Summer Gardens Tour with Hampton Court Flower Show
Sunday 3rd – Saturday 9th July 2016 (6 nights)
NOW FULLY BOOKED. Please email us if you would like to be added to our waiting list.
Beautiful English countryside of the Cotswolds and Kent, wild flowers and gardens at their best with roses and herbaceous borders in their prime. Experience 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 heading south to enjoy the lovely Hever Castle, Sissinghurst, Windsor Castle, RHS Wisley and the wonders of a members-only day at RHS Hampton Court Flower show.
Sunday 3rd July
Our Tour starts at the charming, 4-star Menzies Welcombe Hotel & Spa, located close to the historic town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Make your own way to the hotel or join us for your early morning transfer from Heathrow Airport. En-route we’ll stop for lunch and independent exploration of the World Heritage Site of Blenheim Palace – the birthplace of Sir. Winston Churchill. It is a monumental and historic palace with fabulous formal gardens and ‘Capability Brown’ landscape grounds stretching over 2,000 acres. This evening join your Tour Director and the rest of the group for welcome drinks before sitting down together for Dinner.
Monday 4th July
Today 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. In the afternoon we visit the beautiful Elizabethan home of 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. Dinner in the Hotel.
Tuesday 5th July
Enjoy a morning drive through Stratford-upon-Avon to visit 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 works. Afterwards we move onto the delightful Cotswolds market town of Broadway, full of independent cafés, art & antique shops, for a lunchtime stop. 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 end the day with a visit to Kiftsgate’s famous neighbour, Hidcote Manor Garden. Major Lawrence 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 skilful use of flowers, shrubs and trees. We will enjoy a private introduction to this exquisite garden from a member of the Hidcote Manor team. Dinner in the Hotel.
Wednesday 6th July
We leave our Stratford hotel and head south to the members-only day at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the Royal Horticultural Society’s greatest annual flower show, 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. After the show, we continue on to our luxury 4-star hotel, the Macdonald Windsor Hotel, in the centre of historic Windsor for our last three nights of the tour. Dinner in the Hotel.
Thursday 7th July
Today we 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. We then return to Windsor for dinner in the Hotel.
Friday 8th July
Our last day of the tour takes us to Wisley Garden, the famous home of the Royal Horticultural Society. It is full of ideas, inspiration and information. There is always a part of the garden at its best. The shop offers as a large a collection of books on gardening as anywhere in the world. During the afternoon we visit the magnificent Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest occupied Castle in the world – also home to HRH Queen Elizabeth II. We return to our Hotel overlooking the castle for our final night dinner.
Saturday 9th July
We say good-bye in Windsor where you check-out from the Hotel and make your own way by train to central London, by taxi or public transport to Heathrow Airport at a time that suits your own travel. 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.
NB: This tour includes one year’s membership of the Royal Horticultural Society.
PRICES EXCLUDE: Airfares; passport fees; lunches; beverages; laundry; gratuities; telephone calls; souvenirs and items of a personal nature.
HOW TO BOOK: To book your place on Summer Gardens with Hampton Court Flower Show, please go directly to our How to Book page and complete the booking form or contact us with any queries. For more general information about our tours please read our Frequently Asked Questions and to view our other 2016 Tours please click here.