After so many beautiful gardens had to shut their gates to visitors during successive lockdowns, horticulture-lovers are finally spoilt for choice this summer - there's a brand new RHS garden in Salford, RHS Bridgewater, and The Queen has also opened up the Buckingham Palace garden for picnics for the first time.
Keen flower and foliage fans will know, however, that the UK's most popular gardens can sometimes get that little bit too busy. But fear not! We've rounded up some of the most beautiful (but lesser-known) 'secret' gardens in the UK...so get ready to explore some magical new places.
Eltham Palace Garden, London
It's a surreal pleasure to happen across Eltham Palace, a Tudor manor house with Art Deco interiors, in the depths of South-East London.
Its 19 acres of gardens feature lovely herbaceous borders and a pretty rock garden, with a series of pools and cascades running down to the moat. You can even walk across London's oldest working bridge.
Gilbert White's House and Garden, Hampshire
Explore the gorgeous restored gardens of 18th-century naturalist Gilbert White, a nature-obsessed clergyman who grew his garden from a small plot into a large landscape garden. Spot quirky original features including a 'Haha', sundial and a fruit wall.
Wyndcliffe Court, Monmouthshire
The 1922 garden of this Welsh Arts and Crafts house features an array of glamorous, Italianate features such as a sunken garden, fountains, a lily pond, a dolphin fountain and a bowling wall. Contemporary sculptures are also dotted around throughout.
The Plantation Garden, Norwich
Tucked away just next to a busy road, Norwich's Plantation Garden is a lovingly-restored Victorian garden originally built in an abandoned chalk quarry. It's small but packed with quirky features such as a gothic fountain, Italianate terrace, a faux-'Medieval’ terrace wall, woodland walkways, a greenhouse and palm trees.
Johnstone Gardens, Aberdeen
This beautiful landscaped garden in Aberdeen, has it all - trickling streams, pretty ponds, tumbling waterfalls and an eminently Instagram-friendly bridge. If you visit in spring of summer you'll be treated to a brightly coloured mixture of rhododendrons, heathers and alpine blossom.
Dorothy Clive Garden, Shropshire
This beautiful garden was originally created by Colonel Harry Clive in the 1940s for his wife Dorothy, who was battling with Parkinson’s disease. After she sadly died in 1942, Colonel Clive continued to work on the gardens for the next few decades. It's now a truly special spot, with elements including a winter garden, a woodland quarry with a waterfall, an alpine scree and pool, a rose walk and wonderful seasonal borders.
The Gardens at Downhill Demesne, Northern Ireland
These wild, cliff-top gardens, set amongst the ruins of Northern Ireland's Downhill House, are a truly atmospheric place, boasting incredible views across the North Coast. The walled garden is now inhabited by sheep and apple trees, while there's also a bog garden featuring a colourful array of bright flowers.
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