Britain is full of stunning gardens, Discover Britain eyes up the best historic hotels with access to exquisite gardens.
Barnsley House, Gloucestershire
Barnsley House was the Cotswold home of English garden designer Rosemary Verey, who began work on the gardens in the 1950s and went on to design many more, including the New York Botanical Gardens, as well as working for Prince Charles, Sir Elton John and Princess Michael of Kent. But Barnsley was her masterpiece: Verey took inspiration from large public gardens and adapted the ideas for smaller spaces. For example, her laburnum walk at Barnsley was inspired by the bigger version at Bodnant Garden in north Wales. Now a luxurious hotel, Barnsley’s rooms range from spectacular two-storey suites to a private garden retreat with an open fire.
The Peacock at Rowsley, Derbyshire
A stone’s throw away from Chatsworth House in the heart of the Peak District, the Peacock at Rowsley is part of the Haddon Hall estate, owned by Lord and Lady Edward Manners. A former manor house, the Peacock has 15 bedrooms and is perfect for exploring the nearby stately homes and their stunning gardens. Described by Simon Jenkins as “the most perfect house to survive from the Middle Ages”, Haddon Hall is set in an Elizabethan terraced garden. Believed to be among the most romantic in Britain, the garden, which boasts hundreds of spectacular roses, is in the care of Arne Maynard, a gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Bowood Hotel and Lodge, Wiltshire
In the year that marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot “Capability” Brown, it would be remiss not to include one of his famous landscapes. Situated in the heart of the Bowood estate in Wiltshire, the eponymous country hotel offers guests free access to the Georgian stately home as well as its grounds. Highlights include the formal terraces at the front and the four-acre private walled garden at the rear of the house, with a woodland garden opening annually between April and June. The luxury hotel also offers Queenwood Lodge, a Georgian manor house, for private hire. Shuttles to Bowood House can be provided on request.
Hotel Endsleigh, Devon
Described as a “fairytale cottage set in an Arcadian landscape” by Alan Titchmarsh, Hotel Endsleigh, on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon, sits in more than 100 acres of gardens, woodlands, follies and grottoes. The landscape was one of the last commissions taken on by the 18th-century designer Humphry Repton, two centuries ago. The formal gardens at Endsleigh run down to the River Tamar – the Duke of Bedford picked it as the spot for his hunting and fishing lodge 200 years ago – with the arboretum beyond. Restored by owner Olga Polizzi in 2005, Endsleigh has 18 exquisitely furnished rooms, including a thatched gatekeeper’s lodge.
Bodysgallen Hall, Conwy
Standing on a hillside above the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno, Bodysgallen Hall, managed by the National Trust, offers natural beauty as well as a more manicured appeal. The jewel in the crown of its romantic garden is a rare box-hedge parterre, or formal symmetrical garden, filled with herbs. There are terraces and a walled rose garden, as well as follies, a cascade and a croquet lawn. The hall’s tower, which dates to the 1200s and was once used as a lookout by soldiers, offers the ideal spot to admire the magnificent views of Conwy Castle and the mountains of Snowdonia. The hotel has 15 bedrooms, as well as 16 cottage suites in the grounds.