Day 1 Tuesday 21 May, 2019 Departure
Today we board our overnight flight to London.
Day 2 Wednesday 22 May, 2019 London, England
This morning we arrive at London’s Heathrow Airport. After clearing customs, we will be met by our private coach and travel to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Started in 1750 as a private garden, commissioned by Princess Augusta, it possesses the largest living plant collection and the largest Victorian conservatory in the world. Garden lovers can spend several hours identifying plants and admiring plant combinations. Our group will enjoy the 14,000 mature trees that form stately avenues, woods and towering specimens. After checking in to our hotel the tour manager will meet those wishing to dine with the group in the lobby to suggest restaurants for dinner.
Day 3 Thursday 23 May 2019 London
The highlight of our time in London will be our escorted visit to the famous Chelsea Flower Show. It is the summer event in the English horticultural calendar. It boasts about 20 amazing landscaped gardens built by prominent landscapers and more than 500 displays featuring the best flowers, plants and trees, with many new introductions. For gardeners, it is the experience of a lifetime and a highlight of our garden tour. Jane will make sure we get the most out of the show. We will enjoy a welcome dinner this evening to formally meet tour members.
Day 4 Friday 24 May 2019 London
Late morning we travel to Westminster, where we board a ferry to sail along the Thames to Greenwich. We’ll see the many developments that have recently occurred in the dock area of the river, including the tower at Canary Wharf, which until recently, had been the tallest building in London. Late afternoon we travel to Fortnum and Mason the 18thcentury department store, known for gourmet groceries and where afternoon tea has been a tradition for centuries. We will enjoy a delicious afternoon tea in lovely surroundings.
Day 5 Saturday 25 May 2019 Maidstone, England
We travel to Kent today. Known for its apple orchards and hop oast houses, the county is very lush. Today we visit two of the finest gardens in England. We first visit the house and gardens at Great Dixter, one of the best-known gardens in Britain, which surrounds a thatched 15th-century manor house. The sunken garden was designed and constructed by Christopher Lloyd, a noted plants man, gardener and writer who lived and gardened here all his life composing a series of gardens, including fine topiary and a magnificent mixed long border. This afternoon we visit the renowned garden at Sissinghurst Castle, created by Vita Sackville West and her husband Harold Nicholson. This romantic garden is one of the outstanding gardens of the world – a true gem and Jane will make sure that you get the most out of this inspiring garden. We continue to bustling Maidstone, where we check in to our hotel and the remainder of the afternoon will be free for individual activity.
Day 6 Sunday 26 May 2019 Maidstone
This morning is free to explore Maidstone. In the afternoon we visit Scotney Castle Garden. The formal garden overlooks a quarry garden while the grounds of the old castle enclose a rose garden and the lakeside planting adds an air of informality. Evergreens and deciduous trees provide structure, while many shrubs and flowering plants ensure something is in bloom at every season.
Day 7 Monday 27 May 2019 York, England
Today we drive north to historic York, a walled city founded by the Romans, where we will stay four nights. On the journey we stop at Felley Priory. This gorgeous garden has been developed around the old priory since 1976. Double herbaceous borders undulate from the house through steep, stepped terraces and between yew hedges. There are pergolas, knot gardens and tasteful topiary.
Day 8 Tuesday 28 May 2019 York
This morning we will visit Newby Hall and Gardens, a late 17th-century garden. Jane will guide us through the 25 acres of formal gardens. Features from the 18th century are an east-west walk with Victorian statuary, backed by yew and purple plum. There are many fine herbaceous borders backed by clipped hedges and flowering shrubs. We continue with a visit to Sutton Park. This highly rated garden was first laid out by Adam Meikle, a follower of Capability Brown in the 1750’s. When she inherited the garden in the early 1960’s, Nancy Sheffield developed three large terraces with broad steps leading to each level close to the house. This garden continues to be developed by the present generation of owners. We will return to York for an evening at leisure.
Day 9 Wednesday 29 May 2019 York
This morning we will visit Castle Howard. The castle was used as the location for Brideshead Revisited it’s garden is described as one of the finest examples of ‘The Heroic Age of English Landscape Architecture’, the grounds were first designed by Sir John Vanbrugh to compliment the castle he also designed. He was assisted by Nicholas Hawksmoor. This is one of the largest collection of old fashioned roses in Europe and a very fine collection of magnolias and rhododendrons. We will travel on to visit Nawton Tower. This atmospheric garden of twelve acres on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors was created during the 1930’s by the Earl of Faversham. It consists of a series of formal grassy walks between living tapestries woven from a masterly selection of trees, rhododendrons, azaleas and old shrub roses.
Day 10 Thursday 30 May 2019 York
This morning is free for individual activity. In the afternoon we visit Scampston Hall. This stately home has developed a strikingly beautiful modern design by Piet Oudolf in its former kitchen garden. This adds to the beautiful park designed by Capability Brown.
Day 11 Friday 31 May 2019 Dublin, Eire
In the morning we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland and well-known as being a place of friendliness and ‘craic’, and a city well over 1000 years-old. Ireland’s famous capital is located on the River Liffey and looks seawards to its port and the waters of Dublin Bay. Upon arrival we are transferred to our city hotel. The tour manager will meet those wishing to dine with the group in the lobby to suggest restaurants for dinner.
Day 12 Saturday 1 June 2019 Dublin
Today we visit Dublin in Bloom at Phoenix Park. Thousands of people attend the show to see the gorgeous show gardens, where new garden designs are highlighted. We will be able to see botanical print making, listen to garden experts give talks, and visit the nursery marquee, where specialist nurseries have created stunning displays. In the afternoon we enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide. We see elegant Georgian squares and streets including Merrion Square laid out in 1762. We see Trinity College founded in 1592 by Elizabeth I. It was developed according to the traditions of Oxford and Cambridge. Many buildings were added to the university in the 18th and 19th century. We visit Grafton Street, Dublin’s finest pedestrian shopping street. We see Leinster House converted to house the Republican parliament in 1922 and St Stephen’s Green, formally common land, enclosed in 1663. They are now beautifully landscaped gardens.
Day 13 Sunday 2 June 2019 Dublin
This morning we visit Primrose Hill, a gorgeous garden. The herbaceous borders are lovingly cared for and create a stunning display. Iris, lilies, kniphofias and lobelias are favoured plants. In the afternoon we visit Helen Dillon’s new garden near the coast. Helen will be applying all the gardening knowledge she has accumulated over the years in her new garden. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner to say good bye to tour members.
Day 14 Monday 3 June 2019 Dublin
This morning we are transferred to the airport for our flight back to Australia.
Day 15 Tuesday 4 June 2019 Arrival Australia
This evening we arrive in Australia and the tour concludes.