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Fascinating gardens


The UK boasts a wealth of gorgeous gardens and luckily for you, most of them are near to some pretty great campsites. Whatever the season, you'll find a blooming lovely garden that will no doubt inspire your own.

If you've wanted to get out and start exploring this green and pleasant land, then now is the time...

Aberglasney Gardens, Carmarthenshire
Aberglasney Gardens, Carmarthenshire

In 1999 the BBC screened a four-part series called Aberglasney: A Garden Lost in Time, showing the painstaking restoration of the gardens at this historic mansion near Llandeilo, just east of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Aberglasney has an Elizabethan parterre, surrounded by 10 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, grounds and woodland walks. Highlights include the aviary, the Pool Garden, the North Lawn and Yew Tunnel, Bishop Rudd’s Walk, and the Stream Garden. There’s an Alpinum, planted with dwarf species, a kitchen garden full of tempting fresh produce, the Ninfarium (glass atrium) filled with subtropical and exotic plants, and the Cloister Garden that resembles the courtyard of a medieval abbey. Finally, the Asiatic Garden has plants from China, Japan, Tibet and Nepal.
W aberglasney.org

Where to stay
Abermarlais Caravan Park
Llangadog, Carmarthenshire, South Wales
SA19 9NG
T 01550 777868
W abermarlaiscaravanpark.co.uk
OPEN 1 March to 31 October
PRICE £18 Pitch next to the river in this tranquil site in the Brecon Beacons. There’s a bus stop outside the site so if you want to leave your car on pitch, you can.

Bodnant Garden, Conwy
Bodnant Garden, Conwy

Bodnant Garden was created around a valley stream, with follies and a grand house at its centre. It was the vision of businessman and politician, Henry Pochin, who in 1784 filled the garden with plants from around the world. Highlights today include the beautiful laburnam tunnel, floral terraces, water gardens, wildflower meadows, and gorgeous glades, all set in a landscape of mature trees. There’s a riverside walk to enjoy, potter through the formal gardens, look for wildlife in the ponds and admire the old pin mill, brought to the gardens, brick by brick, from Gloucestershire in 1938. There’s always more to see at Bodnant, with 20 new acres opened to the public since 2012. If you haven’t been for a while, it’s worth going back!
W nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden

Where to stay
Bodnant Caravan Park
Nebo Road, Llanrwst, Conwy LL26 0SD
T 01492 640248 
W bodnant-caravan-park.co.uk
OPEN 1 March to 31 October
PRICE £23 

This site has toilet blocks with free hot water and showers, disabled facilities, a dishwashing area, chemical disposal point, recycling, 
a small playing field, and a dog-walking area.

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Scottish Borders
Dawyck Botanic Garden, Scottish Borders 

Dawyck has seasonal displays of colour with exotic plants alongside native flora, creating breathtaking scenery all year round. Visitor numbers spike during the Easter holidays when the spring daffodils are in bloom. Later in the spring wild flowers create carpets of colour, while cherry and crab apple trees are full of blossom. Many of the flowering shrubs look their best in the summertime. Perennials are planted on the banks of the stream, alongside bold foliage, ferns and woody plants. There are grasslands, the Rhododendron Walk, stunning displays of the Himalayan blue poppy, and majestic conifers.
As summer turns to autumn, golden colours burst to life, with autumn fruits, conkers and fantastic fungi. 
The Dawyck Visitor Centre has a café, exhibition area, and shop with botanical gifts and books.
W rbge.org.uk/the-gardens/dawyck

Where to stay
Rosetta Holiday Park
Rosetta Road, Peebles, Peeblesshire EH45 8PG
T 01721 720770
W rosettaholidaypark.com
OPEN 1 April to 31 October

Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey
Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey

