Cotswold Garden Route
Visits to gardens are often associated with summertime, but here in the Cotswolds, gardens bloom and burst with colour throughout the year. There is something for every season here – winter is often overlooked when it comes to gardens, but we have some of the best snowdrops in the country as well as the best autumn colour displays too.
Use the map below to help plan your visit to wonderful Cotswold gardens, and read below to guide you on a seasonal tour, taking you through the seasons of our Cotswold gardens, so that you can create your own Cotswold Garden Route. Stay for a little longer and visit some fascinating places from hidden gems to the better known gardens such as Highgrove or Hidcote. You can download a copy of the Cotswold Garden Route Leaflet by clicking here.
The Cotswold year begins with the first flush of snowdrops – make sure you take a look at our spring guide below to see the best snowdrop locations. As the days begin to warm and daffodils make a welcome appearance, gardens all over the Cotswolds start bursting into life.
Historic woodland such as Woodchester Park, and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Nature Reserve offer lovely walks for bluebell spotting while the arboreta at Batsford and Westonbirt become awash with blossom.
In late spring and summer, the herbaceous borders at Hidcote Manor, Snowshill Manor and Bourton House Garden will delight. Kiftsgate Court and Sudeley Castle’s Queen’s Garden- named after the four English Queens that walked within – become beautifully fragrant with roses.
As summer turns to autumn and the trees take on a golden hue, dramatic colours can be seen throughout the ancient beech woodlands of the Cotswolds. Be sure not to miss the spectacular leaf displays at Batsford and Westonbirt.
2016 is the year of the English garden and there are plenty of celebrations taking place to mark the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown. What better way to celebrate the English garden than in the beautiful Cotswolds.
Signs of Spring
Snowdrops in the Cotswolds are simply spectacular and with the long winters passing it is such a relief to see the first signs of life in those little white drops falling from the beautiful green leaves. The Cotswolds has some of the best snowdrop displays in the country and from as early as January these little flowers bring hope for the new-year.
The best places to see these wonderful displays are Newark Park and Painswick Rococo Gardens.
Let’s not forget other beautiful spring flowers – the magnolias look simply stunning usually from March onwards and our two Cotswold arboreta at Batsford and Westonbirt show fantastic displays. There are also lovely spring flower banks and a gorgeous bluebell wood at Kiftsgate. Many Cotswold woodlands have carpets of gorgeous bluebells to seek out.
The summer in the Cotswolds is simply stunning and the displays of summer colours are quite spectacular. All of our gardens have something lovely to offer in the summer months but there are some which really shine through. Here are some great ideas for a summer garden visit.
Hidcote Manor was created by the talented American horticulturalist Major Lawrence Johnstone. Its colourful and intricately designed outdoor rooms are always full of surprises. Snowshill Manor also has a lovely series of garden rooms – we love the fact that the Cotswolds takes its gardens as seriously as the home.
Sudeley Castle has one of the most spectacular displays of summer roses you will ever see. Berkeley Castle too specialises in scent and the roses are a particular delight in June.
The organic Royal gardens at Highgrove have been over 30 years in the making and are some of the most creatively inspiring and innovative gardens in the UK. The display of delphiniums is a must see during the summer months but must be booked in advance.
Bourton House Garden is an award-winning three acre garden with luxuriant terraces and wide herbaceous borders with stunning plant, texture and colour combinations.
Snowshill Lavender is one to visit in June when the lavender flowers are in bloom. With over 70 miles and 35 different varieties of lavender to see it’s worth a visit to see the spectacularly colourful fields reminiscent of the Dutch bulb fields – well almost!
The Cotswolds comes alive once again during the season of autumn colours. Our two arboreta at Batsford and Westonbirt have a display of reds, oranges and yellows which are rivalled by no other.
Batsford is home to the country’s largest private collection of trees and shrubs. Wander through the unique collection which is inspired by plantsmen of old. Westonbirt’s autumn happens with a bang with one of the best natural fireworks displays in Britain! Their famous Japanese maples in particular are ablaze in reds, oranges and yellows.
Year Round Gardens
And then there are the gardens which look amazing all year round! We have quite a selection here in the Cotswolds which means that you can visit off season too.
Blenheim Palace is a World Heritage Site surrounded by over 2,000 acres of beautiful 'Capability' Brown parkland with lakes, fountains and formal gardens providing a wealth of interest throughout the year.
For one of the country's most important gardens, Rousham is relatively little known - completely un-commercialised with no shop or tea rooms. Dating to the first phase of English landscape design, this is one of the few 18th century gardens to have escaped major alteration.
Kiftsgate garden is the wonderful creation of three generations of women gardeners and looks stunning at any time of the year.
