The UK’s Best Hotels with Gardens
Blame it on the frenetic pace of the modern world, but many of us are now choosing to retreat to places where gardens, gentle and green, are at the heart of the hospitality. Janelle McCulloch, author of The Gardener’s Travel Companion to England chooses her must-visit hotels with gardens for green-fingered travellers.
Top UK Hotels with Gardens
Abbey House, Wiltshire
If you like the thought of wandering Abbey House’s beautiful topiary and rose gardens at dawn, before all the day visitors appear, then stay the night.
Guests have full use of the 5-acre gardens and can wander the paths after hours. Occasionally there are Clothes Optional Days held in the gardens (to presumably keep long-time guests happy, as the tradition has been going for years), so just check whether you need to bring many clothes before you book! The views of the garden from the suite are sublime, whether there’s a bare bottom walking past or not!
Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN16 9AS.
Askam Hall, Cumbria
Askham Hall is a former peel tower dating from the fourteenth century. It opened as a country house hotel in 2013, with luxury accommodation, a restaurant, spa, café and wedding barn. However, the real reason to stay here is the splendid formal garden with terraces of herbaceous borders and topiary dating back to the seventeenth century. The property also includes kitchen gardens, which provide food for the Hall as well as the owners’ pub and restaurant in nearby Clifton, the George and Dragon.
Askam, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2PF.
Asthall Manor, Oxfordshire
Asthall Manor will be familiar to followers of Nancy Mitford, Deborah Mitford and the rest of their literary and creative sisters; the romantic, gabled Jacobean Cotswold manor house was the childhood home of the Mitford family in the early twentieth century. There are herbaceous borders and lawns, reminiscent of Edwardian garden parties, but there are also contemporary parterres, with borders of roses, irises and peonies contained
elegantly within box hedges. Like the interiors of the house, the garden has a soft, romantic, agreeably pleasant feel; plants that escape to the gravel are allowed to grow while roses tumble over themselves in a wonderfully uncontrived fashion.
Asthall, near Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4HW.
Barnsley House, Gloucestershire
While England is dotted with hotels and hideaways designed for garden lovers, the golden-hued seventeenth-century manor Barnsley House is something special. Many of the rooms have their own courtyard or garden, although exploring the main garden, with its knot gardens, fountains and flower beds is enough to calm even the most travel-weary soul. The pretty Potager restaurant also takes in the view of the garden from its wide windows.
Barnsley, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5EE.
Belmond Cadogan, London
Situated in the chic neighbourhood of Chelsea, and once a stopping point for both the famed actress Lillie Langtry and the playwright Oscar Wilde, this 1887 property has just opened after a three-year, £40-million restoration. The 54-room hotel is made up of five adjoining townhouses with many of the original design details (working fireplaces, mosaic floors and wood panelling) kept intact. Best of all, guests have access to the square’s private garden, Cadogan Place Gardens, which is usually reserved for locals only. This is a particularly elegant London square featuring ornamental planting and sweeping lawns; a design that has remained relatively unchanged since it was laid out in 1886. The hotel will even provide blankets, deck chairs and board games.
75 Sloane Street, Chelsea, London, SW1X 9SG.
Originally Cliveden was the country house of Nancy and Waldorf Astor in the 1930s. Today, it is a prestigious hotel, although the garden (technically also on the border in Buckinghamshire) remains open to the public. The magnificent balustrade in the garden was bought by the Astors from the Villa Borghese in Rome, and forms a platform to see the formal planting scheme, particularly the rose gardens. There are lots of whimsical yew topiaries, formal Italianate statuary, pretty plantings of herbs and herbaceous borders, and some lovely walks through the woodland landscape.
Cliveden Road, Taplow, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 0JF.
Gidleigh Park, Devon
An exquisite Arts and Crafts manor house standing within 107 acres of Dartmoor National Park, the Relais & Châteaux hotel Gidleigh Park offers a traditional colourful English country garden, a water garden, a thriving vegetable and herb garden, ancient woodland and a wildflower meadow. The vegetables, fruit and herbs are used in the two-Michelin-starred restaurant. The hotel offers a ‘Grounds and Gardens’ tours twice monthly between April and October, led by the head gardener, which are rounded off with aperitifs, canapés and a two-course lunch, as well as ‘Nature Trails’ and ‘Fungi Forays’ with a local Dartmoor foraging expert.
Chagford, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ13 8HH.
All extracts taken from The Gardener’s Travel Companion to England by Janelle McCulloch