Whenever I visit England I make it a point to visit several gardens. I’m never disappointed, no matter what time of year it is. The ones that I remember the most are the ones where I wanted to sit down and stay. So if you’re planning a trip to England, try to visit at least a few of my favorite English gardens.
Lamb House Located in Rye, near the southern coast of England, this was the home of both Henry James and E.F. Benson. I love it because the walls give a sense of privacy, the herbaceous borders are full and lush, and there’s a hidden path around the perimeter. Lamb House is owned by the National Trust.
Greenway Agatha Christie is one of my favorite mystery writers, so I had to visit her home. The garden has elements of mystery to it (at least, in my imagination it does!) There are lots of winding paths through the woods, with unexpected things around the corner: a Monkey Puzzle tree, sculptures, a gorgeous dahlia border planted by Christie herself, and beautiful views of the river Dart. Greenway is located in Cornwall, near Dartmouth, and is operated by the National Trust.
Rydal Mount Located near Ambleside, in the heart of the Lake District, William Wordsworth’s house is perched on top of a hill. It has stunning views of Lake Windermere. I could sit on the bench overlooking the valley for hours, contemplating life as it was in Wordsworth’s time. Wordsworth worked in the garden himself, creating the flagstone steps on the side of the house, and designing the ‘poet’s summerhouse.’
Beth Chatto’s Garden This is a true working garden, created by garden designer and writer Beth Chatto. It has lots of wandering paths, winding around beautiful ponds, and benches to sit and contemplate the beauty of the garden. It’s located in East Anglia.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage Shakespeare’s wife grew up in this family home, and I like it much more than Shakespeare’s birthplace. There are lots of ‘living willow’ structures like arbors and covered benches. The front of the cottage is surrounded by the quintessential herbaceous border, overflowing with perennials. I especially liked the antique garden tool display in a shed. It’s located in Stratford-upon-Avon.
All of these gardens have something in common: they feature several basic elements of English garden design. So if you’re looking for inspiration in creating your own English garden, these are the gardens to visit!
A lovely book on Beth Chatto's garden on Amazon:
My book on Literary Homes of England on Amazon: