Flora Garden Tours

Tours of Gardens in England 2015−2016

Flora Garden Tours guide you to the finest gardens in Britain. As well as the famous English stately homes and gardens the tours visit lesser known but lovely ones, some rarely open to the public. The tour director and leader is Dr Barbara Sommerville, a biologist of international repute who has a deep interest in the history of gardening, landscape and architecture.

English garden tour including the Hampton Court Flower Show.Lily pond and house, Wisley

Upcoming tours

Cornwall and Devon Garden Tour 2016

A four and a half day tour Friday 1st to Tuesday 5th April 2016

cornwall and devon garden tour 2016 - lanhydrockLanhydrock, Cornwall

This is an excellent time to have a garden holiday in Cornwall because Spring arrives early in this, the mildest part of England. The bulbs and alpines will be ablaze and there will be Camelias, Magnolias, Rhododendrons and fruit trees blossoming. The typical Cornish garden has tree ferns, palms and many species of Magnolia, some 50 feet high covering the sides of steep valleys running down to a river estuary.

We shall be based atThe Mannings Hotel in Truro.

Three consecutive days [2 nights] may be selected from this tour for approximately half the price of the full tour. Read more

Cotswold Garden Tour 2016

A five day tour Wednesday 18th to Sunday 22nd May 2016

(Chelsea Flower Show runs Tuesday 24 – Saturday 28 May 2016)

cotswold english gardens tour 2016 including upton house gardenUpton House Garden

The Cotswold Hills, lying between Birmingham to the North and Oxford to the South, are renowned for their picturesque honey coloured stone-built villages. Here we visit some world-class English gardens commemorated in the names of famous flower and fruit cultivars such as Blenheim Palace, Hidcote Manor and Kiftsgate Court. There are also the homes of famous gardeners like Beatrix Havergal at Waterperry, who ran one of the first horticultural colleges for women, and Prince Charles at Highgrove.

The tour is based at Chester House Hotel, Bourton-on-the-Water.

Three consecutive days [2 nights] may be selected from this tour for approximately half the price of the full tour. Read more

Wiltshire and Somerset Garden Tour 2016

A five day tour Sunday 5th to Thursday 9th June 2016


This guided garden tour starts and finishes in Bath and stays at The Cross in a quaint old village near Wells. Bath is easily accessible by fast trains from London Paddington to Bath Spa station.

The tour will begin with coffee in the elegant Georgian Spa pump room followed by a visit to the Royal Crescent and gardens in Somerset open on Sunday afternoons for the National Garden Scheme [NGS]. Read more

Roses in the Southern Counties Garden Tour 2016

A five day tour Wednesday 22nd to Sunday 26th June 2016

(London Rose Show runs Saturday 18 – Sunday 19 June 2016)

The end of June is peak rose time as we tour through the counties of Kent, Sussex and Surrey with an incursion into Hertfordshire. We visit well-known and smaller private gardens, all brimming over with roses. The tour starts from a base at Royal Tunbridge Wells and ends at Heathrow Airport from which regular trains run to London. Our base is the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells where we stay at the Russell Hotel 80 London Road, TN1 1DZ tel. 01892 544833 close to “The Pantiles”, a pillared pedestrian precinct by the Chalybeate spring, paved in 1700. It was very popular in Georgian times when Richard “Beau” Nash organised the seasonal entertainments. Gardens of the Rose, Hertfordshire

The price of this tour is £1150. This covers B&B for four nights in double or twin bedded rooms but not evening meal; all transport; garden entrance and personal guiding through out.

Three consecutive days [2 nights] may be selected from this tour for approximately half the price of the full tour. Read more

Hampton Court Flower Show, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex Garden Tour 2016

A six day tour Tuesday 5th to Sunday 10th July 2016

(Hampton Court Palace Flower Show runs Tuesday 5 – Sunday 10 July 2016)

English garden tour including the Hampton Court Flower Show.Hampton Court Flower Show

Between London and the South coast are the chalk hills of the North and the South Downs and in between these two ranges is the fertile clay of the ‘Weald’, where some of the most romantic gardens in England, even the world have been created. Several have graced the homes of famous people like Vita Sackville-West’s Sissinghurst, Anne Boleyn’s Hever Castle and Churchill’s Chartwell. Others, such as Nymans and Great Dixter, are the creation of famous gardeners. We also visit the award winning garden at Pashley Manor. This tour visits a selection of these and many other great and small gardens: the most romantic Scotney Castle, Polesden Lacy―an artist’s garden set in ravishing scenery; and, of course, Wisley, the home of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Three consecutive days [2 nights] may be selected from this tour for approximately half the price of the full tour. Read more

Cambridge and Norfolk Garden Tour 2016

A six day tour Friday 16th to Wednesday 21st September 2016

(Malvern Autumn Show runs Saturday 24 – Sunday 25 September 2016)

The Pepys Library on the Cambridge and Norfolk garden tour.The Pepys Library, Cambridge (photo Cindy McGregor)

This tour is based at The Arundel House Hotel, Chesterton Road, Cambridge for the first three days allowing us to explore the stately homes, College gardens and buildings in and close to the city. For the next three days we stay at the Bedingfeld Arms in the Norfolk village of Oxborough and visit some excellent gardens there. Read more

Other tours will be run in response to a group of at least four people applying and will take place at times to suit this group. There will be space for others to join a tour once it is guaranteed to run.

The itinerary of each tour may be adjusted to suit the initial group.


Flora tours stay in small hotels and guest houses which we have used before or checked out carefully. They are reasonably close to the tour gardens to reduce the time spent travelling. Usually a tour will be based in just one place because people seem to prefer this. Although not a high star rating our hotels are clean, comfortable and above all friendly, which fits the Flora ambience. This aspect also helps Flora offer very competitive tour prices.

Usually there are a variety of eating places close by or, if this is not the case, the hotel provides an evening meal as part of the tour package.

The prices quoted are for two people sharing a double or twin bedded room.

Single occupants will have to pay a supplement of about £30 per night but the rate varies from place to place.


Flora’s regular tours are driven by our tried and tested chauffeurs usually in an 8 seater vehicle or a minibus, where necessary. These people are now old friends and very loyal. Some of them are keen gardeners and often join the garden tour.

We experienced the gardens and houses of the Cotswolds at all levels: the grand, the intimate and the fun’s fancy. This was all made possible by Barbara’s flexibility and wonderful connections with the locals from drivers to land owners.

A.L. from Cambridge Massachusetts USA on the Cotswold tour

Special Tours

In addition to the scheduled tours mentioned above Flora Garden Tours offers two special services:

  1. Any of the scheduled tours may be run on other dates for groups of four or more people;

  2. Tours to other British gardens, or tours centred on special interest themes can be arranged on a tailor-made basis. Such tours can incorporate castles and stately homes, as well as gardens: see, for example, Yorkshire and Northumberland.

    Special interest themes include Garden Shows Garden Design and Garden History, Tours for Gardeners, Flower Arrangers and Artists, Mediaeval Architecture and English History and Prehistoric and Archaeological sites.

Please make your requests: Flora Garden Tours will be happy to oblige.

Your guidance was inspirational! Gardens, gardens, gardens is your motto. I loved the small cottage gardens and have wonderful visual memories!

― D.C. from Alaska USA on a special tour of Yorkshire and Cumbria


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