Plan your summer garden visits!

Visit our top 20 British open gardens this summer for design ideas and planting inspiration

Plan gardens to visit this summer with our locator map

by Liz Potter |
Visit our top 20 gardens this summer
Visit our top 20 gardens this summer ©GARDEN ANSWERS MAGAZINE

There’s no better way to enjoy time in the UK than by visiting some of our best public and private open gardens. Here’s our top 20 – they might not all be the biggest, most historic or most lavish, but they all have plenty of planting and design ideas to use at home.

1. CHELSEA PHYSIC GARDEN. 66 Royal Hospital Rd, London SW3 4HS. Sun-Fri, 11am-5pm. Historic garden for the botanically curious. Founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to grow medicinal plants. Unique collection. Adults £12 + donation. 020 7352 5646;

2. ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, KEW. Richmond, London TW9 3AE. Mon-Fri, 10am-7pm; Sat-Sun 10am-8pm. 250-year-old botanic garden with historic plant collection to match. Bold scientific mission, magnificent glasshouses. Adults £19.50 + donation. 020 8332 5655;

3. RHS GARDEN WISLEY. Wisley La, Wisley, Woking, Surrey GU23 6QB. Mon-Fri, 9.30am-6pm; Sat-Sun 9am-6pm.. Historic home of the RHS. Enormous plant collection arranged into gardens with stunning seasonal highlights. Adults £14.95 + donation; RHS free. 01483 224234;

4. SISSINGHURST CASTLE GARDEN. Biddenden Rd, Cranbrook, Kent TN17 2AB. Daily, 11am-5.30pm. Owned and maintained by the National Trust, this famous 20th-century garden is actually a series of ten smaller ‘garden rooms’, each uniquely different from the others. Adults £15 + parking; NT free. 01580 710701;

5. GREAT DIXTER. Northiam, Rye, East Sussex TN31 6PH. Tues-Sun & BH Mon, 11am-5pm. Family home of the late Christopher Lloyd OBE now under the stewardship of Fergus Gar-rett. Colourful plantings including a jungle courtyard. Adults £13.50 + donation. 01797 252878;

6. HIDCOTE. Hidcote Bartrim, Chipping Campden, Gloucs GL55 6LR. Daily, 10am-6pm. Arts and Crafts-inspired garden with intricately designed outdoor spaces in the rolling Cotswold hills. Adults £13; NT free. 01386 438333;

7. The LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN. Pentewan, St. Austell, Cornwall PL26 6EN. Daily, 10am-6pm. Jungly haven rediscovered 30 years ago and lovingly restored. Adults £17.50. 01726 845100;

8. HAUSER & WIRTH. Durslade Farm, Dropping Lane, Bruton, Somerset BA10 0NL. Tues-Sun, 10am-5pm. Internationally acclaimed art gallery set in prairie landscape by Piet Ou-dolf. Adults free + donation. 01749 814060;

9. DYFFRYN FERNANT. Dinas, Fishguard, Pembrokeshire SA65 9SP. Sun-Fri, 12noon-5pm. Large but charming cottage garden. Seasonal highlights and imaginative planting. Adults £7; RHS free. 01348 811282;

10. BODNANT. Bodnant Rd, Tal-y-Cafn, Colwyn Bay, Conwy LL28 5RE. Daily, 9.30am-5pm. Overlooking the Conwy Valley. Founded in 1874. Manicured lawns and flower-filled terrac-es. Adults £8; NT free. 01492 650460;

11. PENSTHORPE NATURAL PARK. Pensthorpe Rd, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 0LN. Wed-Sun (daily in school hols), 10am-5pm. Glorious nature reserve with Piet Oudolf Millennium Garden, lakeside, wildlife habitat garden, Wave Garden and Infinity Garden. Looks great even in rain. Adults £12.95. 01328 851465;

12. BETH CHATTO’S PLANTS & GARDENS. Elmstead Market, Colchester, Essex CO7 7DB. Tues-Sat, 10am-5pm. Inspirational informal garden created by the late Beth Chatto OBE, pioneer of ‘right plant right place’ with gravel, scree, woodland and water gardens. Adults £9.95 + booking fee. 01206 822007;

13. RHS BRIDGEWATER. Occupation Rd, Greater, Worsley, Salford, Greater Manchester M28 2LJ. Daily, 10am-6pm. Brand new RHS garden. Adults £11 + donation; RHS free. 0161 503 6100;

14. YORK GATE. Back Church Ln, Adel, Leeds LS16 8DW. Wed-Sun & BH Mons, 11am-4.30pm. Magical one-acre Arts & Crafts garden created by the Spencer family, now run by Perennial. Adults £7 + donation. 0113 267 8240;

15. RHS HARLOW CARR. Crag Ln, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate, N Yorks HG3 1QB. Daily, 9.30am-6pm. Specially designed gardens reflecting the local landscape with trails, log maze and tea rooms. Adults £12.15 + donation; RHS free. 01423 565418;

16. The ALNWICK GARDEN. Greenwell Road, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1YU. Daily, 10am-5pm. 12 acres of magnificent gardens including world’s largest Tai Haku cherry or-chard, a Grand Cascade of 120 water jets and famous Poison Garden. Adults £14.85. 01665 511350;

17. LOGAN BOTANIC GARDEN. Port Logan, Nr. Stranraer DG9 9ND. Daily, 10am-5pm. Palm trees, ferns, eucalyptus and gunnera, walled garden and elegant conservatory. Adults £7.50; RBGE free. 01776 860231;

18. ROWALLANE GARDEN. Crossgar Rd, Saintfield, Ballynahinch, County Down BT24 7LH. Daily, 10am-6pm. A mix of formal and informal spaces with many unusual vistas and unique plants from across the world. Adults £8; NT free. 028 9751 0131;

19. ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN EDINBURGH. Arboretum Pl, Edinburgh EH3 5NZ. Daily, 10am-5pm. Founded in 1670 with historic plant collection. 70 acres of landscaped gardens and glasshouses. Free entry. 0131 248 2909;

20. 2 DURNAMUCK. Little Loch Broom, Wester Ross IV23 2QZ. 21 Aug, 11am-5pm for Scot-land’s Gardens Scheme & by arrangement 1 Jun-30 Sept. Private plant lovers’ garden on Little Loch Broom with stunning views. Adults £5. 01854 633761;

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