2016 has been named the year of the English garden, so we are paying tribute to Britain’s most beautiful green spaces. Overflowing with both natural and manmade treasures, many of the parks and gardens provide welcomed respite from the city hustle. With an abundance of flourishing flora and fauna, you can have your pick of grassy meadows to explore. Stroll immaculately presented lawns, ravishing flower displays and historic monuments at any one of these five parks and gardens to see why the English countryside is lauded for its beauty and charm.
Holding the title of the largest of London’s eight Royal Parks, Richmond Park is touted for its wildlife conservation. The hordes of ancient trees provide shelter for many furry residents including some 650 wild and red fallow deer and many bird species, from waterfowl to woodpeckers. Visit the Pembroke Lodge and enjoy high tea in one of the elegant Georgian Tea Rooms or stroll the Isabella Plantation, a beautiful 16 hectare woodland garden, filled with evergreen azaleas.
Featuring nearly 30 hectares of spectacular scenery, the Royal Botanic Gardens are a popular spot for locals and visitors seeking a peaceful oasis in the heart of Edinburgh. The gardens are well-known for their unique collection of unusual plant species, with the largest collection of wild-origin plants outside China. Explore the famous Rock Garden with over 5,000 alpine plants and discover the pretty collection of flowers in the Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden.
It is a pleasure to explore the three valleys of Glendurgan Garden, with its exotic flowers and jungle-like terrain. In spring, you can admire thousands of wildflowers that spring to life along the valley slopes. The garden is famous for its carefully maintained giant maze, formed by perfectly lined hedges. It is a great activity for all ages. You can also appreciate the picturesque views across the Helford River and visit the quiet fishing village of Durgan.
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The National Botanic Garden of Wales offers stunning horticultural displays and colourful flower meadows spread across a whopping 200 hectares. Purposefully designed to be an immersive experience, guests can visit a Japanese garden, Spanish olive grove or a stunning fuchsia collection from Chile. The heart of the garden is the Great Glasshouse boasting a gorgeous Mediterranean garden with a six-metre deep ravine.
One of the eight Royal Parks of London, Kensington Gardens covers 97 hectares and is filled with tree-lined avenues and ornamental flower beds. The 150-year-old Italian Gardens also feature a Peter Pan statue in honour of the famous tales of J. M. Barrie that are believed to be inspired by the lush landscapes. Don’t leave without visiting the opulent Kensington Palace, a royal residence since the 17th century.
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