While the lockdown has put a scupper on our day-trip plans for the foreseeable future, there’s still an outside chance that it’ll be lifted before the end of summer. When that happens, we’ll be able to visit all of those locations that have been denied to us until now. While non-essential travel is out of the question at the moment, we can still make plans for after the pandemic. Among the places you might consider visiting are some of the UK’s famous outdoor gardens. Let’s run through a few of them.
This sprawling estate was a palatial holiday home of Queen Victoria, who said of it that “it is impossible to imagine a prettier spot”. While the house itself is very impressive, it’s the extensive gardens, complete with renovated terraces and fruit trees planted by Prince Albert himself, that make the trip worthwhile during summer. Travelling to Southampton via train is simple, and from there you’ll be able to take a ferry across the water.
At the moment, Kew is putting on virtual tours of its famous grounds – which should be able to tide would-be visitors over until the gardens themselves reopen. With more than fifty thousand varieties of plant on offer, this is the crown jewel of the UK’s impressive array of botanical gardens.
Hidcote Manor came to be as a farmhouse in the 17th century, but it wasn’t until the early 20th century that it earned a new lease of life thanks to the efforts of Lawrence Johnston, who oversaw the development of the gardens until their eventual purchase by the National Trust in the ‘40s.
Gardens of Heligan
Heligan is a great story of recovery and restoration. Following the first world war, its 200 acres fell into disrepair. But almost a century later, in the 90s, efforts were made to uncover and restore the grounds to their former glory. It’s a secret garden that you’ll want to make time to visit!
This one is slightly different in that the house is administered on behalf of the National Trust by Lord Faringdon, and you’ll need a ticket in order to enter, even if you’re a National Trust member. The latest addition to the grounds is the ‘Faux Fall’, a water feature by David Harber consisting of a series of cascading steel panels, over which water is poured.
In the centre of rural Lincolnshire, you’ll find the Belvoir estate, complete with a range of homestays – from quaint little cottages to the Shepard’s Hut. The castle itself actually featured onscreen recently, in the third season of the Crown, where it substituted for Windsor Castle.
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