Gardens & Stately Homes of the UK
Britain's fascinating history of kings and queens, lords and ladies, legends and legacies is told in its magnificent castles, palaces and stately homes
This tour is the perfect introduction to one of England’s prettiest regions. Our unique itinerary combines history with horticulture, taking in ancient castles, stately homes and extraordinary gardens.
Day One: Abbey Gardens, Malmesbury
Discover one of the great gardens of the world. Set beside an abbey church in the centre of the medieval Cotswold town of Malmesbury, Abbey Gardens are rumoured to contain the remains of the first King of England.
Day Two: Stourhead, Courts Gardens, Wilton House
Image by John Hammond, courtesy of the National Trust
Lying in its own secluded valley, Stourhead is one of England’s greatest landscaped gardens. Devised as a classical Arcadian paradise centred around a lake, it is the vision of Henry ‘The Magnificent’ Hoare, one of a small group of 18th century gentlemen gardeners who used their extensive grounds to create a personal landscape. The magnificent planting is offset by fanciful buildings such as the Temple of Flora, the circular grotto and the Pantheon with its statues of classical gods.
We then move on to Courts Gardens to experience English country style gardening at its best, before travelling on to the imposing Wilton House, country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for the last 450 years and location for films including The Young Victoria and Madness of King George.
Day Three: Berkeley Castle
Explore Berkeley Castle, the ancient fortress which has been home to the Berkeley family since the end of the 12th century.
This three day tour takes in two magnificent stately homes, a museum in the house where Jane Austen lived and wrote and a tour of Salisbury Cathedral, home to the original Magna Carta.
Day 1: Bowood House & Lacock Abbey
Home to the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, Bowood house sits in 100 acres of parkland designed by England's greatest gardener, Capability Brown. We have arranged a private 'Lord and Lady Lansdownes Private Walled Garden Tour' of the gardens and John Adam designed interior.
Dating from the 13th century, the perfectly-preserved village of Lacock was used as the location for Meryton in the BBC’s production of Pride and Prejudice. Take time to walk along the pretty streets where the Bennet girls, in particular Lydia and Kitty ‘whose minds were more vacant than their sisters’, shopped for bonnets and hoped to attract the attentions of a young officer named Mr Wickham.
Day 2: Wilton House & Salisbury Cathedral
Set in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside and home to the Earls of Pembroke since the 1540s, Wilton House's treasures include a world famous art collection by renowned artists including van Dyck, Pieter Brueghel and Rembrandt
Home to the original Magna Carta and topped with Britain's tallest spire, Salisbury Cathedral is one of England's historic gems. We can arrange of tour of the Cathedral with an exclusive guided library visit and traditional English cream tea.
Day 3: Uppark Park, Chawton House & the Jane Austen House Museum
Image Stephen Lewis
A tranquil and intimate 18th-century house perched on its vantage point high on the South Downs ridge, Uppark commands views as far south as the English Channel. Outside, the gardens have been restored to their original 18th century design.
Chawton House and the Jane Austen House Museum
Edward Austen inherited the Elizabethan manor Chawton House from distant family members Thomas and Catherine Knight and Jane often went to stay, referring to it in letters as ‘the Great House’. Now open to the public, there are still many traces of her time there, including the table she dined at and an alcove in the Oak Room where she liked to sit and read.
In 1809 Jane, together with her beloved mother and sister, moved into the bailiff’s residence, five minutes’ walk away. The house is now home to the Jane Austen House Museum. This charming recreation of the Austen women’s home and garden not only offers an insight into their domestic life, it also gives visitors the chance to see the desk where Jane wrote Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion.
St Nicholas Church where Jane’s mother and her sister Cassandra are buried is a short walk away.