Again, the arboreta look great at any time of the year - they are well known for their autumn displays but the spring magnolias, evergreen colours in many of the trees make them year round places to visit. Nearer to Christmas Westonbirt becomes an enchanted magical place with an illuminated trail or you can sample Batsford on Boxing day with a mulled wine experience. Kids (and big kids) can experience breath taking views from the new walkway in the trees at Westonbirt from April 2016.
The Cotswolds does quirky really well and we have some fantastic garden hidden gems for you to visit. Here are just a few.
Sezincote is unique – a 200 year old Mogul Indian palace, set in a romantic landscape of temples, grottoes, waterfalls and canals reminiscent of the Taj Mahal.
Dr Jenners’ tranquil garden was the refuge of Edward Jenner, pioneer of vaccination with lots of unusual and medicinal plants.
Stanway House has a water garden which is one of the finest in England and a 300ft single jet fountain – the highest in Britain and the highest gravity fountain in the world.
Herbs for Healing at Barnsley House was created using plants with healing properties – a small but very relaxing space to sit and ponder.
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Planning on visiting the amazing Cotswolds Wildlife Park & Gardens?...If so, click here to get the latest information direct from the official Cotswolds tourism site!
Moreton In Marsh
Beautiful Batsford – a wild garden for all seasons. 56 acres of breathtaking woodland garden, Batsford is a world of trees and so much more. Visit our award-winning visitor centre Gift & Garden Shop, Plant Centre & Garden Terrace Café.
PricePrices £3.50 to £19.95 Per Ticket
One of England's greatest gardens, famous for its rare trees and shrubs, outstanding herbaceous borders and unusual plants from all over the world.
PricePrices £6.50 to £32.50 Per Ticket
Moreton In Marsh
Chastleton is a hidden gem located in the beautiful Cotswold countryside. With both a Jacobean house to explore and beautiful gardens, there is much to discover during an afternoon visit.
PricePrices £2.50 to £27.00 Per Ticket
Winchcombe, Near Cheltenham
Planning on visiting the amazing Sudeley Castle?...If so, click here to get the latest information direct from the official Cotswolds tourism site!
Bourton on the Hill
Award-winning three acre garden with imaginative topiary, magnificent herbaceous borders with many rare, unusual and exotic plants, spring-fed water features and unique Shade House.
One of England's most important gardens, Rousham represents the first phase of English landscape design and remains almost as its designer William Kent (1685–1748) left it. Many of the features that delighted its 18th century visitors are still...
PricePrices £6.00 Per Ticket
Lodge Park is part of the Sherborne Estate, an ornate building dating from 1635 overlooking the deer course and surrounding countryside.
The Bird and Deer Park is situated in a beautiful Cotswold valley offering wonderful views,
Explore the treasures collected by one man with an eye for the unusual. Be intrigued by the story of Charles Wade, be amazed by his huge and varied collection from around the world and relax in the peaceful hillside garden.
PricePrices £3.20 to £30.50 Per Ticket
Ancient deer park, 17th-century house and garden
PricePrices £6.60 to £32.80 Per person per day
Kingsway Farm, Aston
A multi-award winning pottery, gift shop, café and gardens in the quiet Cotswold village of Aston, Oxfordshire. With something for everyone, we are a fabulous place to spend an afternoon.
Perched on the edge of the Cotswolds with wonderful views to the west, the gardens at Kiftsgate reflect gardening through the 20th century.
PricePrices £2.50 to £22.00 Per Ticket
The garden at Owlpen is an unusually complete survival of an early formal garden on a manorial scale. It has been described by the landscape architect Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe as possibly the earliest domestic garden in England to survive in something...
PricePrices £5.00 Per person per day
Bourton on the Water
In a natural setting of woodland, river and gardens, Birdland is home to over 500 birds of 130 different species. Open all year. Only group of King Penguins in England.
PricePrices £6.95 to £31.00 Per Ticket
Birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is a World Heritage Site set in more than 2000 acres of landscaped parkland and Formal Gardens boasting over 300 years of history.
PricePrices £7.10 to £59.90 Per Ticket
This unique garden restoration, situated in a hidden valley, dates from a period when 18th century gentle folk were creating flamboyant pleasure grounds in which to entertain their guests.
PricePrices £3.30 to £18.00 Per Ticket
Planning on visiting the amazing Westonbirt Arboretum?...If so, click here to get the latest information direct from the official Cotswolds tourism site!
PricePrices £2.00 Per Ticket
Wotton under Edge
Newark Park stands proud on top of the Cotswold Escarpment, looking down into the Ozleworth Valley to the Mendips beyond. With a house of architectural intrigue, quaint gardens and a sprawling estate and parkland.
PricePrices £4.20 to £21.00 Per Ticket
Late 18th-century house, set in enchanting landscaped grounds, which houses an extensive art collection
PricePrices £3.50 to £10.00 Per person per day