Over a thousand different plants can be found at Winkworth Arboretum, including rare and unusual species. The autumn colours are fabulous and there are guided walks and talks. On the self-guided routes, you can choose between the ‘Access for all’ walk, the ‘Taste of Winkworth’ trail, and the ‘Challenging’ walk. Look out for the Dr Fox Memorial, dedicated to the Arboretum’s founder. There are carved animal sculptures and a pretty boat house, with glorious views across the lake. Take your camera. The Bowl, abundant with wild flowers, geese, and unusual foliage, was created by the Ministry of Supply, which ordered
Dr Fox’s larch plantation to be felled, in 1941, to provide timber for pit props that were used in war. The area then became a viewing point for spectacular autumn colours.
W nationaltrust.org.uk/winkworth-arboretum 

Where to stay
Horsley Camping & Caravanning Club Site
Ockham Road North, East Horsley, Surrey KT24 6PE
T 01483 283273
W campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
OPEN 29 March to 5 November
PRICE £25.70 members (non-members pay up to 30% more)

This campsite, with a fishing lake and modern washrooms, is great for country walking in the nearby Surrey hills. There’s a new children’s play area, dog walk and a recreation room. This holiday park has its own bar and restaurant, a new playground, a communal TV room, a games room, and a full range of modern amenities.

Wakehurst Place and the Millennium Seedbank, West Sussex
Wakehurst Place and the Millennium Seedbank, West Sussex

Walk through Wakehurst Gardens, into a vast natural landscape, with a pretty stream, a lake, and wooded areas, full of glorious mature trees, unusual plants, and rare species. Take long walks around the garden, immersing yourself in the fantastic foliage, wildlife, and natural environment. There are formal and ornamental gardens, too. Join guided tours to learn about plants of seasonal interest and the wider estate. Wakehurst is linked to Kew Gardens and it’s particularly special because it’s home to the Millennium Seed Bank - the largest seed bank for wild plants in the world. You can go inside, read about the plants, watch the Seed Bank scientists, and see a film about the work of Kew Science. It’s just the thing to inspire budding young botanists!
W kew.org/wakehurst

Where to stay
Long Acres caravan & Camping park
Newchapel Road, Lingfield, Surrey RH7 6LE
T 01342 833205
W longacrescamping.co.uk
OPEN All year

This family-owned site, 10 miles from Wakehurst Place, has three toilet/shower blocks, a laundry room, and a choice of grass or hardstanding pitches.

National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire
National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire

The Great Glasshouse at the National Botanic Garden of Wales is the biggest single-span glasshouse in the world. It houses a huge collection of Mediterranean plants. The outdoor gardens are fascinating and beautiful, too, with a Japanese Garden, created as a miniature world, with mountains, woodland, and vast lakes. The walled garden tells the story of flowering plants and how they’ve evolved. There’s a tropical butterfly house, home to many beautiful butterflies from around the world. The Stable Block has a restaurant, shop, and art gallery. The Apothecary’s Garden explores the human body, looking at reproduction, digestion, circulation and respiration, in relation to ancient medicine. There’s also the Edwardian Pharmacy and Apothecary’s Hall; perhaps you’ll pick up a few herbal remedies to try in the caravan! 
W botanicgarden.wales

Where to stay
Towy Valley Caravan Park
Halfway Inn, Nantgaredig, Carmarthen
Carmarthenshire SA32 7NL
T 01558 668337
W towyvalleycaravanpark.co.uk
OPEN March to December

This family run, adults-only campsite is next to the Halfway Inn, which serves good food. The site has modern shower and toilet facilities. Hardstanding and grass pitches are available.

Roof Garden, New Lanark Visitor Centre, South Lanarkshire
Roof Garden, New Lanark Visitor Centre, South Lanarkshire

There’s a new attraction at Lanark Visitor Centre – a stunning new roof garden. At 9000 square feet, it’s the largest roof garden in Scotland and makes this visitor centre an attraction in its own right! Located on top of a former mill, the garden is open to visitors all year round. Soak up panoramic views of the landscape and the historic village of Lanark. The roof garden has been carefully planted with over 70 decorative shrubs. There’s a water feature, animal sculptures, and it’s visited by butterflies, birds and insects. Last year, a mallard hatched 10 ducklings on the roof. They’d been nesting quietly in the tall grasses, sheltered from predators and traffic!
W newlanark.org/visitorcentre/roofgarden

Where to stay
Mount View Caravan Park
Abington, South Lanarkshire ML12 6RW
T 01864 502808
W mountviewcaravanpark.co.uk
OPEN 15 March to 31 October 
PRICE £20 

Mount View Caravan Park is five minutes from Abington on foot and offers a heated toilet block with showers, along with a laundrette, children’s play area and information room.

