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Gardens Open to the Public

There are thousands of gardens across the UK. Many of these are open to the public and have become tourist attractions for visitors to spend their time enjoying and obtaining ideas for their own gardens back home. Our lists of Gardens in England, Wales and Scotland has over a thousand entries. Because of the large number we have also split this list into gardens by county so that you can have a better chance of finding something to visit. See here for list index.

Gardens and Gardening has always been an English passion, some for decoration initially and to show status like that of the large estates. An example of this is Blenheim Palace garden who employed Capability Brown to create a magnificent large garden including boating lake, monuments, rose gardens, statuettes, formal and woodland landscapes.

A wider range of people had practical gardens that provided fruit and vegetables and sustenance either in the small back garden or in a local allotment. Then there are the public open spaces like city parks and gardens which may have originally been designed for the good of public health, but today offer an outside haven for everyone. Gardens provide enjoyment, work and are a living environment.

There are also many passionate gardeners across the UK who like to manage their own back garden, whether it be for food or for flowers or a combination of both, they enjoy their work and like to enjoy the fruits of their labours on a summer afternoon sitting or entertaining in the garden amongst the fragrant smells. Many of these take part in local competitions and events to show off their gardens to the local community and beyond.

Batsford Arboretum See Larger Image

See Larger Image Blenheim Palace Gardens  

Blenheim Palace Gallery

There are also those who like to take part in schemes throughout the UK where they can open up their gardens for public viewing and at the same time raise money for charity.

The National Garden Scheme

This scheme covers England and Wales is run by the National Garden Scheme. Most of the 3,700 gardens are privately owned, some open as part of a group which gets the whole community involved and many of these only open just a few times a year specifically for this scheme. The others are those gardens which open to the public on a regular or commercial basis, but they also kindly contribute to the scheme on specific days. The NGS has been operating the scheme since 1927 and over the last 10 years has raised over 25 million. They support nursing, caring and gardening charities that help people who are ill or under stress. Each year, in February, they publish the Yellow Book which lists all the gardens taking part by county, giving details of opening times and what you may be able to see. Money raised from sales of the book go into the charity funds. You can use their GardenFinder,  to search for gardens within a postcode area.


Scotland's Garden Scheme

A similar scheme is also run in Scotland and has been running since 1931 and like the National (English and Welsh) scheme raises funds for charity by facilitating the opening of large and small gardens of interest throughout Scotland to the public. They also publish a 'Scotland's Gardens' book annually listing all the gardens taking part, details of what you can see, admission charges and directions on how to find them. See their website at www.scotlandsgardens.org for more details and to search for a garden you can visit.

British Red Cross Open Gardens Scheme

The British Red Cross also has an Open Gardens Scheme. Open Gardens offers a rare opportunity to explore the secrets of hidden and private gardens not usually open to the public from March to October. The programme has a list of gardens of all shapes and sizes throughout the UK.  This link will take you to their website.

There appear to be a number of local open garden schemes also around the UK, a search of the internet for Open Gardens may find others that are of interest to you.

See Also:


By: Tracey Park Section: Gardens Section Key:
Page Ref: gardens_opento_public Topic: Gardens Last Updated: 05/2017

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