This tour is not scheduled to run in 2020, but it may be possible to arrange it for a large enough party.
The Cotswold Hills, lying between Birmingham to the North and Oxford to the South, are renowned for their picturesque honey coloured stone-built villages. Broughton Castle Here are 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 and we shall visit most of these gardens as well as Sezingcote House with a Humphrey Repton designed garden, Bourton House and the spectacular medieval moated Broughton Castle dating from the 12C, home to Lord and Lady Saye and Sele [Fiennes]. An important aim of this tour is to visit some fascinating private gardens which are not normaly open to the public. The Three Ways Hotel is host to the famous “Pudding Club” which meets on Friday evenings there and we shall join them for dinner one night.
The Cost of this tour includes B&B and an evening meal. Included is transport to the gardens, garden entrance fees, and optional evening power point talks.
Flora’s small group tours typically have 5-7 of us in a comfortable 8 seater vehicle. Dr Sommerville plans and guides all tours, enthusiastically describing the plants, scenery and architecture which we encounter.
Three consecutive days [2 nights] may be selected from this tour for approximately half the price of the full tour.
Arrive at The Three Ways House Hotel, Chapel Lane, Mickleton, Chipping Campden GL55 6SB Phone: 01386 438429 in time for the tour-get-together with a free drink at 6.30pm.
This is world famous as Home of The Pudding Club located on the northern edge of the Cotswolds, 90 minutes from London, 10 minutes from Shakespeare's Stratford upon Avon, it's the closest hotel to Hidcote Manor Garden (National Trust) and Kiftsgate Court Garden, both are 5 minutes away by car or a 30 minute walk away.
Come and stay in our privately owned Cotswold hotel and enjoy some great food in the AA Rosette award restaurant, or more informal Randalls Bar-Brasserie, or why not attend a meeting of The Pudding Club during a Pudding Club break?
You'll experience high levels of hospitality, delicious food and comfortable rooms. Best wishes. Jill and Simon Coombe
We leave the hotel at 9.15am to visit Campden House near Chipping Campden belonging to the Hon. and Mrs. Smith. The approach is through a delightful wooded valley in their estate which will be covered with bluebells and around the old Cotwold mansion they have made a varied wild and formal garden.
We then visit Chipping Campden which is a very historic typical Cotswold town with a Market Hall built in 1627. It also has a little garden dedicated to the renowned plant collector Ernest “Chinese” Wilson [1876–1930] who was born in Chipping Camden. You can see some of the plants he introduced growing here. We shall explore on our own and have lunch then meet up at the entrance to the ‘Wilson’ garden at 1.30pm to drive to Broughton Castle, built 1377, which opens at 2pm. We shall have a short introductory talk possibly given by Lord Saye and Sele whose family have lived there since William Fiennes bought it in 1406. The recent generations are literarily talented members of the Fiennes family. We may visit a small private garden on the way home arriving about 5.30pm. There will be time at 6.30 for a short power point presentation* if you wish.
Leaving the hotel at 9am, we shall drive to a small private garden and then on to Boughton House where there is a beautifully restored Tithe Barn and an exquisite garden about one and a half acres in size. We shall have a ploughman's lunch there at 12.30pm. This would be bread, two different cheeses, pickle, salad plus unlimited tea/freshly brewed coffee. The cost would be £10 per person.
At 2.15pm we set off for a short drive to Sezingcote House [open 2.30] to see a delightful Humphrey Repton designed garden. We can look round the house built in 1810 in the Indian style by a son of the East India Trading Co. founder and it inspired an early visitor, the Prince Regent and future George IV, to change his original Chinese design for the Royal Brighton Pavilion built in 1815 to "Indian". We return to the Mickleton about 5.30pm and could have a power point presentation* at 6.30pm.
We leave the hotel at 9am to drive south, visiting a small private garden to reach Highgrove Gardens belonging to Prince Charles for 11am. Our scheduled garden tour conducted by one of Highgrove volunteers is at 11.15am so we shall have time to go through security [we must all be carrying photo ID]. After the tour there will be a short time to look in the Duchy shop. This is an unique garden giving pride of place to wild flowers and green issues such as the willow sapling area which cleans all the waste water from the house. It is also a delightfully quirky garden adorned by many old artifacts which the prince has collected as he has toured the world and gifts he has received. The garden has old native features too such as the horse drawn coach washing pond by the stables.
After we leave Highgrove we visit another unusual house and garden, Brockworth Court, belonging to Tim and Bridget Wiltshire, where we have a light lunch. This is a wonderful timbered early 1400 Priory house with superb carved barge board and a large 1200AD cruck framed tithe barn. The garden is on two sides designed to match the different building periods for instance the clipped box knot is in front of the Tudor part. We shall have a tour of house and garden.
This evening we have dinner with the famous Pudding Club who meet in our hotel -all part of the tour. There will be a light main course followed by nine different puddings- all of which should be sampled!
Set off at 9.30am to Hidcote Manor garden which is in the compartmentalised style and inspired Vita Sackville-West as she planned Sissinghurst. Hidcote was laid out by Major Lawrence Johnson in the early 1900s and has been described as a rather "masculine" garden. We then walk a very short distance to Kiftsgate Court where we shall lunch at 12.30pm. It is the home of the original Kiftsgate Rose. Although helped and advised by Major Johnson next door at Hidcote Manor, Heather Muir and her daughter, Dainy Binny and now grand daughter Anne Chambers, preside over a rather more informally "feminine" garden. It boasts a new impressive sculpturesque water garden which defies gender and a spectacular near vertical cliff face garden.
We may visit a small private garden on the way home We shall return by 5.30pm.
At 9.30am we set off from the Hotel to Stratford on Avon and join the 10.30am service in Holy Trinity church. This church has records of Shakespeare's birth and his tomb. We shall then visit Anne Hatherways Cottage which has a sweet little garden and have lunch at a country pub. After lunch we shall be shown round Glenis and Eric’s garden, Elm Close, and continue to either Upton Wold or Upton House and gardens belonging to the National Trust. The tour will end at Mickleton about 5.30pm.
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