Speaking at this Year’s Group Leisure & Travel Show, celebrity gardener Carol Klein gave her top tips on what she believes are Britain’s best gardens.
Carol Klein is best known for being a presenter on Gardeners’ World, which she first appeared on in 1998, becoming a weekly contributor from 2005. Some of her other career highlights include her series Life In a Cottage Garden and her part in the BBC’s The Great British Garden Revival, as well as the popular Plant Odysseys for BBC Two.
Carol was one of three speakers at this year’s Group Leisure & Travel Show held at the NEC on Thursday 11th October, joining Simon Calder and Gyles Brandreth. She shared her passion for gardens and gardening with visitors during her talk in the Seminar Theatre, with the intention of inspiring group travel organisers to take their members to brilliant gardens up and down the country.
Here are some suggestions with Carol’s seal of approval:
1. Great Dixter House & Gardens
A garden that Carol Klein recommends is Great Dixter House & Gardens in East Sussex. The attraction was the former family home of gardener and writer Christopher Lloyd and focuses on his energy and enthusiasm. Klein said at the GLT Show: “The gardens remains very much in his spirit and are so interesting to see.”
What can groups do? Members can enjoy garden tours which take in plenty. You may visit the Barn Garden, the Wall Garden, the Blue Garden, the Upper Moat and the Cat Garden, to name only a few. You can also arrange a tour of the house.
2. Gravetye Manor
Created by gardener and writer William Robinson, Gravetye Manor in Sussex has now become a hotel, but Carol says it has the most fabulous garden which has been kept with the same traditions in mind as it had in Robinson’s time. “His influence is all over the country in gardens” Carol told the audience in the Seminar Theatre, “A stay at Gravetye Manor very expensive however, but you can do other things.”
What can groups do? Enjoy afternoon tea and visits to the gardens including the vegetable gardens and the wild meadow. In her talk, Carol said: “It’s an absolute delight. Everywhere is walkable, meaning it’s great for any elderly folk and it’s wheelchair friendly too.”
3. Arabella Lennox Boyd Gardens
Visitors to Lancashire should consider heading to the Arabella Lennox Boyd Gardens, part of Gresgarth Hall, home to the designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd. Carol said these gardens were well worth a weekend visit. The gardens are also great all year round featuring all sorts, from cherry blossoms, to autumnal colours, to gorgeous roses. “It’s phenomenal. Some people just like to visit gardens that are so inspirational, and this is one of them,” Carol told the GLT Show crowd.
What can groups do? Meander through the herbaceous borders, woodlands and water gardens, on selected days from February to November. Refreshments can also be arranged for your visit.
More notable garden mentions from Carol at the GLT Show:
• A garden to give GTOs gardening ideas is Ashwood Nurseries, near Wolverhampton. The gardens are open a few times a year, but special visits can be arranged. “It’s a lovely garden right by the canal so it’s very scenic” Carol said.
• “Chatsworth’s gardens are splendid”, Carol told the audience at the NEC. The RHS held its show there this year. It’s a great venue and always has something going on.
When discussing Britain’s best gardens, Carol added: “The list is as long as your arm.”
Next year’s Group Leisure & Travel Show at Milton Keynes
The Group Leisure & Travel Show 2019 will take place at a new venue on Thursday 10th October – Stadium MK in Milton Keynes.
There has already been a “fantastic response” to the announcement of the new venue with almost 40% of stands already booked.
For information about exhibiting at the GLT Show contact Sharon Yandell on 01908 613323 or email email@example.com.
Lead image: Great Dixter House Credit Carol Cassdelden.