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If you’re a mad-keen gardener, this tour’s gonna knock yer gumboots off!

But you don’t have to be a mad-keen gardener. Even if you hate gardening and never wear gumboots, you’re gonna love the daily doses of beauty, colour and creativity that we’ve hidden in our ‘UP THE GARDEN PATH’ itinerary!

And don’t worry, it’s not just GARDENS you’re gonna see. Escorted and entertained by our specialist UK

Tour Manager, we’ll spend day after day in some of the sweetest, loveliest corners of England’s “green

and pleasant land” … oohing-&-aahing at gently rolling hills and chequerboard farms, spooky old castles and steepled cathedrals, fairytale villages and tiny boat-filled harbours.

If these gardens don’t whet your appetite, there’s something seriously wrong with you ...

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The Cotswolds ... Undulating gracefully across six counties, this region is a delightful tangle of chocolate-box towns and ancient cobbled lanes, lively markets and gastro pubs, honey-stone cottages and medieval mansions. No wonder these idylliclandscapes are a magnet for visitors just like us!

Blenheim Palace ... This grand stately home (birthplace of Winston Churchill) was built in the 1700s on land given to the Duke of Marlborough by Queen Anne as a thank-you for beating the French in battle. The palace is stuffed with art, statues and

tapestries, and lavish gardens landscaped by Capability Brown.

Buscot House ... This 18th century house (surrounded by a vast parkland, complete with a 20-acre lake) has been redesigned and renovated by successive Lords Faringdon – and today offers tranquil acres to explore plus a world-famous Water Garden, all decorated by a stunning array of ancient and modern art.

Hidcote Manor ... Passionate plantsman, Major Lawrence Johnston, crafted this amazing arts-and-crafts inspired garden. Using the area as a blank canvas, he furnished it with exotic rarities gathered during his global plant-collecting exploits – adding colour, scent and shape for future generations to enjoy.

Kiftsgate Court ... Created by three generations of green-fingered women, these gardens are famed for hundreds of fragrant old-fashioned roses. Kiftsgate has an exuberance that allows plants to spill over wavy borders and romp up trees – and has become one of the most-loved gardens in England.

Bourton House ... Known for its imaginative topiaries and colourful plantings, this relatively new garden is now recognised asone of the finest in the UK – absolutely glorious in both summer and autumn, when the deep herbaceous borders amaze
visitors with their colour and the wide variety of unusual plants.

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Cornwall ... You can't get further west in England than the Wild West Kingdom of Cornwall. This rugged wedge of rock offers impossibly pretty beaches, improbably colourful coves, impressively craggy cliffs, unbelievably lush gardens. Oh, and don’t

forget Cornish pasties, plus apple-cake with clotted cream!

The Lost Gardens of Heligan ... This Sleeping Beauty, buried under the brambles of time since the outbreak of WW1, was re-awakened in 1990 to become Europe’s largest garden restoration project. Today Heligan’s magical Lost Gardens are a dreamy paradise for plant-lovers, adventurers, romantics – and you!

Trebah Gardens ... What? A sub-tropical jungle in the middle of Cornwall? Yep, that’s right – planted in 1840, and covering 26 acres: canopies bursting with exotic blooms … giant rhododendrons and jungle ferns lining the sides of a steep ravine … and

tunnels of colour cascading down to a stunning shingle beach.

Leeds Castle ... You’ll never forget your first glimpse of Leeds Castle, rising majestically from the moat. And wait till you hear its riveting story of royal murders and sieges … and its tenants: six medieval queens and King Henry VIII! You might even have time for a proper English morning tea in the castle-gardens …

Sissinghurst ... Once a space to grow veges for farm workers, this was transformed (during the 1930s) into ”one of the finest flower collections in the world.” Don’t miss the carpets of roses and bluebells … the White Garden with its tumbling white

blooms … the bold Cottage Garden with its riot of reds and golds!

Great Dixter ... This high-energy garden has an arts-and-crafts feel, wowing visitors with its meadow flowers and yew topiary, its dazzlingly colourful mixed borders, its natural ponds and waterways. “A very special sanctuary where garden-lovers from

across the world can take a deep breath and just be …”

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Woodstock ... This famous village has a long history stretching back to King Henry I and his royal hunting lodge. Henry II relaxed here with his mistress, the Fair Rosamund. Elizabeth I was imprisoned here by her sister Mary Tudor. And Winston Churchill was born here, at the magnificent Blenheim Palace.

Bampton ... Fans of ‘Downton Abbey’ will feel the vibes in this gorgeous town: the location has featured in every episode! Long before, during the Norman Conquest, a thriving settlement occupied this spot. Morris dancing’s still popular around here – so bring your bells, violins, swords and hankies, and join in!

Broadway ... Dubbed ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds’, Broadway is nestled at the foot of the rolling Cotswold hills, its streets lined with horse-chestnut trees and picturesque stone cottages. There was a settlement here as early as 1900 BC: then came the Romans and the Anglo-Saxons – and the rest is history.

Moreton-in-Marsh ... This pretty market town dates back 1000 years. Beloved for its honey-coloured houses, its oldest building is the 16th century Curfew Tower – fitted with a bell which rang every evening until 1860. Oh, and the room below the tower
was once used as a gaol for drunks and petty criminals.

