Big Dixter, Rye, Sussex
Fans of the great garden writer Christopher Lloyd will know his home here as a place of pilgrimage. It was conceived 100 years ago in collaboration with architect Lutyens, whose stone and tile frames give each garden ‘space’ its own dynamic. A fanfare of flowers, leaves and scents, Great Dixter reflects Lloyd’s natural exuberance and dislike of bare earth. This romantic garden remains an inspiration for many. Stay four miles away in Robertsbridge at the George Inn, a former 18th Century coaching inn from £99. Recharge your batteries in the in-house Loggia Café.
The garden is open until October 30th, £13; greatdixter.co.uk
The Newt, Somerset
With an unexpected feature around every corner, these gardens are a popular, albeit pricey, family outing. Discover interactive trails on hanging walkways in the trees, color-themed garden rooms, a ‘Beezantium’ and a redesigned Roman temple conjured from the archaeological archives and excavated from the rubble. Visit the Garden Café or book a picnic basket. Stay locally at The Newt or The Farmyard from £290.
Entry requires guest membership card for the year, £68; thenewtinsomerset.com
Iford Manor, near Bath
This secret gem of an Italian garden blends architecture and grand design with a classic sensibility. The creation of Edwardian landscape architect Harold Peto features stone terraces flanked by Doric columns with fountains, statues and vantage points. Lunch, tea and Friday night dinner in the excellent cafe are hosted by William Cartwright-Hignette, owner of The Iford. Rowley Cottage, converted from medieval stables, sleeps six people (three night minimum stay from £375).
The garden is open until October, £7.50; ifordmanor.co.uk
This famous garden is almost a century old and the creative vision of three generations of women. Known for its distinctive old rose, this most elegant of English gardens undergoes subtle mood swings as it moves through White Sunk Gardens, Water Gardens, Orchard and Bluebell Wood. Three atmospheric lodges sleep four to 14 people and cost from £190 per night for a minimum stay of three nights.
Garden open until October, £9.50; kiftsgate.co.uk
Somerleyton Hall, Suffolk
The famous maze of this property, along with the expansive grounds, made a big impression on WG Sebald, who wrote in about its otherworldly charm That Rings of Saturn. Much has changed since his visit and the magnificent facade is now recognizable to some as the Royal Palace The crown. The estate’s Fritton Lake Clubhouse offers food and accommodation from £180 per person or from £1,030 for three nights in the lakeside cottages.
The garden is open £8.45 through November; somerleyton.co.uk
Haddon Hall, Derbyshire
This early Renaissance stilt with centuries-old stone terraces and balustrades is a medieval treasure. More recently Arne Maynard has revived the planting. A shapely knot garden, framed by topiaries, serves as a canvas for Elizabethan plants traditionally grown as dyes and tinctures. The view opens onto a medieval park landscape. Stay at HH’s pub, the Peacock at Rowsley, from £150 B&B. Restaurant in the 17th century stables.
The garden is open until October £23.90; haddonhall.co.uk
Lamorran, St Mawes, Cornwall
Its sheltered bay and mild microclimate protect this intimate and lush subtropical garden from frost. Paths meander along the steep, terraced hillside through dense forests of palms, ferns, azaleas and rhododendrons, instilling a sense of exploration, with sudden exciting revelations of the sea over the Roseland Peninsula. Re-energize at La Terrazza or the wonderful Tresanton Hotel and Restaurant next door. On site, Lamorran Lodge sleeps four from £750 per week.
The garden is open until October, £11; lamorrangarden.co.uk
Ballyrobert Gardens, Ballyclare, Co Antrim
This is an inspirational family owned garden and nursery. The informal planting is particularly vibrant in the fall and there is a pleasant balance between cultivated areas and the wild areas and woodland over 16 hectares. A fairy tree, a hole tree and a Celtic spiral have firmly rooted the garden in the landscape of the magical valleys. Stay nearby at Ballylagan Organic Farm. £109 per night in either a four bedroom farmhouse or self catering cottage.
The garden is open £5.99 through October; www.ballyrobertgardens.com
Dyffryn Fernant, Fishguard, Pembrokeshire
Christina Shand’s lifelike planting works in harmony with the surroundings to create one of the most beautiful, ethereal home gardens in Wales. The two acres are nestled in the rugged Pembrokeshire landscape of rock, moor and marsh. The on-site Y Bwthyn Bach, a secluded garden cottage covered in crimson vines, is the perfect off-grid hideaway for three, from £252 low season for three nights.
Gardens are open until October 31st, £7; dyffrynfernant.co.uk
Alladale Wilderness Reserve, the Highlands
This is the original rewilding project in Scotland; Planted 1 million trees in the past decade, successfully reintroduced red squirrels and endangered wild cats. While this is about reconnecting with the untamed nature, the new aquaponic garden with vegetables, fruit and fish gives an insight into sustainable self-sufficiency. With 23,000 acres of vast wilderness to explore, Alladale is not for day trippers. There are four bothies, a bunk house and the UK’s most secluded lodge, Deanich, available to rent for up to 18 people from £2,750 per week.