nearby Barnsley House, where we will take lunch at The Potager restaurant, looking out over the exquisite landscaped gardens designed by Rosemary Verey; there will be an opportunity to wander round the gardens after lunch. (B, L)

 

Day 8 Highgrove Royal Gardens & Three Choirs Vineyards

Highgrove is the private residence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and the Prince has transformed the landscape, which was once just lawn, into magical gardens, reflecting his artistic eye as well as his commitment to environmental principles.  On arrival we will be led by one of The Prince of Wales’s expert guides for a two-hour garden tour. At the end of the tour we will enjoy lunch in the Orchard Restaurant at Highgrove, as well as visiting the Highgrove Estate Shop.

This afternoon we venture to one of England’s oldest and largest vineyards nestled deep in the Cotswolds, which provides a unique microclimate, perfect for growing grapes. We will enjoy a private tour and tasting. (B, L)

 

Day 9 Compton Verney & Stow-on-the-Wold

After a leisurely breakfast we will visit Compton Verney to enjoy a wealth of wonders, in particular the Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown lake and landscape which he designed in 1768.

This afternoon we travel on the Roman Fosse Way to Stow-on-the-Wold, a quintessential Cotswolds market town, where you can enjoy some free time to perhaps buy some last minute souvenirs, amble around one of the many antique shops, or we strongly recommend a visit to Huffkins for afternoon tea.  Established c.1890 and family owned, it supplies products to Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and the Royal Palaces.

Tonight we enjoy our farewell dinner in a country pub, nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with superb views over the Evenlode Valley. (B, D)

Day 10 Departure

Today we return to London to catch onward flights home. After a week in the fresh air I  hope you sleep well on your flight home with rose tinted dreams of the glorious English countryside. (B)

 

Included in this trip

Accommodation & Services:

  • 4 nights in London, 5 nights in a country house hotel in the Cotswold countryside.
  • Centrally located, upmarket hotels.
  • The services of an extremely highly qualified and experienced Tour Manager who will accompany you throughout your trip (dependent upon group size; please contact us for more information).
  • Transfers to and from the airport.
  • Private transport to Hampton Court Palace and throughout the Cotswolds.
  • 4-day London Travelcard for unlimited travel on London’s public transport network.
  • All tips. For instance, tips to tour managers, local guides, restaurants and porterage (where available) are all included in the total price; one less thing to think about.
  • We will be visiting: London, Kew, Hampton Court, the Cotswolds including Stow-on-the-Wold, Woodstock.

 

Food & Beverages: 

  • Breakfast and either lunch or dinner (unless otherwise stated).
  • When lunch and/or dinner are included, alcohol in the form of wine and/or beer is provided, unless otherwise stated.
  • Tea, coffee and snacks where stated.

 

Entrances & Tickets: 

  • Chelsea Physic Garden
  • Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre (weather dependent)
  • Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
  • Hampton Court Palace & Gardens
  • Blenheim Palace
  • Hidcote Manor Garden
  • Kiftsgate Court
  • Miserden
  • Barnsley House
  • Highgrove Royal Gardens
  • Compton Verney

 

Guided Tours:

  • Compton Verney
  • Blenheim Palace
  • Highgrove Royal Gardens
  • Three Choirs Vineyards
  • Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
  • Hampton Court Palace & Gardens

 

Activities:

  • buggy tour of Blenheim park and gardens
  • Three Choirs Vineyards tour and tasting
  • miniature train ride at Blenheim
  • dinner at the Three Ways House Hotel with The Pudding Club
  • Kew Explorer land train
  • Treetop Walkway at Kew
  • The Hive at Kew
  • Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
  • performance at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
  • a surprise (we are children at heart after all)

NOT INCLUDED IN THIS TRIP:

  • Flights not included. I would suggest flying in and out of London Heathrow.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Visas, where applicable. (Please note: US and Canadian nationals do not require Visas when traveling to Europe).

There are no ‘optionals’ for sale. Everything you have in the itinerary is included in the total cost.

Customised itinerary designed by Lucy Loves Travel Ltd.

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