Which UK gardens are must-visits for horticulture enthusiasts?

11 June 2024

For those of you with a passion for horticulture, the UK offers a wealth of stunning gardens to explore, each with their own unique charm and history. From the grandeur of royal palaces to the rustic beauty of private gardens, there is something to satisfy all tastes. So, whether you're a keen gardener looking for inspiration, or a plant enthusiast eager to see a diverse range of species, these gardens will certainly delight. In this article, we'll take you on a virtual tour of some of the best gardens to visit in the UK.

London's Hidden Gems: The Garden of Buckingham Palace and the Chelsea Physic Garden

Although London may be better known for its bustling cityscape, it is also home to some beautiful gardens which are certainly worth a visit. Let's take a closer look at two of London's hidden gems, the garden of Buckingham Palace and the Chelsea Physic Garden.

Garden of Buckingham Palace

The first stop on our tour is the garden at Buckingham Palace, the London residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Open to visitors during the summer months, this 39-acre garden is a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city. It boasts more than 350 species of wildflowers, over 200 trees and a three-acre lake, providing a haven for a wide variety of wildlife.

This garden has witnessed many historic events over the centuries, with its design evolving to reflect different royal tastes. Today, it is managed by the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) and is meticulously maintained by a team of dedicated gardeners.

Chelsea Physic Garden

Next, we head to the Chelsea Physic Garden, one of London's oldest botanical gardens. Established in the 17th century by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, it was initially used for the study of medicinal plants.

Today, the garden is home to around 5,000 different plant species, making it a must-visit for plant enthusiasts. It also hosts a range of events throughout the year, including workshops, talks and guided tours.

The Gardens of the Royals: Hampton Court Palace and Highgrove House

Next, we turn our attention to the royal gardens of Hampton Court Palace and Highgrove House.

Hampton Court Palace

Located on the outskirts of London, Hampton Court Palace is a palace of great historical significance. Its gardens span an impressive 60 acres and feature a mix of styles, from formal gardens to wildflower meadows.

Notably, the palace is home to the world's oldest puzzle maze, created in the late 17th century. It also hosts the annual RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, which is one of the largest flower shows in the world.

Highgrove House

Highgrove House, the private residence of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, is renowned for its gardens which have been personally designed by Prince Charles over the past 40 years. Gardening enthusiasts will appreciate the beauty and diversity of these gardens, which include a wildflower meadow, a kitchen garden, and a stumpery.

Visitors to Highgrove can enjoy a guided tour of the gardens, led by experts who will provide insights into the Prince’s gardening philosophy.

Manicured Beauty: The Gardens of Stourhead and Sissinghurst Castle

Finally, let's explore two more iconic gardens of the UK, renowned for their exceptional beauty and design - Stourhead and Sissinghurst Castle.


Stourhead, owned by the National Trust, is considered one of the best examples of 18th-century English landscape gardens. Its design was inspired by the paintings of artists like Claude Lorrain and Poussin, and it's filled with classical architecture, beautiful plants and trees, and a magnificent lake at its center.

Sissinghurst Castle

Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent is a masterpiece of garden design created by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson in the 1930s. It is made up of a series of smaller, intimate gardens, each with its own style and character. The White Garden and the Rose Garden are particularly popular, boasting a stunning range of plants and flowers.

Whether your interest lies in plant diversity, historical significance, or pure aesthetic beauty, these gardens offer a diverse range of horticultural experiences that will ignite the passion of any gardening enthusiast. Remember to always check for advertisement of special events, exhibitions or seasonal changes which may enhance your visit.

RHS Wisley: A Horticultural Masterpiece

As we continue our exploration of the UK’s finest gardens, the RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey is unquestionably a must-visit. Established in 1903, Wisley is the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and is among the UK’s most visited and best-loved gardens.

A rich tapestry of design and horticultural achievement, Wisley truly has something for everyone. From the grandeur of the Glasshouse, filled to bursting with exotic plants from around the world, to the tranquillity of the Alpine Meadow, your every step in this garden is a journey of discovery. Its plant collection is diverse and impressive, showcasing a wide variety of species from all corners of the globe.

Wisley’s model gardens provide inspiration for gardeners of all abilities. One of the highlights is the stunning rose garden, where you can immerse yourself in the delicious scent and vibrant colours of a multitude of rose varieties. You can also explore the Fruit Field, where the RHS conducts its famous trials of fruit trees and bushes.

Additionally, the popular events such as the annual RHS Wisley Garden Festival and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show offer an unparalleled opportunity to see the best of horticultural innovation and creativity. From vibrant displays of stunning plants and flowers to practical gardening advice from experts, these events are a delight for anyone interested in horticulture.

Scotland’s Finest: The Gardens of Scone Palace and Harlow Carr

Beyond the borders of England, the UK has more verdant treasures to offer. Let's take a virtual tour to Scotland, where the gardens of Scone Palace and Harlow Carr await your visit.

Scone Palace

Scone Palace, located in the city of Perth, is not only a place of great historical significance but is also home to an outstanding garden. The palace grounds include the famous Moot Hill, where every Scottish king was once crowned, and the ancient coronation stone.

The palace gardens are a feast for the senses, featuring a maze of noble fir trees, a pinetum, a kitchen garden, and an elaborate rose garden. The garden design has an unmistakable Scottish flair and is a testament to centuries of careful cultivation and preservation.

Harlow Carr

Harlow Carr, located in Harrogate, is another remarkable RHS garden. Covering 68 acres, it is a showcase of horticultural excellence and innovative design. The garden is renowned for its Alpine House, Winter Walk, and Streamside – a tranquil area with moisture-loving plants. Harlow Carr also hosts the RHS Harlow Carr Flower Show, an event that brings together horticultural experts, nurseries, and traders from all over the UK.


Whether you're an ardent horticulturalist, a nature lover, or simply enjoy a peaceful walk among stunning plants, the UK has a wealth of gardens waiting for you to explore. From the regal splendour of royal palaces to the botanical treasures of RHS gardens, these locations offer you a peek into the rich tapestry of UK's horticultural heritage.

Before you plan your visit, it's advisable to check the advertisement for any special events or exhibitions at these gardens. You might just find something that enhances your experience and deepens your understanding of the art and science of horticulture.

There truly is no better place for a garden enthusiast to immerse themselves in the beauty and diversity of the plant kingdom. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your visit to these must-see UK gardens now!

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