There is something very calming about walking through gardens in the summer, as you watch the flowers bloom and feel the grass underfoot.There is a smell of honeysuckle in the air and the bees graze greedily at the sprouting colourful flowers that twist and turn through lush green shrubbery. In the summer there is nothing more relaxing than reading a book, flicking through the pages while you take in the sights of the garden that you have decided to call your home for the day, as the sun bathes you in its warming golden glow. Here in your garden all is calm, all is tranquil, as you watch the world go round and round in a blissful symphony. And where better than Britain to live out your ‘garden fantasy’, where the mermaids come out to play and the unicorns dance along a stream of flowers mischievously?
Britain is home to some of the most beautiful gardens that I have ever seen – from The Alnwick Garden (including the Poison Garden) to the grounds of Kensington Palace, when it comes to manicured gardens plucked straight out of a fairytale book, Britain is the ‘Garden Queen’. I miss being able to walk outside in my own garden, as I feel the sun turn my skin a golden brown and feel the breeze whip through my hair in sensuous ecstasy but instead I am an owner to a cold grey patio, whose only redeeming feature is that you ‘can go outside’ and set up a BBQ if you wish to. And speaking of gardens, even if you have a ‘grey patio’ or soulless garden like my own, Oldrids and Downtown, retailers of stunning conservatory furniture are set to get you in the mood for the sunny days, turning your garden into a magical fantasy land that looks almost just like the Kensignton Palace grounds… Well not quite but a girl can dream?
Kensington Palace Gardens
Whisk yourself off to the magical world of Neverland by visiting the incredible Kensington Palace Gardens, which was the key inspiration behind the famous children’s book series Peter Pan. As well as being home to our favourite royals, the palace is world renowned for its spectacular garden space. The Sunken Garden will make for an intimate experience and allow you to develop your peace of mind during your stroll.The palace prides itself on its gardens, and keeps up with the historic traditions that were once in place. In the spring, tulips, pansies and wallflowers bloom, whilst during summer, you will see geraniums, cannas and begonias pop out with colour. As a result, you can see something different all year round, making it one of the most beautiful gardens in Britain.
However, while the gardens are stunning for its ‘bright and colourful flowers’, naturally as part of a ‘historic and royal legacy’ its ‘royal monuments’ and ‘historical monuments are popular with visitors from both abroad and local. In fact one of the most popular attractions of the gardens is the marble Queen Victoria Statue that sits in the East entrance of Kensington Palace, as well as the Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground which is perfect for a day out with the kids and is a touching tribute to the late Princess Diana’s memory, who as a humanitarian would have loved being able to bring families together. Kensington is also one of the most popular ‘royal houses’ to visit in Britain as according to ALVA, Kensington Palace had a 4% increase in visits during 2016 — with 397,285 visits in total. It is little wonder therefore that 2016 was christened ‘The Year of the English Garden’ , as Mike Calnan, the Head of Gardens at the National Trust, which maintains over 300 historically significant houses and gardens throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland stated that “It’s certainly true to say that we love plants”.
Biddulph Grange Garden
As someone who is a self-professed history nerd, nothing excites me more than being able to step into the past and immersing myself into a historical and cultural legacy that once was. It is liberating, it is magical and most of all it escapism from reality which in this day and age is a ‘detox’ that we could all benefit from. So if you’re looking for a garden that will open your eyes to different cultures, a trip to Biddulph will do just this. The 15-acre land is split into different sections that represent different countries across the globe, with Chinese, Egyptian and multiple themes running throughout.
The Egyptian landscape includes towering square hedges and a grand temple protected by two pairs of sphinxes. The temple has detailed stonework with bright colours that accompany the golden yews that were planted within this area. A mysterious passageway that leads to the temple is lit by red lights and there’s also stained-glass window which allows you to see the detail of the monkey-god sculptures and more. In contrast, the beauty of The China Garden is that it brings the entire Chinese culture to one place. Using colour to its advantage, bright reds, yellows and greens are featured on all of the structures within the garden — from pond bridges to pagoda’s. The garden also includes a pagoda tree, paulownia tomentosa, azaleas, bamboos, hostas and more, as well as plants from Japan, Britain and America.
The cultural patchwork of diverse ‘garden cultures’ from different countries will give you a greater insight into gardening features around the world and show you that there is more to ‘gardens’ than the romanticized version of a ‘British Fairytale Garden’ that we might be accustomed to. Here at Biddulph Grange Garden there is so much to see and do, so remember to take your smartphone because there will be plenty of aesthetically pleasing photo opportunities, that will have you yearning to have a colourful Egyptian, Chinese and Japanese Garden of your own!
The Alnwick Garden
Visiting The Alnwick Garden is like stepping into another world (and I know that I keep saying that but it truly is a magical experience!). Home to famous fountains, poison gardens and one of the biggest treehouses in the world — Alnwick Gardens has it all. The 14-acre site has a history of plant growth, as the 3rd Duke of Northumberland brought seeds from all over the world to populate the garden with blooming flowers and generate a unique spark within the community. Now, the site has over 200 species of plants — including some which are deadly, so if you have any enemies you know where to take them! Only kidding, but all jokes aside, what makes this location different to any other on our list is that they have their very own Poison Garden. But the question is, are you brave enough to enter? Locked by cast-iron gates with skull plaques saying “These Plants Can Kill”, the garden includes strychnos nux-vomica, hemlock, Ricinus communis and more deadly plants that are best steering well clear of. Despite the ‘fear factor’ of the poison garden, the purpose showcasing ‘deadly plants’ is purely educational as it aims to educate people on drugs by featuring cannabis, coca and papaver smniferum.
On a more light hearted note, if you love an adventure, the treehouse that has been built from sustainable Canadian cedar, Scandinavian redwood as well as English and Scots pine is the place you should be going. The wobbly rope bridges will lead you to the treehouse café and restaurant, where trunks power through the flooring and make for a remarkable experience. So whether you are into ‘historical gardens’ like Kensignton Palace, prefer cultural hot spots like Biddulph or are into macrabre garden experiences like Alnwick Garden, these three gardens represent the most beautiful gardens in Britain that you should visit this summer, 2018.
Which Garden Will You Be Heading To This Summer?