South Wood Farm (c) Jason Ingram

Garden Visits 2023

We are delighted to announce this year’s Garden Visits! The programme takes us to some of the country’s most exquisite and inspiring gardens, with exclusive tours and talks hosted by some of the owners and designers. Our Garden Visits always sell quickly – so don’t hesitate if one catches your eye!

All our visits outside London offer transport from a local train station to the gardens, as well as lunch and refreshments all included in the ticket price.

Become a Friend to enjoy discounted tickets and priority booking for next year’s garden visits. 

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Outstanding gardens in
the High Sussex Weald

Highlands and Brightling Down Farm

This morning we visit Highlands, a beautiful country garden with commanding views across the Sussex Weald to the Ashdown Forest. This eight-acre garden wraps around a 15th century Wealden hall house with a 17th century threshing barn. The owners have a wildlife-friendly approach, with areas of wildflower meadow and a natural pond, plus hot beds, a dry bed and a woodland garden. Our guide will be head gardener Chris Brown.

After a seasonal lunch at a local inn, we will drive to Brightling Down Farm (pictured above), where the garden has been designed for owners Val and Peter Stephens by talented design duo Ian Smith and Debbie Roberts of Acres Wild. The brief was to “make a garden that looks as though it has always been here” and that has been completely fulfilled: the sculpted landscape design, interconnected ponds and waterfalls, tranquil planting and use of reclaimed materials make it look timeless.

Tues 30 May
£175 Standard, £160 Friends

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Contrasting country gardens in Devon

Silver Street Farm and South Wood Farm

This visit takes us to Silver Street Farm (pictured above), the beautiful three-acre country garden of landscape designer Alasdair Cameron and his wife Tor on the edge of the Blackdown Hills, featured in magazines including House & Garden and Country Living. Ranged around a beautifully restored Georgian farmhouse and characterful outbuildings, the garden is designed as a space in which to experiment with plant combinations and as a relaxed family garden.

We then drive the short distance to South Wood Farm, a very special five-acre country garden designed by Arne Maynard. We will be hosted by the owner, Professor Clive Potter and guided by head gardener Lewis O’Brien. Wrapped around an ancient thatched yeoman’s farmhouse, this is a garden of great atmosphere, bringing together ingenious herbaceous planting with topiary, wildflower meadows, orchard and kitchen garden. The result is an unforgettable sense of place.

Tues 6 June
£175 Standard, £160 Friends

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Creative, sustainable flower arranging
with Lucy Vail

Floriston Hall Flower Farm and Tinkers Green Farm

This morning we will be the guests of mother and daughter Amanda and Lucy Vail at Floriston Flower Farm (pictured above) on the Suffolk/Essex borders. Acclaimed floral designer Lucy specialises in seasonal, sustainable installations for weddings and events using predominantly British flowers grown by Amanda in a one-acre flower farm she started in lockdown in 2020. We will enjoy an exclusive floristry demonstration by Lucy, and explore the rest of the gardens at Floriston Hall, where the roses should be at their peak.

After lunch we will travel the short distance to Tinkers Green Farm, home of Peter and Denny Swete, where garden designer Denny, one of our Garden Visit organisers for the museum, has kindly agreed to open her own garden for us. There is a mix of exuberance and formality in the borders, as well as a verdant decorative potager and Denny is passionate about encouraging wildlife so uses no sprays to control pests. Behind the 16th century cottage, Denny has created long herbaceous borders that ripple with strong colour and there is a shady and restful courtyard garden, planted with cool greens and creams.

Weds 14 June
£175 Standard, £160 Friends

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Delightful town gardens in Oxfordshire

The Lodge, Waynes Close and The Old Vicarage and the Burford Garden Company

Today we will visit three private town gardens in the heart of Burford. Our first stop is Sue Ashton’s country-house garden at The Lodge (pictured above). Walled on two sides behind an elegant 18th century Cotswold stone house, Sue’s half-acre garden – with a beautiful Victorian glasshouse at its heart – has something new to admire at every turn.

