Stop and smell the roses on this leisurely tour of Southeast England’s greatest gardens and show-stealing stately homes. And the jewel in the crown? A trip to the green-fingered event of the year, the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show.
THE BACK-ROADS DIFFERENCE
- Get access to fabulous show gardens at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show
- Pick up tips for your own garden as we tour the historic manor houses and beautiful grounds of South East England
- Enjoy overnight stays in historic royal towns such as Tunbridge Wells and Windsor
- 6 nights in boutique accommodation
- Experienced Back-Roads Driver/Tour Leader
- Comfortable mini-coach transportation
- Daily Full English breakfasts (B), 3 evening meals (D)
- Entrance included to: Ightham Mote, Scotney Castle, Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Hever Castle, RHS Garden Wisley, Savill Garden, Waddesdon Manor, Great Dixter, Cliveden & Kew Gardens.
Please note: There are a number of dates where more than one departure will be running at the same time but each group stays in different hotels and visits the Chelsea Flower Show on different days. There are also departures where the itinerary is reversed.
DAY 1 LONDON – IGHTHAM MOTE – SCOTNEY CASTLE – TUNBRIDGE WELLS Our tour of England’s green and pleasant land begins at one of the most unique manor houses in the region. Ightham Mote dates back over 700 years, and can only be reached by crossing an ancient stone bridge that stretches over its very own moat. Our next iconic stop transports us to Scotney Castle before we end our action-packed day in Tunbridge Wells, where we enjoy a welcome dinner. (D) Accommodation: Tunbridge Wells Du Vin
DAY 2 TUNBRIDGE WELLS – SISSINGHURST CASTLE – GREAT DIXTER – TUNBRIDGE WELLS This morning our road turns east to Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, renowned for its romantic design and colourful rose arrangements. Next, we swap architectural layouts for a naturalistic approach to planting at Great Dixter. We tour the old, timber-framed house that was home to British gardening royalty, Christopher Lloyd and explore the gardens that were his pride and joy. (B) Accommodation: Tunbridge Wells Du Vin
DAY 3 TUNBRIDGE WELLS – HEVER CASTLE – RHS GARDEN WISLEY – WINDSOR Today, we venture to Hever Castle with its award-winning gardens where we discover the castle that was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second Queen. Then it’s time to enjoy the afternoon among the tranquil surrounds of RHS Garden Wisley. Take in the sounds of water flowing through the rock garden, or relax in the Alpine meadow, before we continue on to Windsor. (B,D) Accomodation: Sir Christopher Wren
DAY 4 WINDSOR – THE SAVILL GARDEN – WINDSOR Rise and shine as we have the whole day ahead of us. And what better way to spend it than discovering Windsor’s regal highlights? We come back together to visit The Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park. Look out for an array of rare plants from around the world as we walk through its themed gardens that showcase the beauty of the seasons. (B) Accommodation: Sir Christopher Wren
DAY 5 WINDSOR – WADDESDON MANOR – CLIVEDEN – LONDON This morning, we swap English country houses for an elegant French château at Waddesdon Manor. Next, we marvel at the grand designs at Cliveden. With colourful gardens for every season and glorious views over the River Thames, this truly is something special. Then it’s time to travel to London, and look forward to the excitement of the last days to come. (B) Accommodation: Petersham Hotel (or similar)
DAY 6 LONDON – CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW – LONDON The highlight of our adventure, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is yours to enjoy for a full day. From gardens designed to conjure up a slice of anywhere from Provence to Japan, to urban patches with remarkable water features, this is the place to see the very best of contemporary garden design. To round off the day, we sit down together for a farewell dinner. (B,D) Accommodation: Petersham Hotel (or similar)
DAY 7 LONDON – KEW GARDENS – LONDON Our last day dawns, but there are still one or two natural treasures to explore before we say goodbye. For a finishing touch, we visit the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. The palm house, a jaw-dropping example of Victorian engineering, is sure to add a final flourish to that holiday photo album. (B)