Parks and Gardens
The parks and gardens in South East England are a sight to behold, with seasonal plants that create a rainbow of colours and open spaces that provide the perfect setting for a delightful afternoon stroll.
Throughout the region’s counties there are formal Italianate landscapes, quaint cottage gardens and award-winning national collections. Here is a selection of ideas for days out in the parks and gardens in South East England.
Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire
Eight acres of beautifully landscaped ornamental gardens featuring a formal knot, rose and alpine garden, water lily canal, riverside walk, colour borders and Waterperry Garden's pride and joy – a 100 foot long purely herbaceous border giving interest from May right through to the first frosts every year.
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Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, Oxfordshire
Visitors enjoy the diversity of plants and planting styles set in the 160 acres of landscaped parkland; early flowering shrubs, masses of spring bulbs, summer displays of hardy and tender exotics in the original walled garden of the Manor House, giant water lilies in the water garden.
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Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
Blenheim Palace is surrounded by over 2,000 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped park and 80 acres of award-winning Formal Gardens. The splendour and tranquillity is unrivalled in Britain, from the secluded Secret Garden, ornate Italian Garden, Water Terraces and fragrant Rose Garden to the Grand Cascade and lake, beauty abounds.
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A country retreat on a grand scale, Cliveden’s stunning gardens and breath-taking views over the Thames have been admired for centuries.You’ll discover a garden that delights throughout the seasons with a new colourful planting scheme for the famous Parterre, impressive floral displays, distinctive topiary and an outstanding sculpture collection.
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Exbury Gardens, Hampshire
Visit the magnificent Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias in the spring, buy a ticket for the steam railway and receive a FREE ticket to see the developing autumn colours (see website for terms and dates of offer). Over 200 acres to explore, on foot, by chauffeur-driven buggy or steam railway.
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Loseley Park, Surrey
Loseley Park’s Walled Garden attracts much acclaim from visitors who particularly love its fascinating setting and peaceful charm. It is divided into five different ‘rooms’ which include roses, flowers, herbs, organic vegetables and a white garden. There are plant sales and a courtyard for refreshments and light lunches.
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Mottisfont is magnificent and romantic too. It is all stone, rushing rivers, vast old yew trees, cedars and lawns, and a charming atmosphere of the past’ (Norah Lindsay, 1935). This is still true today: Mottisfont offers space and seclusion, lovely river walks, 60,000 spring bulbs, and a spectacular walled garden.
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Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
Snowdrops, aconites and crocuses are a feature of these fine Victorian gardens set in 165 acres of rolling parkland, with tree-fern and daffodil valleys, woodland walks, a winter garden and a rococo aviary with exotic birds.
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Oxford Castle Flower & Gardening Festival, Oxfordshire
Bringing a flurry of colour to Oxford Castle in Oxford city centre, with stalls, talks, demonstrations, workshops, surgeries, and competitions; entrance to Oxford Castle Flower & Gardening Festival is free, and the festival is set to be a flourishing, fun day out for family, friend’s novice and weather-beaten gardens alike!
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Old Thatch Gardens, Buckinghamshire
Recognised internationally as a garden of exceptional design and planting, awarded a star in The Good Gardens Guide and featured in The Most Amazing Gardens in Britain and Ireland. Naturalistic, contemporary and formal, the gardens are alive with the sights and sounds of wildlife.
Delicious home-made cakes in the old stables tea-room.
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RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey
Featuring a state-of-the-art Glasshouse and the finest flowers and fauna, Wisley is a sensory masterpiece, both visually alluring and aromatically pleasing. Gifted to the RHS in 1903, Wisley has evolved into a rich playground for garden enthusiasts, its wide variety of flowers, sculpted bushes and model gardens inspiring the imaginations of gardeners from all walks of life. Come take a stroll through these stimulating gardens and let your senses be enveloped.
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Sir Harold Hiller Gardens, Hampshire
Discover beauty and inspiration through landscaped features, woodlands and walkways at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. Established in 1953 by distinguished plantsman Sir Harold Hillier, the magnificent collection of over 42,000 plants from temperate regions around the world are set within 180 acres.
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Houghton Lodge and Gardens, Hampshire
A haven of peace above the tranquil beauty of the River Test. Grade II* Gardens with fine trees surround an enchanting and unique example of an 18th Century “Cottage Orne”. Chalk Cob walls enclose traditional Kitchen Garden with espaliers, herbs and heated greenhouses, hydroponicum and orchid collection.
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More parks and gardens
For more parks and gardens, visit our official guide to South East England with ideas for days out, things to do and where to stay across the region.