Yorkshire & Lake District Gardens in Full Bloom
- July 19 - 27, 2023
- $4,875 USD per person
- Visit the gardens of England’s most scenic region at the height of summer bloom. See the expert details of York Gate. Explore Parcevall Hall, the 2022 Historic Houses Garden of the Year winner. Revel in designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd’s fabulously romantic garden at Gresgarth Hall.
I really enjoyed the tour! We visited a good variety of gardens & I learned so much about the plants & history of each one. The CarexTours team was very helpful & each complemented the other with their skills and knowledge. This tour was good for my soul.
2022 Tour Member
Yorkshire & Lake District Gardens in Full Bloom
July 19 - 27, 2023
Let's go on a wonderful adventure together! We'll explore the gardens of the captivating Yorkshire Dales and Lake District in Northern England for a whole week during mid-summer. Our journey will take us through historic and contemporary gardens that will amaze you. There are so many beautiful places to see, from the romantic ruins of Lowther Castle to the iconic topiary gardens at Levens Hall to Piet Oudolf's masterpiece at Scampston Hall, and let's not forget, the Royal Horticulture Society’s Harlow Carr. As we explore these gardens, we'll learn about the talented people who brought them to life and glimpse the creative processes behind their inspiring planting schemes. So sit back, relax, and get ready to be energized by the vibrant flowers and regional beauty of these magnificent gardens.
July 19, Wednesday – Arrive at Manchester Airport
July 20, Thursday – York Gate, Harlow Carr
July 21, Friday – Newby Hall, Mount St John
July 22, Saturday – Scampston, Jackson’s Wold, Free time
July 23, Sunday – Parcevall Hall, Gresgarth Hall
July 24, Monday – Levens Hall, Lowther Castle
July 25, Tuesday – Lake Windemere Cruise, Hill Top
July 26, Wednesday – Hepworth Wakefield, Sheffield ‘Grey to Green’
July 27, Thursday – Depart or continue travels
CarexTours strives to operate according to our published itinerary. However, adjustments may be necessary if unforeseen circumstances beyond our control occur or opportunities arise that would enhance the itinerary.
Note: CarexTours follows COVID-19 safety updates from the CDC and our destination countries. All tour members must be fully vaccinated with booster shots no less than two weeks before departure & bring with them the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.
Day 1, Wednesday, July 19 -- ARRIVE IN ENGLAND
- Tour members independently arrange travel to Manchester Airport. Once there, go to Clayton Hotel Manchester Airport and check into the room booked for you (included in the tour price).
NOTE: The hotel offers a free 24-hour shuttle bus service from all terminals at the airport. To arrange your shuttle, walk to your terminal’s arrivals hall, look for any courtesy phone, and dial 3090 to request a pick-up. You will be given instructions about where to meet the shuttle.
- We'll gather in the hotel restaurant at 6:30 PM for a Welcome Dinner (included).
Day 2, Thursday, July 20 -- YORKGATE & HARLOW CARR
- We kick off our garden tour with a visit to charming York Gate Garden. In just four decades, with passion and dedication, the Spencer family transformed an acre of land into one of the most renowned small English gardens. Using local materials and traditional crafts, they made beautiful hedged garden rooms with meticulous attention to detail, drawing inspiration from the Arts and Crafts movement popular earlier in the 20th century. Today, the Perennial Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Society owns and manages the garden, which has expanded the original plot to four acres while still keeping the original design and spirit intact. We're off to a lovely start with this appealing garden as our first stop.
- After our morning adventure, we’ll lunch individually (not included) at the cafe at Harlow Carr, our next garden. As one of five public gardens managed by the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society, Harlow Carr is the northern gem showcasing excellence and innovation in horticulture. Nestled in a gentle valley at the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales, it's a destination that any gardening enthusiast simply must visit. The garden was initially set up in 1946 by the Northern Horticultural Society as a trial ground and display garden for northern gardeners, and the RHS acquired it in 2001. The site spans 68 acres and is a beautiful water, stone, and woodland blend. The planted areas retain the original layout's linear structure, and a stream divides them from the tranquil woodland. With an incredible diversity of plants from all over the world, including perennials, shrubs, and trees, Harlow Carr is the perfect place for us to learn about what’s happening in British horticulture today.
- We check into The Queens Hotel in the middle of Leeds for 3 nights & then gather for dinner in the hotel restaurant (included).
Day 3, Friday, July 21 -- NEWBY HALL & MOUNT ST JOHN
- We're off to a great start today with a visit to Newby Hall, the stunning 18th-century country house owned by Mrs. Lucinda Compton. Situated along the peaceful River Ure, this 25-acre garden was primarily made in the early 20th century and boasts an impressive dogwood collection known as the National Collection of Cornus. With picturesque woodland and 14 enchanting themed rooms, this garden is a pleasure to explore. Its most notable feature is the awe-inspiring double herbaceous borders that stretch for an impressive 560 feet. Recently replanted, they offer stunning views toward the house on one end and the river on the other. It's no wonder that Newby Hall has won the prestigious Historic Houses ‘Garden of the Year’ award twice, most recently in 2020, a tribute to its gardens' exceptional quality. You might even recognize the garden from popular TV series and films such as Peaky Blinders, Victoria, and Gentleman Jack. We’ll have lunch here in the garden individually (not included) before moving on to our afternoon destination.
