If captivating grade-listed houses with landscaped gardens are your thing, then the Cotswolds is the perfect destination. You can stroll around a garden attached to an old manor house and soak up the atmosphere or admire the formality of award-winning manicured gardens.
Stay in a luxury manor house in the heart of the Cotswolds and visit old favourites such as Blenheim Palace, Hidcote Manor and Sudeley Castle. Fall in love with fabulous Rodmarton and Barnsley House gardens, both fine examples of traditional English country gardens. Sezincote garden on the other hand upholds the Indian style décor. Garden lovers will be sure to find something to delight them on this tour!
Arrive at Heathrow Airport where your tour manager will meet you and take you on a wonderful journey through English gardens and stately homes. First stop will be Cliveden, once an opulent stately house, now a luxury hotel with elegant gardens. Enjoy a mouth-watering brunch before exploring its beautiful gardens. Continue to your hotel in Cotswolds and the rest of the day is free to rest and relax.
Overnight at the Greenway hotel, a 16th century Elizabethan manor house set in eight acres of stunning grounds with views over the rolling Cotswold Hills.
In the morning, you will be taken on a circular tour of the pretty villages of the Cotswolds. You will visit the tranquil chocolate-box villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter; stroll Chipping Campden’s honey-hued lanes; and explore picturesque Broadway with its golden cottages, art galleries and fashionable delis.
Spend an afternoon, exploring the spectacular Sudeley Castle, home and resting place of Catherine Parr (one of Henry VIII’s wives). Lose yourself in the Queen’s Garden, the centre piece of Sudeley, and enjoy hundreds of varieties of delicate roses on show. With over 10 splendid gardens to explore, make sure you visit the magical knot garden with a mosaic fountain at the centre and a carp pond.
Begin your day with a visit to the privately owned Mill Dene Gardens (closed 4-17 July). This quirky garden makes the most of a steep sided valley around a delightful millpond and house. Just a short drive away is Kiftsgate Court Gardens, a delightfully laid out plantsman’s garden. Admire a garden terrace with spectacular views over to the Malvern Hills, a resplendent rose border and a tranquil water garden. And finally, finish your day with a visit to romantic Hidcote Manor, renowned for its impressive and tranquil outdoor space, with gardens that are tastefully divided into different ‘rooms’.
Embark on a day of pure enchantment, beginning at the magnificent Blenheim Palace, the ancestral home of Winston Churchill and the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough. Discover more than 300 years of captivating stories from the Palace’s past and fall in love with over 2,000 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped gardens. Enjoy peaceful areas such as the Secret Garden and the Churchill Memorial Garden; wander around open spaces punctuated by mature trees and admire intricate features like the water terraces.
Next stop is the City of Dreaming Spires. Visit the Bodleian Library; explore some of colleges with their elegant gardens and chapels; and perhaps enjoy a cup of tea in the pub where J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis debated.
Today you visit two very different gardens, each superb in its own way. Begin with Bourton House Garden, a hidden treasure. This privately owned garden is relatively new but is now recognized as one of the finest gardens in the UK. Explore this award winning 3 acre garden with its imaginative topiary, wide herbaceous borders with many rare, unusual and exotic plants, water features, unique shade house and many creatively planted pots.
Later be fascinated by Sezincote, with its beautiful curved orangery, weathered copper dome roof and spring-fed ponds, set amidst the Cotswolds Hills and surrounded by a romantic water garden. This extraordinary house displays the finest Mogul architecture and is the only Mogul Indian style building left in Europe. Water features heavily in this spectacular outdoor space, with streams and pools covered by luscious bog plants throughout the garden.
After a leisurely morning, begin your final day with a visit to Barnsley House, a perfect example of an English country house and garden, designed by “grande dame” of Cotswold gardens, Rosemary Verey. Explore this wonderful garden with its Head Gardener, whose extensive knowledge and obvious passion offers a fascinating insight into the thought behind the garden design. Enjoy a two-course lunch at the restaurant before continuing to Rodmarton, an Arts and Crafts house and garden at its very best. Admire every fine detail, from the regionally-sourced stone foundations to the timber structures, that were carefully crafted by hand by local craftsmen. But it’s not just the architecture that’s impressive, the eight acres of hidden vistas and impressive topiary in the manor’s gardens are breathtakingly beautiful.
Private transfer to the airport for your return flight home.