- UK - England
- Come with us to an England up to its knees in spring blossom, carpets of tulips and meadows of wildflowers. Our England is a happy mix of heavenly gardens, private gardens, a pretty nursery and history: Chelsea Flower Show, Stonehenge, Sissinghurst, Bath and Oxford with a touch of Tudor glamour. Bliss!
The Great Gardens of England and the Chelsea Flower Show
DAY 1 : FRI 13 MAY HOME TO LONDON
Meet Colin Barlow, your Ross Tour Leader, at Sydney Airport for the flight to London (or meet us in Bath on Day 2).
DAY 2 : SAT 14 MAY LONDON – BATH
Arrive London, travel to Bath, with welcome lunch at hotel to meet new friends. Check into the MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel for the next three nights. Early afternoon walking tour to acquaint ourselves with Bath. Accommodation: MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel
DAY 3 : SUN 15 MAY STOURHEAD
After breakfast, this elegant example of picturesque English Landscape Style combines classical architecture, lake reflections and a fine 18th bridge with copses of mature trees, rhododendrons and just burst Beech trees overhead. Lunch included at Stourhead café, then back to Bath to relax or soak in the hotel spa. Dinner in the hotel.
DAY 4 : MON 16 MAY STONEHENGE
We drop into a pretty English Nursery for some window shopping, we’ll see their display at Chelsea next week so we can enjoy a little behind the scenes Chelsea action. Stroll through their display gardens, lunch in the restaurant. Wander back in time at Stonehenge this afternoon!
DAY 5 : TUE 17 MAY BATH – OXFORD
The prettiest village in England this morning with private gardens, village walk and morning tea in their church hall! We’ll see Arlington Row and walk along the banks of the River Coln. Pop into the late Rosemary Verey’s Barnsley House with afternoon tea included. On to Oxford where we’re staying in The Randolph, a 19th century hotel for the next four nights, perfectly located opposite the Ashmolean Museum. The Randolph is famous as the home of the Morse Bar, where the great TV Inspector’s sidekick Lewis invariably paid for the pints! Dinner tonight is included at a local restaurant.
DAY 6 : WED 18 MAY BLENHEIM PALACE
A trip to the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill today, Winston’s grandfather was the 7th Duke of Marlborough. We’ll discover extravagant Blenheim Palace, England’s answer to Versailles at Woodstock and its splendid ‘Capability’ Brown landscape, various gardens and palace additions added by different generations of Marlborough dukes. We’ll take guided tour through the Baroque palace and gardens to help us fully appreciate the sheer grandeur of the site.
DAY 7 : THU 19 MAY HIGHGROVE
Morning visit to the much anticipated Highgrove House, a truly unique garden full of HRH’s flair, personality and surprising sense of humour. A no camera policy today allows us the perfect opportunity to appreciate the ambience and deafening birdsong, a tribute to His Royal Highness’s organic and sustainability principles. Highlights include his potted tulips, decorative yew hedges, wildflower meadows, breathtaking walled kitchen garden, quirky sculptures, and most of experience the magic of a woodland ‘stumpery’.
Highgrove House visit subject to the Prince’s schedule and opening times of the garden. The alternative is a private garden in Worcestershire, Historic house Coughton Court stands in 25 acres of grounds containing some of the most breathtaking gardens in the country. Created over the last 17 years, the gardens include Walled Garden, two sunken gardens and Early Summer Garden, formal lawns, lake and Bog Garden, riverside walks, a formal courtyard garden, vegetable garden, orchard and fruit garden. Gardens are now mature and are solely managed by the Throckmorton family.
DAY 8 : FRI 20 MAY HIDCOTE
Today we’ll journey across one of the most rolling-green romantic landscapes in Britain – the Cotswolds. Then, at the intricately maintained Hidcote Manor, that shelter beneath the arches of an ancient Cedar of Lebanon tree. We’ll discover why this Arts and Crafts garden has been so influential whilst reveling in wisteria, tulips and rhododendrons. Philadelphis, virburnum and magnolia; we get lost in this delightful scratch and sniff garden full of fragrance at this time of year.
