Britain’s best National Trust Gardens

Guy Pierce / 13 June 2018 ( 11 June 2019 )

Nothing says summer like the scents and colours of an English country garden. Or a Welsh, Irish or Scottish one, for that matter. We pick some of our favourites...

Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex

Set in 250 acres, the five lakes and falls shimmer with reds, pinks, yellows and white, reflecting the abundant waterlilies that thrive here, plus the kingfishers and dragonflies they attract. A joy.

10am-5pm, £13.10, 01825 790231

Sizergh, Cumbria

If you’ve ever owned a grape vine, the Hot Wall will have a place in your heart. Enjoy the wide variety of floral favourites, such as dahlias, clematis and roses, and for a small donation take home a bunch of their sweet peas.

10am-5pm, £12 560951

Powis Castle and Garden, Powys

Powis Castle and Garden, Powys (above)

The shadows of the 13th-century castle’s dark history are dispersed by the wild and cultivated flowers, giant yew hedge topiary, ancient orangery and a peerless view of the Severn Valley.

10am-6pm, £13.50, 01938 551944

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Mottistone Gardens, Isle of Wight

The valley is ideal for subtropicals. Tall, fragrant ginger lilies mingle with feathery exotic grasses. Best of all, double herbaceous borders are crammed with vivid African daisies.

10.30am-5pm, £7.10, 01983 741302

Mount Stewart gardens

Mount Stewart, Co Down (above)

Lose yourself in idiosyncratic and formal themed gardens – from the Italian and Spanish to the Shamrock Garden, with an amazing array of Mediterranean plants and flowers, plus a rose garden. 

10am-5pm, £10.45, 02842 788387

Ham House Garden, Richmond, London

Parts of the 17th-century grounds of this magnificent house are so formal, you’re surprised the gardeners don’t wear evening dress. But it’s not all manicured edges and topiary. There’s a wilderness area, delightful cherry garden and the kitchen garden is producing fresh produce well over 300 years since the first skirrret took root there.

10am-5pm £12.50

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Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire

If a carpet of wildflowers is more to your liking than formal garden design, then Colby’s meadow is for you, as it comes alive, particularly in July and August. The woodland garden has the country’s tallest Japanese redwood, set among paths, streams and azaleas and rhododendrons. Make the most of the sun and enjoy family picnics, climbing trees and running through the meadow.

10am-5pm £7.62

Greenbank Garden, Glasgow

This 18th-century walled garden has more than 3,600 types of plants. Best of all are the 16 acres of rhododendron woods. You might catch a glimpse of Highland cattle, too.

11am-5pm, £7.50, 0141 616 5126

Felbrigg Hall Gardens

Felbrigg Hall Gardens, Norfolk (above)

The walled garden showcases some rare (for the UK) treats. The ‘Headache Tree’, or ‘Balm of Heaven’ as it doubtless prefers to be known, Chilean lantern tree and Japanese loquat are all magnificent.

11am-5pm, £11.60 837444

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Coleton Fishacre, Devon

In a coastal setting, the gardens of the former home of the D’Oyly Carte family possess a rugged charm and the micro climate encourages exotic plants such as pink protea and the gigantic Echium pininana.

10.30am-5pm, £11.60, 01803 842382

Croome’s Summer Garden, Worcestershire

‘Capability’ Brown added his magic touch to the gardens surrounding the 18th-century seat of the Earl of Coventry – and, in the 1980s, the UK HQ of the Hare Krishna movement! The scent of roses fills the air, white flowers adorn the hedges lining the main pathway, with displays of spiky-topped cardoons and honeysuckle, and in the meadow are wild orchids that have simply seeded naturally.

9am-5.30pm, £11.45

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