2013 marks the Centenary Year of the Chelsea Flower Show! The highlight of the fascinating gardening year, the Chelsea Flower Show, is an event in the year simply not to be missed for any horticulturalist (or want to be horticulturalist)! Be surprised by the award-winning gardens, learn new gardening tips and admire the resplendent flower displays. This multi day tour includes some of London's most iconic gardens, an escorted day at the Chelsea Flower Show and an exploration of the homes and gardens of Kent. Take inspiration from the gardens, learn their history from the passionate guides and enjoy this truly unique and fascinating tour.
With a maximum group size of 15, you will benefit from the customised services of a knowledgeable driver/guide, shared guided tours at places of interest along the way and travel in style in a luxury mini-coach.
Meet your driver at Heathrow airport, and take a private transfer to your hotel.
A welcome package with your vouchers, a city map, train tickets (if relevant) and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
One of the world's great cities, vibrant London manages to shine in the greyest weather and its diversity defies a simple definition. This sprawling city has drawn people for centuries, looking for something and finding the unexpected. It's one of the world's most international cities and its influences blend to create something uniquely wonderful. Let your Guide know your particular interests and he/she will help you discover the city on your half day walking tour of central London. Learn how to take the "tube", explore the cobblestone streets, gardens, and markets, and be a Londoner for a day. Your Guide will meet you at your hotel. Please note that one should wear comfortable shoes and a hat; suitable for children. (No entrance fees included)
There are some great restaurants in the West End of London.Here are a few suggestions: J Sheekey, an incredibly smart seafood restaurant, Mildred's, London's best veggie restaurant, Sketch, the trendiest place in London, specializing in some of the best french food you'll ever taste, or for those looking for something simple and cheerful, enjoy a nice meal out at Zipangu. Or try the amazingly stylish Corrigan’s Mayfair http://www.corrigansmayfair.co.uk
The Millennium Baileys Hotel (4*) is located in the heart of fashionable Kensington, and combines a unique sense of style and charm. A magnificently restored Victorian town house hotel dating back to 1876. As elegant as the era in which it was established, this gem still retains many of its original features, with sweeping staircase, stained-glass windows and intricate stonework. The hotel is close to many of London's major attractions including Hyde Park, Natural History, Science and Victoria & Albert Museums, and most exclusive shopping districts. Millennium Bailey's Hotel offers its guests a choice of comfortable accommodation units decorated in warm colours ensuring a relaxed and welcoming feel. With its diverse mix of international restaurants and relaxing bars, the Millennium Bailey's can cater to many tastes by offering the finest of world cuisine. The Fitness Centre located in the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, provides an excellent choice of exercise equipment.
Meet up with your fellow floral enthusiasts this morning (approx. 8.30am) at the Royal Garden Hotel, (Address: 2-24 Kensington High Street London, W8 4PT) and get ready to see some of southern Englands best horitcultural examples and fine manor houses and estates. (It is recommended to arrive at the hotel at 8am if you have not overnighted here).
Your Small group multi-day tour begins with a shared transfer from London to Hampshire via Painshill Park, where you will enjoy the tranquil beauty of this carefully restored 18th century landscaped park and garden in the heart of Surrey.
Then make your way to Chawton House, a 17th century house where Jane Austen once lived. Here, you will find a Jane Austen collection with objects including letters written by Austen and many of her music books with pieces transcribed in her own hand.
Enjoy a delicious welcome dinner with the other members of your tour.
Bartley Lodge is an elegant classic country hotel. It is a great spot to relax and take in the warmth of this Cadnam hotel. It was originally built as a New Forest hunting lodge and you can still feel the forest's strong influence throughout, from the meals created using local produce to the inviting bedrooms that overlook their grounds. Take a moment to relax in Bartley Lodge Hotel's ornate, heated, indoor swimming pool or try out the Nordic sauna.
Please note that your hotel may be the above or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
The Isle of Wight offers you a unique day out with some fabulous sightseeing opportunities. Your first visit is to Ventnor Botanic Garden. This unique garden is unrivalled for its collections of subtropical and exotic plants grown unprotected out of doors.
Next, you travel to Queen Victoria's summer retreat - Osborne House. Take an intimate glimpse into Queen Victoria’s family life as you tour the private rooms and royal apartments. Wander amongst the extensive grounds and visit the Queen’s private beach.
Today you will head first to Heale House, set in eight acres of beautiful gardens beside the River Avon in Middle Woodford. Highlights include the 20th century arts and crafts garden, the tranquil Japanese garden and a landing stage by the River Avon where you may catch a glimpse of trout swimming by.
Next, you make your way to Mottisfont, a garden noted for its colourful herbaceous borders, grassy terraces planted with fruit trees and stunning views.
Your last visit of the day is to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, with 180 acres of grounds and over 42,000 plants this garden offers plenty to discover and enjoy.
Visit Wilton House, one of England’s great houses. Wilton House has been lived in continuously by successive generations for over 460 years. It has been welcoming film crews for many years and films shot here include Sense and Sensibility, The Madness of King George, Mrs. Brown, Pride and Prejudice and The Young Victoria. You will have time to explore the house and its extensive grounds before we continue on to Houghton Lodge, a picturesque 18th Grade II Historic House. Explore its glorious gardens including its beautiful herb garden, rose arbour, avenue of old apple trees and tranquil riverside walks.
