Written By Chris Young
This post was most recently updated on June 27th, 2018
English country gardens are some of delights of the country house boom that lasted about 400 years from the 1500s to the Victorian era.
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Country gentlemen competed to have the best ‘country seat’ which included a fine house and, in particularly, garden.
Here we present seven fine examples from all around the country, meaning there’s no excuse not to visit one if in England…
The Best English Country Gardens
Table Of Contents
1. Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Kent
Sissinghurst Castle was transformed from Elizabethan mansion ruins in the 1930s.
As part of the renovation Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicholson, created the gorgeous gardens around themed rooms of natural flora and fauna.
These include the Rose Garden, the White Garden, plus the Herb Garden, the Lime Walk, the Purple Border and the Cottage Garden.
2. Helmsley Walled Garden, Yorkshire
Built in 1979 and restored in 1994, this classic garden on five acres rests beneath the ruins of Helmsley Castle.
The experience at Helmsley features restored colored glasshouses, a double herbaceous Hot Border the length of the Garden, a Garden of Contemplation with its tranquility and a Clematis Garden with over 100 different clematis varieties.
The Kitchen Garden provides vegetables and fruit for The Vine House Cafe.
3. Stourhead, Wiltshire
The formal, watery landscape of this Palladian house began in the 1740s. Banker, Henry Hoare, known as Henry “The Magnificent” and architect, Henry Flitcroft, plus 50 gardeners designed this world-famous landscape garden.
Perhaps this can be attributed to Hoare’s vision to mass together colors of tree plantings to simulate a painting.
The damming of the river created the lake which is now the centerpiece of Stourhead. Two temples, Temple of Flora, and Temple Appollo, and the Rock Bridge exist amid the magnificent views. Hills, water, trees, shrubs and meandering paths combine for breathtaking views, especially in spring and autumn.
4. Arley Hall and Gardens, Cheshire
The cherished home of the same family for 250 years, Arley Hall features amongst other things a double herbaceous border, the first of its kind.
The garden features eight acres of formal gardens including Quercus Ilex Columns, Pleached Lime Avenue of trees and the furlong walk.
The property also includes the Grove, an arboretum, and the Woodland Walk.
Exploring the six to seven acres of the property reveals spring bulbs, rhododendrons and azaleas, shrubs, exotic trees, and sculptures inspired by the woodland setting.
5. Iford Manor Garden, Wiltshire
The unique feature of Iford Manor is its magnificent terracing. The formal, Italianate garden graces a steeply terraced slope above and below the manor.
Designed by Harold Peto in 1899, this property found inspiration in Italy and Ancient Rome and restoration of the 2.5-acre grounds and estate remain consistent with Peto’s vision.
Cypresses, broad walks, statues and pools create the heart of the gardens with a lovely view over the River Frome.
6. Levens Hall Garden, Cumbria
The formal beauty of Levens Hall Garden has maintained continual family ownership for over 400 years.
Not only known as the best-loved topiary garden in England, but this delightful property also remains the finest, oldest and most extensive topiary garden in the world. Over 100 topiary pieces grace the garden in nameless abstract or geometric shapes.
An English treat, it may be surprising that the garden was designed by Frenchman, Monsieur Guillaume Beaumont in 1694.
Amid topiary forms and herbaceous borders plus colorful spring and summer bedding, the property features a rose garden, nuttery, and tea room. The fountain garden with pleached limes celebrates 300 years of Levens Hall Garden beauty.
7. Cothay Manor, Somerset
Twelve acres of modern gardens surround the small, classic medieval manor known as Cothay Manor.
Conceived in the 1920s by R. Cooper, the property divides into garden rooms each with a delightful surprise of pools or hideaways.
Beautiful gardens and trails along the River Tone include stepping stones, bog-loving plants in the wildflower meadows and a 200-yard yew walk.