Flora Garden Tours

Tours of Gardens in England 2018

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

Spring in the Lake District and Yorkshire Garden Tour 2018

A seven day tour, Tuesday 1st to Monday 7th May 2018

(Harrogate Spring Flower Show runs Thursday 26 – Sunday 29 April 2018)

(Malvern Spring Festival runs Thursday 10 – Sunday 13 May 2018)

(Arrive Monday 30th April)

Newby Hall gardens

This tour begins at The Studley Hotel in Harrogate. In Yorkshire we visit one of the finest of English gardens at Newby Hall near Ripon as well as smaller gardens like the late Sybil Spencer’s renowned Adel garden.

The English Lakes are renowned for their scenery, glorious at all times of year but spectacular in the spring and autumn. Rhododendrons thrive on the rocky outcrops and in the shade of ancient trees. Clematis montana and wisteria festoon the stone cottages.

Alternatively, you may come for just the first three and a half days for a tour of Yorkshire Gardens (£750) or join us on the last four days for a tour of Lake District gardens (£800). Read more

Cotswold Garden Tour 2018

A five day tour, Wednesday 16th to Sunday 20th May 2018

(Malvern Spring Festival runs Thursday 10 – Sunday 13 May 2018)

(Chelsea Flower Show runs Tuesday 22 – Saturday 26 May 2018)

(arriving on Tuesday 15th and leaving either Sunday night or Monday morning)the cotswold english gardens tour 2017Three Ways House Hotel

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 the Three Ways House Hotel in Mickleton near Chipping Campden, the home of “The Pudding Club” and in addition to visiting some of the gardens above, we shall also see private gardens which are not usually open to the public.

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 2018

A five day tour, Sunday 3rd to Thursday 7th June 2018

(Chatsworth Flower Show runs Wednesday 6 – Sunday 10 June 2018)

(arriving Sunday 3rd)Stourhead

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

Hampton Court Flower Show, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex Garden Tour 2018

A six day tour, Tuesday 3rd to Sunday 8th July 2018

(Hampton Court Palace Flower Show runs Monday 2 – Sunday 8 July 2018)

(arriving Mon. 2nd or early Tuesday 3rd)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 2018

A six day tour, Friday 21st to Wednesday 26th September 2018

(Malvern Autumn Show runs Sunday 23 – Monday 24 September 2018)

(arriving late Thursday 20th or early Friday 21st)The Pepys Library on the Cambridge and Norfolk garden tour.The Pepys Library, Cambridge (photo Cindy McGregor)

For the first three days we shall be based at The Arundel House Hoteland visits College gardens, interesting gardens outside Cambridge including the Orchard at Granchester and Wimpole Hall.

For the last three days we shall be based at the Bedingfeld Arms in Oxborough and visit Oxburgh Hall, Goodestone Water Gardens, the Old Vicarage Gardens at East Ruston and other Norfolk gardens. 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 £27 per person per night.


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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