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Celebrity Chat

Chris Beardshaw

Gardening presenter Chris Beardshaw spoke to visitors at the Group Leisure & Travel Show at the NEC in October and recommended a few of his favourite gardens…

In the UK we have more gardens open to the public than anywhere else in the world, with a staggering 2,700 gardens of national importance. We’re spoilt for choice, and here are just a few that are well worth a visit:

  • Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire is owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Surprisingly for such a northerly spot, its plants are well sheltered from the icy blast of the North Sea, and the garden’s home to many tropical plants that actually revel in the soil here. There’s a great walk through the arboretum too.
  • Mount Grace Priory in North Allerton in North Yorkshire is owned by English Heritage and tells the story of the UK’s monastic gardens. There’s a manor house to explore, as well as a true arts and crafts garden that sits on the edge of the moors. It’s fantastic throughout the year.
  • Biddulph Grange near Stoke-on-Trent brings you the entire world in just one garden. It’s home to an Egyptian pyramid, an American arboretum, Japanese water gardens, you name it… I always think it’s like a series of picture postcards.
  • Wollerton Old Hall Garden in Shropshire is a world-class example of an English garden, set around a Tudor house. It comprises of a series of compartmentalised spaces, which are awake from early spring to the first frosts. Started in just 1984, the garden’s a real credit to its owners, Lesley and John Jenkins.
  • Hidcote Manor is a National Trust garden in North Gloucestershire, made up of a series of garden ‘rooms’. It’s one of the UK’s best known arts and crafts gardens, and was the first to be acquired by the National Trust in 1946.
  • Furzey Gardens in Minstead in the New Forest was created in 1922, later fell into disrepair and was rescued in the 1970s. It’s famous for its rhododendrons as well as its fairies (evidence of Furzey’s fairies litter the garden).

Chris was talking at the Group Leisure & Travel Show 2017. This year’s show takes place on Thursday October 11 at Birmingham’s NEC, and its guest speakers include gardening guru Carol Klein. See

Chris Beardshaw

[Credit: GLTS 2017]

I always think it's like a series of picture postcards!

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