Bourton-on-the-Water ... Another idyllic Cotswolds village (don’t ya just love these names?) Bourton-on-the-Water is crammed with shops, restaurants, cafes and tea rooms – and is known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, thanks to its five arched bridges which span the sparkling waters of the River Windrush.

Castle Coombe Village ... This tiny, perfectly preserved slice of medieval history is often labelled “the prettiest village in England.” It got its name from a castle built in the 12th century (now demolished) – and is frequently used as a film location.
The 13th century St Andrews church features a faceless-but-still-working clock.

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Port Isaac ... If you’re a fan of the hit television series ‘Doc Martin’ you’re sure to recognise this photogenic Cornish fishing village – with its whitewashed old cottages, steep winding streets, busy boat-harbour (one of few havens along the rugged Atlantic coast) and a pier built during the reign of Henry VIII.

Padstow ... A seaside resort on the beautiful Carmel Estuary, 450 kms from London. This ancient port has seen its popularity boosted by celebrity chef, Rick Stein, who owns four different eateries here – including his waterfront Seafood Restaurant,
promising fish and shellfish that’s fresher than fresh!


St Ives ... This stunning boat-harbour with its picture-perfect waterfront has been dubbed “the diamond in Cornwall’s crown” – with its maze of narrow bumpy streets, its renowned art scene, its Museum & Sculpture Garden, its popular coastal walks, and its quartet of golden surf beaches.

Lyme Regis ... Nestled on the Jurassic Coast of West Dorset, this pretty coastal town is a perfect escape from the rush of modern life. ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ was filmed here. It’s also the birthplace of dinosaur-hunter, Mary Anning, who
discovered prehistoric skeletons embedded in the ancient cliffs.

Lyndhurst ... William the Conqueror established a royal hunting ground here in 1079. Kings and queens came visiting. And little Alice Liddell – who inspired Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ – is buried in a church graveyard. There’s heaps
to do in town – and the vast New Forest to explore.

Petworth ... The paved streets of this beautiful market town are crammed with historical nooks-&-crannies and countless art-&-antique shops. It’s also home to the very grand 17th century Petworth House (plus its fabulous art collection), all set in a
stunning 700-acre park with a magnificent herd of fallow deer.

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The Bear Hotel – Woodstock ...
Previously a 13th century coaching inn (with a glove-making factory on the side), the Bear sits serenely at the centre of the charismatic market town of Woodstock. The hotel’s a hidden em, with exposed oak beams, four-poster beds, elegant antique furniture, secret passageways ... and resident ghosts! Whether it’s an indulgent afternoon tea served in the Churchill Lounge, a superb dinner in the on-site restaurant, or a well-deserved nightcap in the cosy bar – we’ll be we'll looked after.

(Note: we’re here for 2 nights ...)

The Lygon Arms – Broadway

The 650-year-old Lygon Arms rests tranquilly behind an entrance draped with wisteria. And if it’s history you’re after, this atmospheric hotel is steeped in the stuff.

It has hosted many distinguished guests down through the centuries, and boasts one of the most glamorous visitors’ books in the world … from Oliver Cromwell (who stayed on the eve of the Battle of Worcester) nd Charles I (with a suite named after him) to Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor (during their affair in 1963).

(Note: we’re here for 2 nights ...)

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The Francis Hotel – Bath

Spread over seven interconnecting Georgian townhouses, the Francis occupies an entire side of Bath’s Queen Square, one of the prettiest garden-squares in this famous city. A hotel has existed n this site since 1858 when Solomon Francis set up a boarding house in one of the townhouses. Much of the building was badly damaged by German bombs, though you wouldn't know it from the subsequent restoration. Oh, and guess what? The Beatles stayed here in 1963!


(Note: we’re here for 2 nights ...) 


The Harbour Hotel – Padstow

Perched overlooking the Camel Estuary as it rushes down to the Atlantic, the Harbour at first glance appears to be an imposing gothic edifice. However looks can be deceiving. This superb boutique hotel stands guard over the ever- popular fishing village of Padstow, and has been thoughtfully revamped into a charming bolthole – just steps away from the quayside, a string of seafood establishments made famous by celebrity chef, Rick tein, and a clutch of stunning beaches.

(Note: we’re here for 4 nights ...)

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The Crown Manor House Hotel – Lyndhurst

This place oozes with history, and has occupied it's commanding position at the top of Lyndhurst High Street (albeit n different forms) since the 15th century. Located in the heart of what is now the New Forest, this handsome half-timber Manor House boasts large ground-floor bay windows, added in the Victorian era. And don’t be surprised to see antique wooden bed frames, feature wallpaper, vintage telephones, botanical prints … and an archaic gated lift, rumoured to be the oldest in Europe.

(Note: we’re here for 2 nights ...)


Ashdown Park Hotel – Sussex

This sprawling neo-Gothic country mansion is surrounded by the Ashdown Forest, which according to the famous children’s author, A A Milne, is the woodland that inspired his Winnie The Pooh stories. First built in 1820, this impressive edifice has served time as a school for local kids (free lunches thrown in) … a hospital for wounded Belgian soldiers … a convent of Notre Dame … an international university … a rather less romantic training centre for bank managers … and now a luxury hotel.

(Note: we’re here for 3 nights ...)

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