The Netherlands, France, United Kingdom
Europe’s garden highlights are all wrapped up here in one grand tour: the beautiful tulip flower displays in Keukenhof Holland, the Royal parterre gardens of France, the peak of spring wisteria and iris in Claude Monet’s at Giverney, and Members Day at Chelsea Flower Show.

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Tuesday 5 May 2015
Sydney – Amsterdam

Meet Sandra Ross, your tour leader, at the departure gate for your flight to Amsterdam.

Wednesday 6 May 2015
Amsterdam (B)

We’ll have an orientation tour of Amsterdam as we travel from Schiphol airport to the luxurious Grand Hotel Amrath in the centre of the city, our home for the next four nights.
The Amrath is quite an exceptional hotel. It is shaped like a harboured ship and was originally a monumental shipping house. It’s built on the exact spot that Dutch ships set off for East India. It’s considered the first building fully constructed in the Amsterdam school style and includes more than 200 types of brick. There are exquisite marble and granite decorations and a remarkable staircase that leads to a stained grass roof that depicts a globe of the world! But perhaps the thing our travelers find most intriguing is that the minibar is free and restocked every day!
This afternoon is free. Relax in the hotel with a sauna and spa, or take a canal cruise and discover Amsterdam from a different angle. We’ll get together tonight for a welcome dinner to meet our fellow travelers.
Accommodation: Grand Hotel Amrath, Amsterdam

Thursday 7 May 2015
Amsterdam (B/L)

For 65 years the world’s most beautiful flowering bulbs have been showcased in the gardens at Keukenhof. We will spend most of the day there admiring tulips, daffodils and hyacinths beneath canopies of flowering cherries and beech in vibrant new leaf. The gardens are completely remade every year and open for just two months.
A picnic lunch is included today within the gardens.
Accommodation: Grand Hotel Amrath, Amsterdam

Friday 8 May 2015
Amsterdam (B)

We’re up early this morning to get to Aalsmeer Flower Market in time to catch the action of the auction! From an elevated walkway we can watch the world’s biggest flower market at work as flowers are sold and shipped around the world.
Accommodation: Grand Hotel Amrath, Amsterdam

Saturday 9 May 2015
Amsterdam (B)

We are off to Apeldoorn this morning to visit Het Loo Palace, which was built for William III and Mary II, who later held the English throne and influenced garden making there. Het Loo is known as the Versailles of Holland for its formal design, with fountains, parterres and statues. Before we head into the gardens, which were fully restored for the 300th anniversary of the palace in 1984, we’ll explore the sumptuously furnished interiors. From upper windows you can glimpse the enclosed and highly decorative privy gardens on either side of the palace. From the gloriette at the bottom of the formal garden there are beautiful views of the intricate patterns of the parterres and the façade of the Palace.
Accommodation: Grand Hotel Amrath, Amsterdam

Sunday 10 May 2015
Amsterdam – Paris (B)

Today we travel across Belgium to Paris with a lunch stop in the mediaeval city of Bruges. In Paris we head for left bank and Saint-Germain-des-Près to check into Pont Royal Hotel. This hotel is a little gem just five minutes walk from the River Seine, the Louvre and Musee D’Orsay. Make time for a cocktail in the bar. This is where F. Scot Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda held court for the American literati and introduced Parisians to the joys of mixed alcohol.
Accommodation: Pont Royal Hotel, Paris

Monday 11 May 2015
Versailles (B)

The grandest garden of them all today – Versailles. We will try to absorb the enormity of the palace and its grand landscape from the palace terrace. Pleached and sheared hornbeams, chestnuts and linden trees make smooth walls of green. Le Notre’s masterful control of formal design and perspective can be seen in the steps, water basins and canals, the sparkling cascades and fountains, and the statuary.
Then we’ll take the small train tour to Grand and Petit Trianons and the Domain of Marie Antoinette. We’ll go into the Queen’s Gardens, passing by the Hamlet, which reveals much of Marie-Antoinette’s private life.
We’ll lunch at the Grand Canal (own arrangement), then slowly walk back to the palace, exploring some enchanting bosquets (enclosed gardens) as we go.
Accommodation: Pont Royal Hotel, Paris

Tuesday 12 May 2015
Vaux le Vicomte (B)

The first masterpiece of Andre Le Notre was Chateau Vaux le Vicomte, and that’s where we’re headed this morning. Le Notre went on to work for King Louis XIV at Versailles and many of the principles he tried here at Vaux were later used to great acclaim at Versailles. This garden marks the beginning of the Baroque tradition in garden design. Gardens sweep along a grand perspective, almost three kilometres long.
A treat lies in store this afternoon – the beautiful potager of Vicomtesse de Curel, called Domaine de Saint-Jean de Beauregard, which is attached to a 17th century chateau. There are lots of lessons here in fruit and vegetable gardening. But it’s not all about produce; there are peonies, iris, and roses in wide flower borders and walled gardens.
Accommodation: Pont Royal Hotel, Paris

Wednesday 13 May 2015
Bagatelle (B)

Discover the enchanting parks and gardens of Paris. First stop – Jardin Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne in the heart of Paris. The mini chateau is set in an English-style park with a Chinese pavilion, grotto, waterfall and orangerie. But the masterpiece here is the Rose Garden, home to 20,000 roses in 2,650 varieties growing on swags, colonnades and pillars.
We’ll take a coffee break then head to Luxembourg Gardens and Jardin des Plantes. This is a great way to discover the essence of Paris.
Accommodation: Pont Royal Hotel, Paris

DAY 10
Thursday 14 May 2015
Giverney (B/L)

Giverny, the garden of painter Claude Monet, might just be the most famous in all France. Monet’s garden was a part of his art – the garden and the paintings reflected each other. We’ll arrive early to experience the serenity of the Water Garden with its much-imitated, wisteria-draped Japanese bridge. Then there’s the thrill of the flower garden with roses growing over arches and flowers jostling for space. Lunch is included today at Musee des Impressionnisme, which has its own fascinating suite of colour-themed gardens.
Accommodation: Pont Royal Hotel, Paris

DAY 11
Friday 15 May 2015
Paris – London (B)

We’ll take the morning Eurostar (train) to London. Your home for the next four nights is The Royal Garden Hotel in the heart of Kensington, close to many London attractions.
Accommodation: Pont Royal Hotel, Paris

DAY 12
Saturday 16 May 2015
London (B)

Wisley is our destination this morning, the HQ of the Royal Horticultural Society with a suite of gardens that will make your heart leap.
Accommodation: Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington

DAY 13
Sunday 17 May 2015
West Green (B/L)

Expat Marylyn Abbott’s West Green in Hampshire is a special treat for Australian visitors. Marylyn is an exuberant personality and wonderful gardener. You might remember her garden Kennerton Green, at Mittagong in the Southern Highlands. While the garden pays homage to its 18th-century origins, Marylyn’s sense of fun is given plenty of room to play. The Alice in Wonderland walled garden is a frivolous delight; the ornamental potager is beautiful; and there’s a classic water staircase and exquisite Persian water garden to contrast with the romantic lake garden. Lunch is included at West Green.
Accommodation: Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington

DAY 14
Monday 18 May 2015
London (B)

HIf there ever was a hierarchy of Best British gardens, Sissinghurst would be at the top of the list. Surely 200,000 visitors a year can’t be wrong! Loved for its beautiful balance, garden rooms and inspired planting combinations, this is garden is the result of a special partnership between the Bloomsbury couple Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicolson. We’ll climb the tower for a fabulous view, explore each compartment of the garden, pop our heads into Vita’s writing room and walk down to the Moat, herb garden and through to the new Kitchen Gardens where produce is grown for the restaurant. The standard of horticulture here will astound and inspire you in your own garden. There’s time for lunch (own arrangement) before we travel on to Great Dixter.
Exuberant and full of joy, Great Dixter is a masterpiece of planting that just makes you want to smile. Its garden philosophy has been much copied around the world. Head gardener Fergus Garret took on the reins from the masterful Christopher Lloyd and now teaches horticultural students from around the world. The longest perennial border, subtropical plantings and a stunning orchard revolve around the heart of the gardens, a 14th century Tudor building full of charm.
Accommodation: Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington

DAY 15
Tuesday 19 May 2015
Chelsea Flower Show(B)

It’s our finale – ‘Opening Day’ at the Chelsea Flower Show, the most prestigious event in the horticultural calendar. Special tickets have been organised for us on RHS Members Day so we can avoid the crowded public days.
Accommodation: Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington

DAY 16
Wednesday 20 May 2015
London – Home (B)

Those returning home today have a free day in London. We transfer to Heathrow in the afternoon.

DAY 17
Thursday 21 May 2015

DAY 18
Friday 22 May 2015
Arrive Home

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Twin Share land only $11,795 per person Twin Share including air $14,995 per person Single Supplement $3,495 All prices in Australian Dollars. Prices based on minimum 15 passengers. Price is based on departure Sydney.

Book and pay in full by 1/12/2014 to receive the Early Bird Discount of $350.00 per person off the final instalment. Previous Traveller Discount $100.00 Garden Clinic™ Member Discount $50.00

Return airfare and taxes with Qantas and Emirates Sydney/Amsterdam and London/Sydney
First-class train travel Paris to London with Eurostar
Air-conditioned motorcoach throughout tour
Deluxe accommodation in 5-star hotels for 14 nights
Breakfast daily (B), 3 lunches (L) and 3 dinners (D)
Guided tours of Amsterdam, Paris and London
Entrance fees to all gardens and sightseeing including Keukenhof, Aalsmeer Flower Market, Het Loo Palace and Gardens, Versailles, Saint Jean de Beauregard, Vaux Le Vicomte, Bagatelle, Giverney, RHS WIsley, West Green, Sissinghurst, Great Dixter and Chelsea Flower Show on RHS Members Opening Day
Ross Tours travel wallet & bag