Monthly Archives: April 2014

Best of Britains Green and Gorgeous Gardens

Wonderful British gardens

Step out in to wonderful British gardens

When it comes to ‘blooming’ marvellous gardens, Britain has some of the very best. With bountiful greenery, Britain is renowned for its countryside and gardens. What’s more, when it comes to outstanding gardens, these aren’t just found in the country, there are many wonderful secret gardens in cities, brightening up what can otherwise seem in cities to be a man-made landscape. Whilst enjoying a cottage holiday, there are a variety of fantastic gardens that you can visit to help make your holiday all the more enjoyable.


Our Pick of the Best

When it comes to identifying Britain’s best gardens, there are some obvious choices such as Kew Gardens in London with their extensive and exotic collections. In our collection though we’ve picked some of the perhaps less well known but incredibly wonderful gardens hidden away in Britain, making them all the more wonderful when you come across them.

  1. Hidden and Secret Gardens

There is something wonderfully special about hidden gardens that only certain people are in the know about. Local knowledge can be key when it comes to discovering hidden and secret gardens which are well kept secrets. These hidden gardens can also be found in the most surprising of places. One of the very best hidden gardens can be found in London. Temple Gardens are award winning gardens. Hidden within Inner Temple are 3 acres of gardens which include a rare collection of trees as well as colourful flowers in season.  For a true oasis in the city, Temple Gardens are an absolute gem.

2. Walled Gardens

Wonderful walled garden

Walled gardens, wonderful places

There are a number of walled gardens within the collections of the National Trust and English Heritage, many of which form part of larger gardens. There is something about walled gardens giving a feeling of safety and a sense of seclusion in an oasis, far from the noise and hubbub of the world beyond. Some of the wonderful walled gardens to visit in Britain include Helmsley Walled Garden, in the heart of North Yorkshire with its lovely assortment of plants and flowers right next to Helmsley Castle. With 5 acres to explore, there are plenty of green and colourful displays to see here.

3. National Trust Gardens

Wisteria in National Trust's Greys Court gardens

Beautiful wisteria in National Trust’s Greys Court gardens


If you’re not a member of the National Trust you may be unaware that the National Trust protects and cares for some of the best gardens in the country. From historical houses with wildflower meadows to country houses with perfectly manicured landscaped gardens, the National Trust has an impressive range of gardens. One of our favourites is Greys Court close to Henley on Thames. With a network of connected gardens including walled gardens, vegetable gardens and secret gardens, these gardens are wonderful whatever the season and with benches and paths to guide you through, are wonderful places to visit. The wisteria which is hundreds of years old is particularly special. Entrance to these garden is of course free to National Trust members.

4. Royal Horticultural Society Gardens

For those with a real passion for being green fingered, the collection of gardens run by and in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society have to be some of the very best. The RHS has 4 of their own gardens at Wisley, Hyde Hall, Harlow Carr and Rosemoor and there are also 145 partner gardens throughout the country to choose from. Entry is free at partnership gardens for RHS members.


5. Historic Houses Gardens

Stonor Park Gardens

Stonor Park Stunning Gardens complete with water-lillies and dragonflies

The country homes that come under the Historic Houses Association are very special places. Like National Trust properties many of these historical homes have simply outstanding gardens and what makes these all the more special is that many are less visited and less well known than National Trust properties meaning that you have more chance of being able to share them without large groups of other people. Walking around these wonderful gardens with the added bonus of peace and tranquillity and no crowds really adds to the enjoyment factor for many. In fact some of these gardens could even be called secret gardens as many are usually only enjoyed by the families that own these wonderful historical homes and can only be visited by Historic Houses members on specific dates.


Quintessentially English Holiday Homes

Thatched Essex country cottages

Picture-perfect thatched cottages in Essex

Staying in comfortable accommodation in a nice area is on everyone’s list when thinking about going on a self-catering break in England, but choosing a holiday home filled with charm and character is something quite different and is a simply wonderful way of having a holiday that you will never forget. There are plenty of quintessentially English holiday homes dotted around the country, where you can soak up the old charm and wonderful appeal of these other-worldly dwellings and feel like you are stepping into a time long gone by. If you are visiting England and want to really soak up the traditions of the place, or if you are from here already but wish to stay in special accommodation filled with a quintessentially English personality, then renting one of these holiday homes may be ideal for you.

Many of these holiday homes are cottages that look as though they appear in a different time. Houses with thatched roofs are a great choice as they have a wonderful look about them and are rare these days. Inside, they may have original features such as wooden beams running along the ceilings, stone flooring and wood burning stoves, as well as fantastic country kitchens. These types of accommodation can be found in historical and traditional parts of England, in villages and towns in Suffolk, Kent, Devon or Cumbria.

Suffolk thatched cottage

This idyllic Suffolk thatched cottage is the stuff of dreams

As well as all of the old-fashioned and quintessentially English features, all of these accommodations do of course have a modern touch, so that you can experience the best of both worlds. With flat screen television sets, DVD players and a selection of DVDS, hot tubs and power showers and spacious bedrooms with cosy beds, these English holiday homes may look old-fashioned and traditional but you can keep up to date with the present time when inside!
Exploring the culture and history of a little village in Norfolk or a seaside town in Cornwall is a wonderful way of making your holiday even more quintessentially English. You can step outside your Tudor lodge and visit a castle for a day, or walk down a cobbled lane, home to historical pubs and traditional boutiques. If you love all things English then there are countless places for you to reside in and explore your surroundings, soaking up the scenery or taking part in a festival that has been taking place for hundreds of years.

Quintessentially English holiday homes are fantastic for those looking to do something a little different when taking a self-catering break with friends and family. You will be able to stay in a historical building and wake up to beautiful views of traditional villages that have barely changed in many, many years. If you wish to explore a part of England that you have never heard of before but which is home to traditions which may have died out elsewhere, then you can choose to stay in a house or cottage that is the epitome of English culture, for a holiday like no other.

Best Places to Discover Englands Natural Beauty

England is indeed a green and beautiful country with many stunning areas to discover on a short break or longer holiday. Those who enjoy walking will discover footpaths and trails which guide you through the greenery of the British countryside.

Yorkshire Dales England

Stunning countryside of the Yorkshire Dales

England’s National Parks
There are 10 National Parks in England to choose from, each of which has its own unique landscape and appeal. In the south of England choices include the New Forest and the South Downs, whereas in East Anglia there is the New Forest, in the West Country there are two parks; Dartmoor National Park and Exmoor National Park whereas the north of England is blessed with five parks; the Peak District National Park, the Lake District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales, the North Yorkshire Moors and Northumberland National Park. Staying in a holiday cottage within the greenery of one of the National Parks is ideal for those looking to enjoy rural tranquil surroundings.

Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The naturally beautiful landscape of the Chiltern Hills.

English Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
There are 33 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) protected by Natural England and these landscapes are renowned for their beauty and the quality of their countryside. For walks, cycling and taking photographs, these are protected, special places to visit where you can enjoy peace, tranquility and wonderful fresh air.

English Valleys
It is Wales that is best known for valleys but England too has a few valleys for those looking to discover beautiful unique landscapes on holiday. A few choices include the Suffolk River Valleys with its network of grasslands, rivers and heathlands, the tranquil rural farmlands by the Severn Valley and the Tamar Valley in Cornwall, a lovely river valley by the River Tamar nestled by woodlands close to Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor.

National Trust Gardens and Country Homes in England
The National Trust has a fantastic collection of gardens and country houses which are free for members to visit. These wonderful outdoor spaces are either beautifully maintained or left to grow wild to ensure sustainability and to keep England beautiful for future generations.