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The exploration of beautiful gardens with fine country houses and estates; some even have
guided tours included to discover more of the intriguing stories behind many
of these magnificent places.
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show started back in 1990, with the British Rose Festival being introduced at the show the following year. A veritable celebration of all things horticultural with a majestic Royal palace backdrop, the show features beautiful display gardens of all kinds including tranquil water gardens and innovative conceptual gardens. A series of zones each has its own distinctive theme and flavour while colourful blooms fill the floral marquees. Floral art, fruit, vegetables and herbs are also a major part of the show and there are talks and demonstrations for top tips and advice on gardening. Craft pavilions, nursery stalls and food producers provide plenty of shopping opportunities and gift ideas for plant-hunters and flower lovers alike, all adding to the diverse range of things on offer at the show.
After spending the day at the Flower Show, we region the coach for our journey home.
The Colourful Cotswolds
& Regency Cheltenham
Excursion One - Croome Court & Cheltenham
A masterpiece of landscape design, Croome Court was 'Capability' Brown's first major landscaping project. This beautifully crafted parkland is home to many fascinating statues, bridges and follies while at its centre stands the impressive Neo-Palladian mansion, offering the rare chance to explore the unrestored and unfurnished rooms as part of the National Trust's on-going restoration of this magnificent property. We also enjoy a guided tour here.
We spend some free time in the spa town of Cheltenham. Renowned for its abundance of Regency architecture, the town retains much of its historic charm, most notably in the buildings along its tree-lined promenade and Pittville Pump Room, home to the mineral springs that brought Cheltenham its spa town reputation.
Excursion Two - Cirencester & Painswick Rococo Garden
We pay a visit to Cirencester, an ancient market town that dates back to the Roman occupation of Britain. This heritage is reflected in the partially excavated amphitheatre and the Corinium Museum, known for its extensive collection of Roman artefacts.
Hidden in a valley behind the stately Painswick House, the beautiful Painswick Rococo Garden is famed as the only complete survivor from the brief Rococo period that was fashionable during the 18th century. Romantic follies combine with magnificent vistas to create a tranquil environment.
Excursion Three - Batsford Arboretum & Bourton House Garden
We head to Batsford Arboretum, home to one of the finest botanical collections in the country, where we enjoy a guided tour. Planted on a south-facing slope, the arboretum gives us a unique angle from which to view the magnificent tree and plant collections as well as stunning views of the Evenlode Valley below.
Known as the Cotswolds' best kept secret, we visit Bourton House Garden with its imaginative collection of plants and shrubbery, including a tranquil topiary walk. Opened over 35 years ago, the garden has continued to evolve and brings a welcome surprise with its inspirational planting, stunning colour combinations and rare, unusual and exotic plants.