Bridge End Garden, Saffron Walden, Essex
Bridge End Garden, Saffron Walden, Essex

Bridge End Garden was created by prominent Quaker, Francis Gibson, in 1840. It sits between two former Gibson family homes in Bridge Street and Castle Street. In the early 20th century the garden was leased to local councils, but in the decades that followed, it became neglected. Between 2003 and 2008 a major restoration programme returned the garden to its former glory, with themed ‘rooms’ linked by pretty pathways, offering surprising views. Highlights include the Hedge Maze, Rose Garden, Dutch Garden, Pavilion, Poets Corner and Jacob’s Well. Visitors can relax in the Wilderness, enjoy the Summerhouse Lawn, or explore the delights of the Walled Garden. There’s a visitor centre, exhibition area, toilets, and entry to the gardens is free.

W saffronwalden.gov.uk/bridge-end-garden

Where to stay
Hamperden End Caravan Site
Staines Farm, Hamperden End, Saffron Walden,
Essex CB11 3NA
T 01279 850309
W hamperdencaravansite.co.uk
OPEN All year

This quiet campsite is surrounded by hedging. Facilities include water and waste, toilets and showers, and a dishwashing area.
The Imperial War Museum at Duxford, fishing, horse riding and golf are a short drive away.

The Eden Project, Cornwall
The Eden Project, Cornwall

The Eden Project is home to the world’s largest indoor rainforest. The tropical biome houses plants and animals from Southeast Asia, West Africa and South America. Lizards crawl among the rubber plants, cocoa pods, banana trees and forest dwellings. Little birds hop around the vegetable plots. There’s a huge waterfall, a canopy walkway and an African totem pole. In the Mediterranean biome are herbs and flowers, impressive vines, olive trees and huge ‘lemons’ called citrons. Outside are fabulous terraced gardens where medicinal crops and trends in farming are explored. Adrenaline junkies can ride on England’s longest zip wire. There’s The Nest climbing frame, a giant bee, and the WEEE Man waste sculpture. The Core is a huge exhibition area, looking at eco-systems and climate change. 
W edenproject.com

Where to stay
Double Trees Farm
Luxulyan Road, St Blazey Gate, 
Par, St Austell PL24 2EH
T 01726 812266
W doubletreesfarm.co.uk
OPEN All year
PRICE From £16

This campsite has 36 pitches, toilets and showers, a laundry room, a dishwashing area, a dog exercise area and free WiFi in Reception. It’s one mile from the Eden Project.

Bourton House Garden, Gloucestershire
Bourton House Garden, Gloucestershire

Fancy a break in the beautiful Cotswolds? Bourton House Garden offers three acres of floral delights, herbaceous borders, planted terraces and beautiful displays of vibrant colour. There’s a knot garden, a parterre and a topiary walk, as well as water features and a raised pond from the Great Exhibition of 1851. Admire the Shade House, the White Garden, and the many rare and exotic plants, which you’ll find all around the gardens. Inside the Tithe Barn are occasional exhibitions and a small café serving delicious fayre between May and September. Fancy a longer walk? There’s a trail around a seven-acre field, planted with specimen trees, and you can request a free guide to the trees when you buy tickets to the garden.
W bourtonhouse.com

Where to stay
Folly Farm Camping 
Folly Farm, Bourton-on-the-Water, Nr Cheltenham, 
Gloucestershire GL54 3BY
T 01451 820285
W cotswoldcamping.net
OPEN April to October
PRICE £24 

This campsite is well located for Bourton-on-the-Water, Moreton-in-Marsh and the delights of Bourton House Garden and Batsford Arboretum (if you fancy another garden). Facilities are basic, but are being upgraded in 2018.



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