10 of the Best UK Gardens to Visit and Photograph

Marianne Stenger
1st August 2019

England is known for its mastery of gardening, and there are more than 300 historic houses and gardens throughout the country. The best time of year to enjoy these gardens and their surroundings is generally around spring and summertime when most of the flowers are in full bloom. But many of them are charming to visit even during the autumn and winter months.

So if you’re itching to get out there and enjoy nature while training your photographic eye, here are some of the best gardens to visit and photograph around the UK.

1. The Hidcote Manor Garden in Gloucestershire 

The Hidcote Manor Garden in Gloucestershire was the first property acquired by the National Trust and is unique due to the fact that it’s divided into a number of intricate mini gardens, each with its own character.

You can sit peacefully and take in the views or stroll along the garden’s serene walkways that are bordered by different plants and flowers in each season, from fuchsias and red dahlias in August to Japanese anemones in September and tapestry hedges in October.

2. Hill Garden & Pergola, Hampstead Heath, London

Stopping off at the Hill Garden and Pergola located near Trafalgar Square in Hampstead Heath is a great way to clear your mind and get away from the throngs of people on London’s bustling high streets. The pergola is as long as the Canary Wharf Tower is tall and is made up of classical stone columns with wooden support beams and is overgrown with lush vines and exotic flowers.

Image © Viv Lynch

3. Mottisfont Abbey, Hampshire

Mottisfont Abbey is a medieval priory and country estate in Hampshire. The garden runs along a river and is known for its spectacular collection of roses that come into full bloom during the months of June and July. There’s plenty to see even after peak rose season, however, including colourful peonies, lilies and geraniums, fragrant lavender shrubs, and ancient trees.

5. Alton Towers, Staffordshire

Although the Alton Towers Resort is primarily known for its theme park, it’s also home to 300 acres of expertly kept gardens. The gardens were laid out over 150 years ago, and visitors can see everything from lakes, pools and terraces to fountains and bridges. One of the garden’s most iconic features is the eye-catching Grand Garden Conservatory, which was built in 1820 and housed the first bananas ever grown in the UK.

6. The Eden Project, Cornwall

The Eden Project in Cornwall is a unique garden built within tropical biomes and houses a huge collection of plants and flowers from diverse climates and environments. Visitors can discover fascinating tropical plants from the Canopy Walkway in the Rainforest Biome, which is also the largest greenhouse in world, and then stroll through olive groves, sunflower fields, and vineyards in the Mediterranean Biome.

Image © David Lea Kenney

7. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden in North Yorkshire is a coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the largest monastic ruins in the UK, a medieval deer park, and a breathtaking 18th-century water garden. Next to the abbey ruins is the Studley Royal deer park, which is home to more than 500 wild Red, Fallow and Sika deer, as well as a variety of ancient trees, some of which are 300 years old.

8. The Beth Chatto Gardens, Colchester, Essex

The Beth Chatto Gardens near Colchester are made up of five different plots each with its own type of soil, plants and mini ecosystem. For example, the Gravel Garden, which was once a car park, features drought-tolerant plants like African Lilies and Wild Leeks; whereas the Water Garden is filled with lush shade-loving plants and flowers such as ferns, anemones, and baneberries. There’s also a nursery where visitors can pick up plants and shrubs that are suited to their own gardens.

Image © Lee Nichols

9. Sizergh, Cumbria

Sizergh Garden and Castle in Cumbria is a medieval estate surrounded by 1600 acres of wild trails and pastures, lakes and waterfalls, and picture-perfect gardens. One of its most outstanding features is the limestone rock garden, which is located in a dell and fed by streams from the lake above; making it the perfect environment for dwarf conifers, Japanese maples, and hardy ferns.

10. The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall

Located in Cornwall, the Lost Gardens of Heligan are known as one of the premiere botanical destinations in the UK today. The mysterious gardens were laid out on a 200-acre plot two centuries ago, but were finally restored in the 1990s after decades of neglect. The property is now an exotic jungle brimming with dense foliage and tropical plants not normally seen in England, including banana and palm trees, towering bamboo plants, and giant rhubarb.

Image © Mike Dales

Have you been to any of these gardens and take a great photo? If so, we'd love to see them. You can email them to us at info@bobbooks.co.uk, or share them on social media and tag us.