A short walk will bring us to Shirley Russell’s small secluded town garden of Waynes Close. From a paved terrace behind the house – which dates from the late 1600s and was modernised in 1910 in the Arts and Crafts style – the lawn sweeps upwards to join a loggia, surrounded by flowering climbers and wall shrubs.

In the afternoon we visit Jean Gray’s equally secluded one-acre walled garden at The Old Vicarage, which dates from the 1400s with an elegant Georgian façade, followed by a visit to meet the team at the Burford Garden Company.

Weds 21 June
£175 Standard, £160 Friends

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A magical, wildlife friendly garden on
the Thames Terraces

At the home of garden designer John Little

This very special day has been devised for Garden Museum guests who are looking to attract more wildlife into their garden. John Little is a maverick garden designer, brimming with groundbreaking ideas, who will show us how anyone can incorporate his concepts in a beautiful, design-led way into any garden setting. In Hilldrop, his own garden in Laindon, Essex, he will show us how to create a low-maintenance, flower-filled garden that not only brings pleasure to people but also embraces and encourages biodiversity. Features include green roofs, ponds and skilfully designed habitat panels and planters.

Hilldrop was recently cited by Nigel Dunnett as “a new iconic garden that people would still be talking about in 20 years”. John is well-known for his incredibly inspiring low-impact landscapes, demonstrating how even the most unpromising soils – stony, arid and low in fertility – can be turned to advantage. We will be joined by entomologist James McGill and we will also visit the community gardens at the nearby Essex Wildlife Trust nature discovery park.

Fri 30 June
£220 Standard, £200 Friends

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A fascinating tour of The Newt in Somerset

Hadspen, Castle Cary, Somerset

Join us for an exclusive guided tour of the gardens and many features at The Newt in Somerset, arguably one of the most exciting horticultural projects to have emerged in the UK in the last decade.

The horticultural heritage of the gardens is well known, thanks in no small part to garden guru Penelope Hobhouse, who gardened here at Hadspen House for over a decade until 1979.  We will be in the capable hands of Arthur Cole, Head of Programmes, who will introduce us to the parabola walled garden, cascade ponds, colour gardens, cottage fernery, produce area and woodland. We will also have time to visit the interactive exhibition space The Story of Gardening, explore the fascinating life of bees in the Beezantium, and visit the marl pit with its naturalistic planting and grotto. Our day includes lunch in the Garden Café.

Thurs 7 September
£175 Standard, £160 Friends

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Splendid old hall gardens in Cheshire

Stretton Old Hall and Broxton Old Hall

Today we are in Cheshire to visit two splendid gardens surrounding quintessential old hall houses. Our first stop is Stretton Old Hall, Tilston (pictured above), where the garden covers just over five acres. The creation of owner Ken Roscoe, an architectural designer, it has been described as contemporary classic in style and “a masterpiece of considered design”.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we will travel to Broxton Old Hall, a ten acre garden which has been compared to a mini Highgrove. There are formal parterres, an ornamental lake, cut flower and vegetable gardens, a wildflower meadow and woodland. It beautifully combines both formal and fun elements such as a multi-storey treehouse made from timber milled on site and a hobbit house with a living roof. We will be met by head gardener Andrew Woolley, and Riccardo Armitage, head of Produce and Formal, will show us the walled kitchen garden and cutting garden, plus the herb garden designed by Jekka McVicar.

Weds 13 September
£175 Standard, £160 Friends

Book tickets
Images: Brightling Down Farm walled garden © Acres Wild; Silver Street Farm © Jason Ingram; Lucy and Amanda Vail at Floriston Hall Flower Farm © Mark Crick; The Lodge © Clive Nichols; John Little’s garden © Sarah Cuttle; The Newt formal garden aerial view © The Newt in Somerset; Stretton Old Hall © Joe Wainwright
Garden Museum
5 Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB

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Garden Museum · Lambeth Palace Road · London, London SE1 7LB · United Kingdom