Flora Garden Tours

Tours of Gardens in England 2017

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 2017

A six day tour, Tuesday 2nd to Sunday 7th May 2017

Newby Hall gardens This tour begins and ends 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 the late Sibyl 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. Read more

Cotswold Garden Tour 2017

A five day tour, Wednesday 17th to Sunday 21st May 2017

(Malvern Spring Festival runs Thursday 11 – Sunday 14 May 2017)

(Chelsea Flower Show runs Tuesday 23 – Saturday 27 May 2017)

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 2017

A five day tour, Sunday 4th to Thursday 8th June 2017

(Chatsworth Flower Show runs Wednesday 7 – Sunday 11 June 2017)


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

Roses in the Southern Counties Garden Tour 2017

A five day tour, Thursday 22nd to Monday 26th June 2017

The end of June is peak rose time as we tour through the counties of Kent, Sussex and Surrey with an incursion into Hertfordshire. We visit well-known and smaller private gardens, all brimming over with roses. The tour starts from a base at Royal Tunbridge Wells and ends at Heathrow Airport from which regular trains run to London. Our base is the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells where we stay at the Russell Hotel 80 London Road, TN1 1DZ tel. 01892 544833 close to “The Pantiles”, a pillared pedestrian precinct by the Chalybeate spring, paved in 1700. It was very popular in Georgian times when Richard “Beau” Nash organised the seasonal entertainments. Gardens of the Rose, Hertfordshire

The price of this tour is £1150. This covers B&B for four nights in double or twin bedded rooms but not evening meal; all transport; garden entrance and personal guiding through out.

Three consecutive days [2 nights] may be selected from this tour for approximately half the price of the full tour. Read more

Hampton Court Flower Show, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex Garden Tour 2017

A six day tour, Tuesday 4th to Sunday 9th July 2017

(Hampton Court Palace Flower Show runs Tuesday 4 – Sunday 9 July 2017)

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 2017

A six day tour, Friday 22nd to Wednesday 27th September 2017

(Malvern Autumn Show runs Saturday 23 – Sunday 24 September 2017)

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 £26 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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