The Cotswolds is a brilliant destination for anyone who loves spending time outdoors, but I think it’s a particularly wonderful region if you enjoy visiting gardens. There’s no better time to explore them than in the full flush of spring, and since the season will soon be upon us, I thought I’d give you a few suggestions of places to go to.
If you regularly visit gardens, you’ll know that they’re usually not open all year round – but if this kind of attraction is quite new to you, I’d definitely stress you should always check the opening dates and times of any garden you’d like to visit. Plus, if you’re planning on bringing your dog on holiday with you, remember to also see whether pooches are as welcome as you are.
Open: Between April and October
Where: Close to Hidcote Bartrim and Chipping Camden
The Cotswolds is home to some truly fabulous gardens, so I thought it only fitting to start with one of the most show-stopping – Hidcote Manor. Internationally renowned, this glorious National Trust site is actually comprised of a series of small gardens, each with its own unique theme.
While that’s exciting in itself, it’s not the only reason to come here. For me, a huge draw is the fact that this is where you’ll find the largest plant center in the National Trust, while there’s also some fantastic food to try at the Garden Restaurant. Plus, it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled for the local wildlife, since red kites, kestrels, buzzards and swallows can all be spotted here.
Just as a quick note, there’s virtually no shade in the car park, so it’s definitely best to leave your dog at home – otherwise, he or she could quickly overheat while you’re out exploring the garden.
Open: Late March to early June
Where: Gloucestershire, on the edge of the Forest of Dean
Next on my list is Lydney Park which, in welcoming canines, is a lovely place to take a stroll with your dog. What’s lovely about coming here is that the gardens take the form of a romantic wooded valley, in which you’ll find all sorts of treasures.
For instance, there’s a scenic lake, alongside plenty of rhododendrons, azaleas, acers, and magnolias. What’s more, you can also see some Roman ruins, which means it’s bound to prove equally enchanting among history lovers.
Open: Between April and November
Where: Near Broadway
This charming cottage-style garden is a fantastic place to explore. Like Hidcote Manor, it’s run by the National Trust, but this terraced garden is a little less grand. That said, it is no less captivating, home as it is to some fantastic views and lots of quiet little corners to enjoy.
If you come here, you should definitely make time to tear yourself away from the garden and explore the house itself. Here, you’ll find the eclectic collection of Charles Wade – a man with a passion for finding and fixing beautiful things, from everyday items to extraordinary ones.
For instance, here you can see historic toys, exquisite clocks, and even Samurai armor, to name but a few. And, if you particularly like the sound of any of the above gardens, it’s worth remembering that you can stay in cottages in the Cotswolds in places like Broadway and Chipping Camden, which are where you’ll find some of the region’s top gardens.