The Southeast of England is home to many compelling tourist attractions. But even amongst this competition, a small number of meticulously-cultivated gardens stand apart. Whether you’ve got a passion for all things horticultural, or you’d simply like to immerse yourself in green and pleasant surroundings, these places are all worth visiting.
Pashley Manor Gardens
Arguably the crowning jewel of the entire region, Pashley Manor remains in private hands. You’ll get everything that you might imagine when contemplating the ideal of what an English country garden should be. There are regular shows spread throughout the year, as well as special events designed to showcase some of the most impressive and vibrant blossoms.
On top of that, the café is excellent.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden
This magnificent garden sits on the grounds of the castle of the same name. It’s the work of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, a husband-and-wife duo who were so moved by the premises that they created a world-renowned garden to sit on it. The National Trust, which now owns the estate, is making constant efforts to align the modern gardens with the original vision of its designers.
Venture to Guildford in Surrey, and you’ll find this incredible park, upon which sits the Palladian mansion. The gardens welcome a variety of visitors, so you’ll feel at home here whether you’re looking to sit down and enjoy a picnic, or stroll around the entire grounds. There’s a Dutch garden, a grotto, and a Mᾱori meeting house that was brought to the grounds by the then-Earl of Onslow. All in all, it’s an extremely diverse and interesting piece of land!
It would be difficult to compose any list of quality gardens in this part of the world without mentioning Kew Gardens, in Richmond upon Thames. These are the most famous botanical gardens in the world, with more than fifty thousand plants taking root here. Kew also holds the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage site.
During your visit, you’ll want to make time for the kitchen garden, the sprawling Victorian glasshouse, and the incredible arboretum – which is home to around fourteen thousand trees. If you have children to entertain, then you should also make time for the Children’s Garden. Or, for children with special educational needs, there are the ‘quiet sessions’ – these are free, but they do require advanced booking.