The world famous CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW is on your afgenda today! Organized by the Royal Horticultural Society, The Chelsea Flower Show is the most prestigious flower shows in the world. Held in the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital every year since 1913, apart from gaps during the two World Wars, it is the flower show most associated with the Royal family, who attend the opening day every year. See award winning gardens, learn new gardening tips and admire the magnificent flower displays in the Grand Pavilion.
Just like the coaching inns of old, they provide a relaxed home-from-home for guests and you can be assured of all the comforts and luxuries you’d expect from the best modern accommodation. At heart they’re a friendly local pub, boasting fantastic cask ales and the best in British food. Upstairs are 31 stylish bedrooms. The Coach and Horses, standing opposite the green and only a short walk from Kew Gardens, has always been at the heart of village life, providing rest and refreshment for visitors and locals.
Savill Garden near Windsor is one of Britain’s greatest ornamental gardens, enjoyed by horticulturalists and enthusiasts alike. Explore its 35 acres of contemporary and classically designed gardens and exotic woodland. The Savill Garden mixes native and exotic species and has bred many important garden hybrids.
Then travel to Cliveden House, known particularly for its links with the Astors. Surrounded by 376 acres of magnificent formal gardens and parkland the Cliveden offers wonderful panoramic views over the River Thames.
Begin your day in the famed Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew, which is responsible for the world’s largest collection of living plants. These living collections include more than 30,000 different kinds of plant. A world heritage site, the gardens and magnificent glasshouses are located in 121 hectares of stunning vistas, set in a beautiful landscape beside the Thames. Highlights include the Treetop walkway, the Water Lily House and The Princess of Wales Conservatory.
In the afternoon you will visit Ham House, one of Europe’s greatest 17th century houses. Discover its outstanding collection of furniture and textiles and explore the famous cherry garden and orangery.
Leaving London you head first to Wisley, the world-renowned home of the Royal Horticultural Society, where you will have plenty of time to explore the spectacular and varied gardens. Explore the beautiful Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden, the picturesque orchard and the huge cathedral-like glass house with its world class tropical plant collection.
In the afternoon you will visit Hever Castle, set in the Kent countryside and once home to Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife. This historic castle with its double moat and 125 acres of spectacular gardens offers visitors plenty to discover.
The Royal Wells Hotel provides a delightful setting for a stay in the charming spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. A perfect blend of Victorian elegance and modern comfort and luxury, their individually designed rooms offer a calm haven after a busy day, whilst Chalybeate Restaurant and Beau Nash pub provide an extensive range of eating and drinking options. The Royal Wells Hotel owes it regal title to Queen Victoria, who made frequent visits as a young princess in the early nineteenth century. She later granted the use of her coat of arms, which is proudly displayed at the top of the building.
Today you will travel to Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, created by novelist Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson in the 1930's. This outstanding garden showcases strict geometry and an intimate atmosphere. Visit the rose garden, the white garden, the cottage garden and parts of the house open to the public.
This afternoon, visit Ightham Mote, deservedly one of the most popular small gardens in the region. Built nearly 700 years ago this house has been owned by medieval knights and courtiers to Henry VIII. Highlights include the Great Hall, the Tudor painted celling and the peaceful garden with an orchard, lake and woodland walks.
Pashley Manor has been described as the very essence of an English Garden. Surrounding a wonderful timber-framed Tudor house dating from around 1550, the gardens are a fabulous blend of romantic landscaping, imaginative plantings, fine trees, fountains and springs, displaying many eras of English history.
Then travel a short distance to Merriments Gardens, blessed with delightful homes and gardens. Merriments Gardens is, in the words of the RHS Garden Finder, “one of the best show gardens in England”. It boasts a stunningly beautiful four acres of densely-planted borders, where the plants grown in the nursery can be seen in an imaginative garden context. Highlights include the ponds and tropical border, the wild area and the blue gravel garden.
Another icon is Great Dixter, the largest half-timbered house in England. It is the garden however, that really grabs the attention with its wild meadows and famed Long Border. A fabulous mix of yew topiary, meadow flowers, natural ponds and the wonderful Exotic Garden, it is one that cannot be missed.
This morning you will visit Scotney Castle, a fourteenth century moated castle surrounded by picturesque gardens and over 770 acres of woodland and parkland. Voted among one of the best gardens in England, it boasts a suburb display of rhododendrons and azaleas.
Winston Churchill's home of Chartwell requires no introduction. What makes it such a memorable visit is not only the view from the garden which inspired his painting, but the fact that the interior is almost as he left it. You can almost smell the cigars! Churchill loved the house, especially the view over the Weald of Kent, and he transformed the grounds with new lakes and brickwork built with his own hands.
Your Small Group Tour ends this afternoon upon arrival at The Royal Garden Hotel at approximately 5.30pm. Bid farewell to your Guide and fellow travellers as you close the chapter on this part of your travels.
Please note that since there will be various small group departures around this event all starting and ending at the same time, each mini-coach will follow a different itinerary in order to maintain the small group feel of your trip. Whilst all of the gardens and stately home listed above will be visited, the days in which they are visited and the order of the visits will vary from what has been published.
Meet your driver at your hotel and be taken to Heathrow Airport by a private transfer.
Citizens of other countries may require a visa. Please ask your Sales Advisor. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of England for the most up to date visa information.
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