English Summer Gardens Tour with the Hampton Court Flower Show
28th June – 4th July 2015 (6 nights)
Sorry, this tour is now fully booked. If you would like to be added to a waiting list in case of cancellation please do contact us. We are running this tour in 2016 so please do look at our 2016 Tour pages for more information…
Enjoy a stay in the centre of historic Windsor with visits to Sissinghurst and Hever Castle before visiting the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show on its first prestigious members-only day. Then join us as we head north to experience Shakespeare’s historic Stratford-upon-Avon and visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage garden, David Austin’s world famous rose nursery, Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate and Coughton Court before returning to London at the end of the tour.
Sunday 28th June
Our Tour starts at Heathrow Airport with a morning departure to Wisley Garden, the famous home of the Royal Horticultural Society. It is full of ideas, inspiration and information. We will enjoy a guided tour of the garden with one of the RHS’s dedicated volunteers followed by free time for exploration and shopping in the excellent book and gift shop. We then drive to Windsor. Check-in at the 4-star Macdonald Windsor Hotel, located in the centre of historic Windsor. This evening join you Tour Director and the rest of the group for welcome drinks before dinner.
Monday 29th June
Today our garden visits take in two of the most beautiful and romantic castle gardens in England. We head for the Garden of England, Kent and begin our day at Sissinghurst Castle. Created by the internationally acclaimed novelist Vita Sackville-West amongst the ruins of an Elizabethan Manor house in the 1930’s, Sissinghurst continues to be one of the best known and inspirational gardens in the world. We then proceed to Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn and place of her seduction by Henry VIII. It took 1,000 men and millionaire William Astor’s money four years to restore this double-moated castle and its garden, with a 35 acre lake, fountains, cascade, topiary chess set, rose garden and magnificent original Roman and Italian Renaissance statutory.
Tuesday 30th June
This morning we enjoy some free time in Windsor giving the opportunity to make an independent visit to Windsor Castle, located opposite our hotel. We then head for the first members-only day of the Hampton Court Flower Show, the Royal Horticultural Society’s greatest annual flower show in the world, in a magnificent historical setting. The Tudor Palace was built in the early 16th century by Thomas Wolsey. In the 17th century, Sir Christopher Wren added extensions and was involved in the design of a new garden of which part survives. The original 17th-century Privy Garden has been beautifully restored. In contrast to its wonderful historic setting, the Hampton Court Flower Show showcases the best of new conceptual garden design and offers gardeners an opportunity to see the very best floral and plant displays at their peak in July.
Wednesday 1st July
We leave our hotel in Windsor and travel north, pausing for lunch and independent exploration of the World Heritage Site of Blenheim Palace – a monumental and historic palace with fabulous formal gardens and ‘Capability Brown’ landscape grounds stretching over 2,000 acres. continuing onto Stratford-upon-Avon we make a visit to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, a typical English cottage garden of the end of the 19th century around the original thatched farm cottage family home of William Shakespeare’s wife. There is a tree garden with examples of those mentioned in Shakespeare’s work.
We check into the lovely 4-star Menzies Welcombe Hotel Spa & Golf club located just outside the historic town of Stratford-upon-Avon for the last three nights of the tour.
Thursday 2nd July
Our first visit is to Hidcote Manor Garden. Major Lawerence Johnston is claimed to have been the originator here of the “garden room”. It is exciting to see this first example in its original form with his skillful use of flowers, shrubs and trees.Then on to Kiftsgate Court, a delightfully laid out plantsman’s garden on top of a hill with magnificent views over the Vale of Evesham and a claim to the largest rose in England. Colour predominates, with roses and campanulas making a breathtaking impact everywhere in June and July. We depart Kiftsgate court for the nearby picturesque Cotswolds market town of Chipping Campden for some free time for shopping and exploration before returning to our hotel.
Friday 3rd July
Our last day of garden visits starts with a guided garden tour of the beautiful Elizabethan home the Throckmorton family since 1409 Coughton Court. The 25-acre grounds are considered some of the finest in England and have been described by the Royal Horticultural Society as “breathtaking”. Featuring the famous walled garden, a rose labyrinth boasting over 200 varieties of roses and a delightful courtyard garden modelled on the traditional Elizabethan knot garden design.
In the afternoon we visit the lavish rose garden of David Austin, one of the world’s leading rose breeders. See over 800 varieties, including shrub, old fashioned, climbing and species roses. We return to the hotel for our final night dinner.
Note: This tour includes on year’s membership of the Royal Horticultural Society.
Saturday 4th July
We check out of the Menzies Welcombe Hotel & Spa and head back to London. We will make one drop-off in central London and one at Heathrow Airport where we say good-bye. We can advise on departure planning.
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PRICES INCLUDE: Prices based on twin/double room share. Accommodations at 4 star hotels with en-suite facilities; buffet breakfast daily; dinner every evening; admissions to gardens and RHS Shows in the tour; deluxe coach travel; guest speakers and guides as described in an information pack provided at the start of the tour; services of a Sisley tour director. Arrival transfers are included only if you are joining the tour at Heathrow Airport on the first morning of the tour.
PRICES EXCLUDE: Airfares; passport fees; lunches; beverages; laundry; gratuities; telephone calls; souvenirs and items of a personal nature.