Beautiful Gardens to Visit for Inspiration…
When it's wet and dreary outside, it's hard to feel inspired about your garden, so why not visit some truly beautiful gardens throughout the UK for some magical gardening inspiration.
Great British Gardens
An excellent reference tool for anyone looking to visit gardens in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The National Trust Parks & Gardens
Enjoy visiting some of the hundreds of wonderful gardens cared for by The National Trust who are also championing sustainability in many of their kitchen gardens and hosting a series of Garden Events to enjoy throughout the year.
Top 50 garden to visit as nominated by Rae Spencer Jones for the Telegraph
"Inspirational, uplifting, educational or simply gorgeous: these gardens should not be missed, says Rae Spencer-Jones"
1. Alnwick Garden, Northumberland
Water cascades, jolly fountains, roses, Poison Garden, Bamboo Labyrinth and the largest treehouse in the world - something for everyone.
(01665 511350; www.alnwickgarden.com)
2. Borde Hill Garden, West Sussex
Champion trees and rhododendrons, wildlife pool, Victorian glasshouses, rose garden with 500 David Austin roses and adventure playground.
(01444 450326; www.bordehill.co.uk)
3. Alton Towers, Staffordshire
The 300 acres of landscaped gardens include a Swiss cottage, Chinese pagoda and Roman bridge.
(0870 5204060; www.altontowers.com)
4. Annes Grove Gardens, Cork
Rare woodland trees and shrubs, lush river plantings of primulas and giant gunnera, walled flower garden.
(00353 22 26145; www.annesgrovegardens.com)
5. Burton Agnes Hall, East Yorkshire
Giant board games - draughts, chess, snakes and ladders - a jungle garden and a maze will enthrall children.
(01262 490324; www.burton-agnes.com)
6. Chatsworth, Derbyshire
Set in "Capability" Brown landscape and famous for its Grand Cascade and Canal, camellias and grapes, but also woodland, cottage and kitchen gardens, maze and magnificent trees.
(01246 582204; www.chatsworth.org)
7. The Eden Project, Cornwall
Giant living exhibition that aims to encourage an understanding of plants and their biodiversity through imaginative displays.
(01726 811911; www.edenproject.com)
8. Hestercombe Gardens
A collaboration between Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll in an 18th-century secret landscape of woodlands, lakes and temples.
(01823 413923; www.hestercombegardens.com)
9. Sudeley Castle Gardens, Gloucestershire
Famous for its rose collection, this organic garden also has herbaceous borders, a wildflower meadow, a knot garden and a romantic garden around the ruined banqueting hall.
(01242 602308, www.sudeleycastle.co.uk)
10. Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
Splendid terraced borders, aviary, rock garden, rose garden and an adventure playground.
(01296 653226, www.waddesdon.org.uk)
11. Audley End, Essex
Restored 10-acre walled garden with heritage varieties and vinehouse.
(01799 522842; www.english-heritage.org.uk)
12. Ballymaloe Cookery School, Cork
Unusual varieties of fruit, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers, in an imaginatively designed 10-acre plot.
(00 353 21 4646785; www.cookingisfun.ie)
13. West Dean, West Sussex
Walled garden crammed full and beautifully planted with an inspirational collection of fruit and vegetables from chillis to pears and plums.
(01423 818210; www.westdean.org.uk)
FOR PLANT LOVERS
14. Arley Hall and Gardens, Cheshire
The double herbaceous border is considered one of the oldest and best in England, plus walled gardens.
(01565 777353; www.arleyhallandgardens.com)
15. Beth Chatto Gardens, Essex
In her gravel, woodland and water garden, the pioneering plantswoman demonstrates solutions to problems.
(01206 822007; www.bethchatto.co.uk)
16. Bide-a-Wee Cottage, Northumberland
The range of conditions provided by this sandstone quarry garden has enabled the owner to plant an extraordinarily diverse collection.
(01670 772238; www.bideawee.co.uk)
17. Cally Gardens, Dumfries and Galloway
Borders display rare perennials that are sold in the nursery, with unusual plants from South America, China and New Guinea.
(01557 815029; www.callygardens.co.uk)
18. Dawyck Botanic Gardens, Borders
Magnificent conifers, rhododendrons and the famous Dawyck beech.
(01721 760254; www.rbge.org.uk)
19. The Dillon Garden, Dublin
Beautifully designed garden rooms with an extraordinary collection of unusual plants woven among the old favourites in a riot of colour.
(00 353 1 4971308; www.dillongarden.com)
20. Dun Ard, Stirling
Organic garden full of surprises. Terraces and banks, hedges of holly, hornbeam and yew, formal pond, bog garden and wildflower meadow.
21. East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk
Tender exotics from Australasia, the Med and South America. Also wild flower meadow and wood walks.
(01692 650432; www.eastrustonoldvicarage.co.uk)
22. The Garden House, Devon
Glorious views of Dartmoor from a quarry garden, cottage garden and a meadow with over 6,000 varieties.
(01822 854769; www.thegardenhouse.org.uk)
23. Glendoick Gardens, Perth
Started by a plant collector in the 1920s, Glendoick has rhododendrons partnered with underplantings of trilliums, lilies and rare nomocharis.
(01738 860205; www.glendoick.com)
24. Great Dixter, East Sussex
Christopher Lloyd's legacy lives on in these imaginative plant combinations. Famous Long Border and sub-tropical plants that form a riot of late-summer colour in the Exotic Garden.
(01797 252878; www.greatdixter.co.uk)
25. House of Pitmuies, Angus
Ornamental and edible plants have been artfully combined here: packed with herbaceous perennials, vegetables and roses.
(01241 828245; www.pitmuies.com)
26. Lady Farm, Somerset
Breathtaking, all-seasons prairie- and steppe-style plantings of grasses and perennials on south-facing slope of steep valley.
(01761 490770; www.ladyfarm.co.uk)
27. National Botanic Garden of Wales, Camarthenshire
Young botanic garden devoted to conserving Wales' plant heritage. Modern sculpture, water feature and exhibition demonstrating the vital relationship between plants and medicine.
(01558 668768; www.gardenofwales.org.uk)
28. Plas Newydd, Gwynedd
Overlooking the Menai Straits, with a collection of rhododendrons, some in flower as late as July. Vibrant plantings in the formal garden and plenty of hydrangeas.
(01248 714795; www.nationaltrust.org.uk)
29. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London
Kew's importance cannot be underestimated; a high-tech alpine house and revitalised Mediterranean garden are new features.
(020 8332 5655; www.kew.org)
30. Shepherd House Garden, Lothian
Inspirational areas - ponds, roses and herbaceous perennial plantings -cleverly shoehorned into a small site.
(0131 665 2570; www.shepherdhouse.co.uk)
31. Spinners Garden, Hampshire
Superb woodland garden where hostas, ferns and trilliums are sheltered by camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias. Irresistible nursery.
32. Sticky Wicket, Dorset
Sound ecological principles underpin an inspirational lesson in the art of planting. In four wildlife gardens, wildflowers are woven among ornamentals to create a spectacular tapestry of colour and texture.
(01300 345476; www.stickywicketgarden.co.uk)
33. Stone House Cottage, Worcestershire
This compact walled garden is an adjunct to the popular nursery. The tower follies have earned it the nickname of the "San Gimignano of the Midlands".
(01562 69902; www.shcn.co.uk)
34. Tresco Abbey Gardens, Isles of Scilly
The terraced sub-tropical gardens house a spectacular collection of 20,000 plants from 80 countries. There is something in flower every month of the year.
(01720 424105; www.tresco.co.uk)
35. Walled Garden at Scampston, Yorkshire
Designed in the most spectacular way by the master of the new, Piet Oudolf. Glorious perennial flower meadow.
(01944 759111; www.scampston.co.uk)
36. Woodpeckers, Warwickshire
Collections of alpines, clematis, roses and spring bulbs, also knot garden, woodland and meadows.
ICONIC GARDENS & LANDSCAPES
37. Bodnant, Clwyd
Grand terraced lawns, a laburnum tunnel, a renowned collection of Chinese rhododendrons, a gloriously romantic waterfall and an 18th-century pavilion make this the most celebrated garden in Wales. It even comes with views of Snowdonia.
(01492 650460; www.bodnantgarden.co.uk)
38. Brodsworth Hall & Gardens, Yorkshire
Formal garden with follies, a fern dell, Italianate terraces and rose dell.
(01302 722598; www.english-heritage.co.uk)
39. Castle Howard, York
On a grand scale, this contains formal gardens, the remains of a 19th-century parterre and a rose garden. Woodland walks, sculptures and landscaped park.
(01653 648333; www.castlehoward.co.uk)
40. Crathes Castle, Grampian
Award-winning walled garden with colour-themed areas that include golden, blue and pastel shades.
(01330 844525; www.nts.org.uk)
41. Hidcote Manor Gardens, Gloucestershire
Hidcote set the trend for dividing a garden into rooms separated by hedges and walls. Sublime planting; the hot borders are world famous.
(01386 438333; www.nationaltrust.org.uk)
42. Iford Manor, Wiltshire
Italianate garden with terraces, cloisters, gazebos and statues.
(01225 863146; www.ifordmanor.co.uk)
43. Kiftsgate Court, Gloucestershire
Famous for its roses but also colour-coordinated herbaceous plantings and a contemporary water garden.
(01386 438777; www.kiftsgate.co.uk)
44. Mount Stewart, Co. Down
Rare and tender shrubs thrive here. Formal garden, sunken Spanish garden, rhododendrons, lake walk.
(028 4278 8387; www.nationaltrust.org.uk)
45. Painswick Rococo Garden, Glos
An 18th-century garden, painstakingly restored, and with unusual architectural features, too.
(01452 813204; www.rococogarden.co.uk)
46. Powis Castle & Garden, Powys
Spectacular hanging terraces with giant yew hedges. Formal gardens woodland and views of Severn valley.
(01938 551920; www.nationaltrust.org.uk)
47. Rousham Manor, Oxfordshire
The original 18th-century landscape remains almost entirely intact and exudes peace and harmony.
(01869 347110; www.rousham.org)
48. Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Kent
Inspirational, loved by gardeners the world over and iconic for its classic design of garden rooms, vistas and exuberant planting schemes.
(01580 710700; www.nationaltrust.org.uk)
49. Stourhead, Wiltshire
Temples, bridges and trees reflected in the still waters of a lake combine to create a memorable painterly scene in this famously beautiful 18th-century landscape.
(01747 841152; www.nationaltrust.org.uk)
50. Stowe Landscape Gardens, Bucks
This magnificent "Capability" Brown landscape has been receiving visitors since the 18th century. Full of symbolic features that include temples and statues. All should visit.
(01280 822850; www.nationaltrust.org.uk)