The UK’s most romantic gardens to visit for Romantic Garden lovers
What can be more romantic than the English garden; roses, topiary, a riot of colour. We headed south to the Kent / Sussex border to visit some of the UK’s most romantic gardens. The area has some very romantic vistas with picture perfect cottages, grand estates, rolling countryside and has managed to somehow keep its rural feel, despite being relatively close to the capital.
We stayed in the aptly named Cottage in the Garden, where Jacqueline Evill welcomed us into this very special sanctuary. Placed perfectly at the end of the garden it overlooks the beautiful romantic garden and the stunning rolling countryside beyond. This area benefits from some of the most sunshine hours in the UK so in the evenings you can enjoy the glorious sunsets while having a drink on the cottage’s veranda. With such a climate it’s little wonder that one of the neighbours is a Champagne vineyard of note!
We visited the following gardens during June 2015 - a perfect month to see many flowers in their prime, including the romantic rose. On top of that we were told that this year has been a bumper year for roses so we were in for a treat.
Nymans | A romantic garden for all tastes
Nymans offers something to everyone; far reaching parkland views with stunning specimen trees (make sure you take in the views from the romantic bench at the Prospect), an enchanting walled forecourt garden, a circular rose garden and the stunning June borders, all set against the fairytale backdrop of the gothic ruins of the house. This is a garden on a grand scale and it’s easy to spend most of the day here. Also recommended are the second hand books shops in the old potting sheds for some great literary finds. Nymans website »
Sissinghurst Castle Gardens | Fall in love with gardens all over again
If we could only visit one garden ever again then this would be it. Sissinghurst is magical. Without any exaggeration, be prepared for this place to put a spell on you. And it seems it did the same for its founders, even without any of the gardens in place. Vita Sackville-West, the poet and writer, and her husband, diplomat and author Harold Nicholson fell in love with Sissinghurst Castle in the 1930s. The fact that they were opposites in many regards must have worked for them, or at least for their beloved garden. Harold designed the layout with a sense of symmetry and strong architectural lines. Vita expressed herself with a riot of colour and abundant planting schemes.
The garden is made up of different ‘rooms’, each very different in planting style and scheme. Just about every one of these rooms bowled us over, from the white garden to the walled garden around the castle towers itself. Probably our favourite was the large rose garden created around a small circular lawn with yew hedging. The planting in this border is what we now consider quintessentially English cottage garden. A close second would be the cottage garden around Boat House with many hot and clashing colours. Or should it be the white garden? Or perhaps the long borders leading to the moat? As you can tell we were spoilt for choice.
A must see… Sissinghurst will make you fall in love with gardens all over again. Sissinghurst Castle website »
Standen House & Garden | Arts & Crafts at its finest
Standen is probably not best known for its gardens. Instead, most flock here to see one of the country’s finest Arts & Crafts houses that still have that ‘lived in’ feel. In fact, we were ready to move but I suspect we might have to join a very long queue for this privilege.
Yet, the gardens around Standen are well worth a visit. There are some well planned borders around the South Lawn and Terrace and other parts of the garden is undergoing restoration to revive the Arts & Crafts garden as it would have been planted by Margaret Beale, including a new rosery.
The Kitchen Garden is a hive of activity and produces many ingredients for the Barn Cafe. We love seeing fruit and vegetable gardens and this is a very pretty one at that. Standen House website »
Scotney Castle | Romantic Gardens around a ruined moated castle
There are over 770 acres of glorious woodlands, parklands and gardens to explore at Scotney Castle; perfect for romantic walks across this very pretty estate. We loved the gardens around the moated old castle which is now mostly ruined. The planting is very thoughtful and with such a romantic backdrop you simply can’t go wrong. A lovely place to sit, take in the surrounding beauty and simply be with your loved one. Scotney Castle website »
Great Dixter | A bold and experimental garden
We had high hopes for Great Dixter and it did not fail to deliver. Created by great British gardener Christopher Lloyd it is his philosophy and character that shines through to make this one of the leading gardens in the world. Christo, as he was known to his friends, was a true gardening pioneer, constantly experimenting with new planting schemes and pushing the borders (no pun intended!) on what we now consider standard practice in gardening. He pioneered the mixed border, focusing on contrasts in colour, foliage and structure and this is nowhere more visible than in the stunning long border at Great Dixter.
Ever the enfant terrible of the horticulture establishment, Christopher replaced the classical English rose garden with a bold exotic garden and turned the perfectly mown lawn in the topiary garden into a wild flower meadow.
Great Dixter brings excitement, delight and joy. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful oak framed buildings, this is a garden not to be missed. Great Dixter website »