Active England invites you to experience our graceful gardens and explore our botanical diversity with us.
The beautiful gardens of England are the perfect escape from the busy bustle of everyday life; a green and glorious heaven. And The Cotswolds are fortunate enough to have some of the most splendid landscapes the country. As you tour this region you’ll be treated to tranquil views and hidden treasures that have withstood the test of time.
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WINDSOR GREAT PARK
A GRAND PARK THAT HAS THE BEST OF BRITAINS WILDLIFE TO SHOWCASE
Windsor Great Park has everything to offer from a sweeping deer park to a magnificent garden that can offer something of interest year round. For centuries the park has been a private hunting ground for Windsor Castle and has since been available for the public to take in the natural beauty of the area.
Covering 4,800 acres, the park encompasses the Savill and Valley Gardens, Virginia Water Lake and the Royal Lodge. A bicycle ride through the area will give you the chance to see the wild game, ancient oaks and native flora.
Of particular interest is Savill Gardens, created by Sir Eric Savill in the 1930s, the garden showcases woodland, a pond, ornamental features and a range of plants and flowers designed to create a spectacular at all times of the year.
Visit Windsor on your Active England Tour
HIDCOTE, CHIPPING CAMPDEN
FORMAL GARDENS FLOW SEAMLESSLY INTO COUNTRYSIDE MEADOWS
Hidcote Garden near Chipping Campden was the creation of Major Lawrence Johnson, an American horticulturist. His mother moved to Hidcote House in 1907, and three years later Johnson took charge of the landscaping and created these bewitching grounds.
This Magical Arts and Crafts garden is cleverly divided into themed ‘rooms’ by yew and box hedges. Each contains little delights such as ornamental ponds, splendid fuchsias and elegant fountains. Stately lawned avenues lead you to other treasures including a secret garden and a maze with paved pathways.
FOLLOW THE COURSE OF HISTORY THROUGH ITS MAJESTIC GROUNDS
Blenheim Palace is surrounded by a staggering 2000 acres of gardens and parkland. Originally the grounds were simple, apart from the construction of a grand bridge and the channelling of the river Glyme. But in 1764 Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown took charge and created an elaborate tableau upon the English Landscape scheme, presenting an ‘idealised view’ of nature. One of the most famous aspects of the grounds remains the vast lake with the river cascading into it.
The formal gardens at Blenheim are also magnificent. Redesigned in the 1920s by the French landscape architect Achille Duchêne, they showcase a wonderful array of plant life. Highlights include the water terraces, Italian Garden and the tranquil Rose Garden. The Pleasure Garden with its maze, butterfly house and miniature train make it the perfect for young and old alike.
WESTONBIRT, NEAR TETBURY
A WORLD OF FLORA TO DISCOVER
The Arboretum at Westonbirt near Tetbury sports one of the largest collection of trees in the world. Sourced from all over the globe during the 19th century, the collection consists of approximately 18,000 varieties, with many very rare or exotic.
The arboretum was started by Robert Stayner Holford in 1929. And today, it comprises two sections; the Old Arboretum and Silk Wood, the former is beautifully landscaped with wide avenues and formal gardens, whilst the later is wilder with a natural woodland feel.
BANCROFT GARDENS, STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
THE BEST SEATS IN THE GARDEN
Stratford isn’t only the birthplace of Shakespeare but also the home of the beautiful Bancroft Gardens. They lie just in front the famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre on the banks of the river Avon. It may be true that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but at Bancroft, they are particularly lovely.
Dating back to the early 19th century the gardens feature the impressive Swan Fountain, and also both statues of Shakespeare and some of his memorable characters, including Hamlet and Lady Macbeth. On sunny summer evenings, outdoor performances often take place on the garden’s sloping lawns.
Find out more about visiting Stratford-upon-Avon
England’s gardens, from manicured lawns to floral meadows, are as much a part of our heritage as the grand buildings they surround. The country’s botanical pride and joy, no visit would be truly complete without experiencing their delights. These vivid landscapes, ornate and fanciful, are a treat to behold and a memory to treasure.
Our Active England tours offer so much more than cycling. If you want to experience England’s gardens firsthand but are concerned about the amount of time you’d have to spend on a bike, there are a variety of packages to suit your needs. See More Cycle Less, Over 50s and bespoke options give you the flexibility to ride a distance you feel comfortable with and allow plenty of time to take in the sights.