- Our next stop is Mount St John, a contemporary garden that the Blundell family owns. The stunning house sits at the top of a hill, offering a breathtaking 50-mile view of the beautiful Vale of York. The three-acre garden was designed in 2004 by the renowned Tom Stuart-Smith and pays homage to this stunning view. The sloping land beneath the 18th-century house is terraced and features retaining walls, hedges, flights of steps, gravel paths, a modern pool, and thousands of plants. Some are native, and all are planted naturalistically, creating a rich and complex tumble of perennials and ornamental grasses described as big, bold, and operatic. There's also a productive vegetable and fruit garden and a new valley garden with interconnected ponds.
- For the night, we return to The Queens Hotel and dine together in the hotel’s restaurant.
Day 4, Saturday, July 22 -- SCAMPSTON HALL, JACKSON’S WOLD & FREE TIME
- Today's adventure takes us to the Walled Garden at Scampston Hall. Sir Charles and Lady Legard, the passionate owners, made this contemporary garden during an ambitious restoration project. The 4.5-acre kitchen garden, built in the 18th century, was neglected for 50 years, but by 2004, the renowned Dutch designer Piet Oudolf completely transformed it. The garden is an exquisite masterpiece, divided into distinct compartments, such as the Plantsman's Walk, Serpentine Garden, Perennial Meadow, Katsura Grove, and Silent Garden. Oudolf's painterly planting style emphasizes the plants' seasonal life cycle and structure, creating an immersive experience focusing on their natural beauty rather than their decorative colors or flowers. Scampston Hall is also notable for its parkland beyond the walled garden, designed by Capability Brown in 1772. Before we leave this remarkable destination, we'll take some time to enjoy lunch individually in the garden (not included).
- Our afternoon garden is a three-acre plot, home to Jackson's Wold Garden, a testament to the passion for plants and design shared by its owners, Richard and Sarah Cundall. When they moved to the 19th-century farmhouse with panoramic views of the Vale of Pickering in 1984, they were greeted with a rough paddock and a cluster of farmyard buildings without any trees, borders, or flowers. However, their love for gardening spurred them on, and they quickly created the first of their gardens, the Walled Garden, which paved the way for more gardens, each with unique personalities like the Wildflower Meadow, the Courtyard Garden, The Kitchen Garden, and the Woodland Garden. The surrounding woodland shelters the gardens from harsh winds coming off the North Sea, which, if it’s a clear day, we will see on the horizon.
- We return to the Queens Hotel in Leeds, and you are free to do whatever you like for the rest of the day. You can explore historic sites like Kirkstall Abbey and the Royal Armouries Museum. Art lovers can check out the extensive collections at The Henry Moore Institute and The Leeds Art Gallery. Shopping enthusiasts can scout shops in the area close to the hotel to find that very special souvenir. Or you may simply want to lounge in the hotel or take a nap. Dinner this evening is at a restaurant of your choice in the city or at our hotel (not included). Reservations may be necessary. Taxis may also be required (not included).
- This is our last night at The Queen’s Hotel.
Day 5, Sunday, July 23 -- PARCEVALL HALL & GRESGARTH HALL
- This morning, we visit Parcevall Hall in the Yorkshire Dales, with gardens rising up a steep 200-foot hillside. The design covers 24 acres of terraces and woodland, laid out starting in 1927 by the late avid gardener with royal connections, Sir William Milner. Despite the Great Depression in the 1930s, Sir William employed local workers to develop outdoor rooms using plants from around the world. Each room is distinct, including formal terraces, an herb garden, a rose garden, a rock garden with pools, an orchard with old apple varieties, and a woodland with trails. After Sir William's death, the gardens declined until the 1980s, when a restoration effort began under the leadership of head gardeners, first Jo Makin and, since the 1990s, Phil Nelson. This endeavor has paid off, with the gardens receiving the prestigious Historic Houses 'Garden of the Year' Award last year. Lunch today is in Parcevall Hall’s Tearoom (not included).
- This afternoon, we leave Yorkshire and travel west to the Lake District to visit the alluring Gresgarth Hall. Arabella and Mark Lennox-Boyd own this Gothic-inspired Victorian house. Arabella is a celebrated garden designer originally from Italy, and over the past 40 years, she has skillfully developed Gresgarth Hall’s garden. The property sits in a tranquil valley on a tributary of the River Lune, and the 10-acre garden with borders, lawns, and terraces is carved out of wild woodland. A black-reflecting lake with a viewing deck adds drama to the setting and offers picturesque views of the surrounding garden. Many consider the garden the perfect fusion of classical symmetry and scale with romantic English design and horticulture. This unique combination is a tribute to Arabella's many years of professional hands-on experience and her passion for creating unforgettable gardens. Get ready to be inspired by the stunning beauty of Gresgarth Hall's garden!
