Nothing beats exploring the endless serenity of a beautiful garden. From wild flowers to mystical woodlands, England has some of the most stunning parks in the world.
cover photo via BalconyGarden
Whether you’re interested in exotic plants, relaxing in the fresh air or getting some inspo for your own home, prepare to go green with envy as Chia Kougianos reveals a few of the best British gardens to visit this season…
Down House, the family home of history’s most famous biologist Charles Darwin is truly breath-taking. You have the opportunity to not only visit the recreated bedroom of Charles and Emma Darwin more than 100 years since they lived there but explore his very own outdoor laboratory with a walk around Darwin’s gardens. To add to the splendour you get to enjoy narration by Sir David Attenborough as he takes you on an interactive tour around the historic property. The handheld multimedia tour also includes commentaries by experts, animations and film footage.
At the end of the tour through the extensive gardens you’ll arrive at the wooded Sand Walk which is known for being Darwin’s ‘thinking path’. It’s been said that he had paced up and down with up to five laps a day while working out his theories. The greenhouses are full of the descendants of plants Charles Darwin collected over the years for his research. Some of Darwin’s most fascinating experiments included carnivorous plants and exotic orchids which is all available to view in the gardens. He used these gorgeous flowers to formulate his theory that orchids evolved differently to attract different insects.
The Topiary Gardens at Levens Hall
If you’re up for a challenge to get creative with your yard this summer, the Topiary Gardens at Levens Hall is perfect for you. It’s possibly one of the most extensive parks in the world and holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s oldest topiary garden. Located at the gateway to the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, it’s home to a thriving 9,500-acre agricultural estate.
This beautiful privately-owned house and garden remains largely unchanged since its inception in the 17th century and together with a rich history it boasts a rose, orchard and herb garden, a bowling green, fine lawns and wildflower meadows. Step out from Levens Hall and stroll along the path to a small wooden gate which leads out to the gardens designed by Monsieur Guillaume Beaumont. He had been gardener to King James II and there have been just 10 head gardeners since. While most pieces of topiary don’t all have names or are based on geometric shapes there are a few striking pieces including chess pieces such as the King and Queen, the Judges Wig, the Howard Lion, the Great Umbrellas, Queen Elizabeth and her Maids of Honour, a Jug of Morocco Ale and four Peacocks.
Sculpture By The Lakes
“Life begins the day you start a garden” says Monique Gudgeon. She and her Yorkshire-born husband Simon are the founders of Sculpture by the Lakes. They bought the sprawling 26-acre property in 2007 and have since transformed it into a serene oasis for art and nature lovers. Simon is one of the UK’s leading bronze sculptors and his clients range from American museums to three generations of British royalty. These days this park is his gallery and along with his 3D work, Gudgeon’s sculptures are on display alongside paintings and drawings by renowned nature artists Jason Anderson, Julie Brunn and Guy Combes.
In addition to the art on display, you’ll be able to view over 3,500 different trees and shrubs, as well as herbaceous plants, bulbs and grasses. It’s a beautiful concept where visitors are able to get up close to view his various works of art while taking in the glorious Dorset countryside in all its natural beauty.
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