DAY 9 : SAT 21 MAY OXFORD – LONDON
Hatfield House in Hertfordshire is our highlight today. The garden dates back to the first earl of Salisbury in the early 17th century and is still maintained by Lady Salisbury and her small team of gardeners. It’s one of the most attractive historic gardens in Britain. We’ll walk the knot garden adjoining the old palace where Elizabeth 1st spent much of her childhood, enjoy Lady Salisbury’s private garden and wander through the covered Lime Walk, kitchen garden and admire the mass of bulbs flowering in the woodland. Spend time in the children’s clothing shop, lolly shop, bookshop in the estate’s outbuildings before lunching in leisure in the cafe.
Travel to central London and check in to Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington for the next four nights. Kensington gardens and Palace are just a stone’s throw away.
DAY 10 : SUN 22 MAY WEST GREEN HOUSE
Marylyn Abbott is an exuberant personality and wonderful gardener. You might remember her garden Kennerton Green, at Mittagong in the Southern Highlands. Marylyn has since moved to England and taken on the re-creation of West Green in Hampshire. 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. Lovely lunch in the conservatory.
DAY 11 : MON 23 MAY SISSINGHURST and GREAT DIXTER
The very best of English garden design today. If there ever was a hierarchy of Best British gardens, Sissinghurst would be at the top of the list. 200,000 visitors a year can’t be wrong! Loved for its beautiful balance, garden rooms and inspired planting combinations, this is one of England’s best and admired gardens; the result of the special partnership between infamous Bloomsbury couple Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicolson – it’s a living time capsule.
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 they grow all the produce for the restaurant. The standard of horticulture here will astound and inspire you in your own garden. Lunch here in the restaurant where they serve food locally grown in their kitchen gardens.
We head to Great Dixter – exuberant and full of joy, we visit a living masterpiece of planting that just makes you want to smile. Its garden philosophy has been much copied around the world with the head gardener Fergus Garret taking on the reins from the master the late Christopher Lloyd and teaching batches of horticultural students from around the world. The longest perennial border, subtropical plantings and stunning orchard revolve around the heart of the gardens, a fourteenth century Tudor building full of charm.
DAY 12 : TUE 24 MAY CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW
It’s a bucket list day today! ‘Opening Day’ at the Chelsea Flower Show is reserved for VIPs and members of the Royal Horticultural Society only, but we have arranged tickets so that you can enjoy it without dealing with the maddening crowds that flock on public days. It’s a buzz; we’ll have the chance to meet our favourite exhibitors. Enjoy multimillion dollar show gardens, smaller artisan gardens, plenty of time for browsing, picnicking near the grandstand, a glass of Pimm’s in the shade, and just inhaling the floral extravaganza in the Great Pavilion. See fragrant sweet peas floor to ceiling, roses to die for and the very best of international horticulture on a mind boggling scale. We’ll spend the whole day at Chelsea and head back to the hotel late in the afternoon.
Tonight we’ll share stories and favourite moments during the farewell dinner at the hotel.
DAY 13 : WED 25 MAY LONDON – HOME
Those returning home today have a free day in London. We transfer to Heathrow in the afternoon.
DAY 14 : THU 26 MAY INFLIGHT
DAY 15 : FRI 27 MAY WELCOME HOME
- Ross Tours International Gardens of England and Chelsea Flower Show 2016 Download
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TOUR ESCORTED BY COLIN BARLOW
- Return Qantas economy group airfare & taxes Sydney / London / Sydney
- Air-conditioned motorcoach throughout tour
- Deluxe accommodation for 11 nights
- Breakfast daily, 5 lunches and 2 dinners
- Entrance fees to all gardens and sightseeing including Sissinghurst, Stourhead, Stonehenge, Chelsea Flower Show for RHS Members Day, Hatfield House, Hidcote Manor, Blenheim Palace, Highgrove House or Coughton Court, West Green Garden and Great Dixter.
- Morning and afternoon tea at gardens and sightseeing attractions as detailed in the itinerary
- Gratuities for porters and drivers
- Full Escorted by Colin Barlow
TOUR PRICE in $AUD
Twin Share land only $10,995 per person
Twin Share including air $12,995* per person
Single Supplement $2,995
*Airfare valid until 1/11/2015
All prices in Australian Dollars. Prices based on minimum 15 passengers. Price is based on departure Sydney.