- We check into the Lakeside Hotel in Cumbria on the shore of Lake Windemere, England’s largest natural lake, for three nights. Dinner this evening is in the hotel’s restaurant (included).
Day 6, Monday, July 24 -- LEVENS HALL & LOWTHER CASTLE
- This morning, we visit Levens Hall. The Bagot family owns this stately Elizabethan house, and it's said to be home to several friendly ghosts. Located at the gateway to the Lake District National Park, the ten-acre garden surrounding the house dates back to the 17th century, making it the oldest garden on our itinerary. The garden's highlights are over 100 topiaries, a surreal collection of ancient boxwood and yew trees, some over 300 years old. These green sculptural novelties, trimmed into whimsical shapes, are underplanted with 30,000 bedding plants grown on-site each season. The topiary at Levens Hall began around 1815 when the garden’s boxwood and yews were re-shaped. The garden also features a ha-ha, an unobtrusive ditch with a retaining wall to keep farm animals away from the ornamental gardens, which dates back to 1694, making it one of the earliest in Britain. Before heading to our next garden, we'll enjoy lunch individually (not included) in the garden's Tearoom.
- This afternoon, we travel to swoon-worthy Lowther Castle, a ruin situated on a 75,000-acre agricultural estate where the Lowther family has lived since 1150. A captivating garden surrounds the castle ruin, which once flaunted a room for every day of the year. The shell of the castle itself is extraordinary, with imposing turrets and crenellations looking like a Hollywood film set. The beguiling garden, designed by the much admired Dan Pearson, takes inspiration from another ruin garden, the Gardens of Ninfa near Rome. A parterre in front of the castle creates a tapestry of subtle perennial color within a pattern of yew hedges while roses and clematis climb the ruin walls with delicate shade plants at their cool feet. There is also a recent Rose Garden and a new Orchard of heritage apples to explore. And let’s remember to wander the woodland paths leading to a ruined moss-covered Rockery, Japanese Garden, and Sweet Scented garden. Make sure to bring your camera to capture this seductive garden.
- For the night, we return to Lakeside Hotel. Dinner is at a restaurant of your choice in our hotel or a nearby village (not included). Reservations may be necessary. Taxis may be required.
Day 7, Tuesday, July 25 -- LAKE CRUISE & HILL TOP
- We begin our day by taking a leisurely 2-hour cruise on Lake Windemere ending at the charming village of Bowness-on-Windemere. You can explore independently, taking in Windermere Jetty Museum and the Beatrix Potter Gallery. Additionally, the town has a variety of shops for your browsing pleasure. Lunch will be at a Bowness cafe or restaurant of your choice (not included).
- For the afternoon, we drive the short distance to Hill Top to take a peek into the enchanting world of Beatrix Potter. This 17th-century Lake District farm served as Beatrix Potter's artistic retreat from 1905 until she died in 1943, and she used the house, garden, and 35-acre farm's animal life and surrounding landscape as inspiration for her beloved books. Today, Hill Top is open to the public as a writer's house museum, allowing visitors to experience the property just as Beatrix Potter did. The garden is simple, maintained in the relaxed English cottage-garden style, with informal borders planted with charming flowers and vegetables, including scenes illustrated in Beatrix Potter's books. The property was left to the National Trust, a charity and membership organization for heritage conservation, preserving Hill Top for future generations.
- Tonight, we return to the Lakeside Hotel and come together for dinner in the hotel restaurant (included).
Day 8, Wednesday, July 26 -- HEPWORTH WAKEFIELD & SHEFFIELD “GREY TO GREEN”
- We start our day at the gorgeous naturalistic garden next to the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery, a free public space for the community, open 24 hours a day all year long, on the banks of the River Calder. The one-acre garden was designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, whose splendid design we saw at Mount St John earlier in the week. The garden aims to reflect the natural environment that would have inspired Barbara Hepworth, the gallery's namesake and an important 20th-century artist born and brought up in Wakefield. The garden's design features a dense planting scheme, creating a colorful oasis for visitors. Between the virtuosic plantings are a medley of angular concrete paths, small gathering spaces, and verdant lawns echoing the sculptures within the Hepworth, creating a connection between the art and the garden. Lunch will be at the gallery’s cafe (not included).
- Our tour’s last garden represents hope in the time of climate change. It’s ‘Grey to Green,’ a recently completed nearly mile-long public garden in Sheffield city center. Rundown streets prone to flooding have been transformed into a flower-filled haven for humans and wildlife. Planted areas form rain gardens designed to absorb and clean water runoff and prevent flooding. The design is by Nigel Dunnett and Zac Tudor. In cities where encounters with nature can be uncommon, the ‘Grey to Green’ project's flower-rich planting is an inspiring example of what is possible, drawing people back to the natural world. With its innovative design and focus on promoting well-being, the project is a compelling example of what is achieved when prioritizing gardens in cities.
- For our final night, we return to Clayton Hotel, the airport hotel we stayed in the first night, and gather in the hotel restaurant for our Farewell Dinner (included).
Day 9, Thursday, July 27-- DEPARTURE
- Our time together ends, but garden lovers will likely find inspiration wherever they are. Tour members can choose to return home or carry on the adventure.