There is an abundance of hiden away gardens, country houses and stately homes that are in beautiful bloom throughout the summer months, take a look at our top picks of National Trust gardens to visit. We’ve picked favourites from each region, so you’ll never have too big a round trip.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and soak up the sun in the peaceful surroundings of Saltram’s beautifully kept 18th-century gardens. Go for a relaxing stroll down quiet paths with secluded corners, and discover an abundance of exotic trees throughout the gardens. Why not join a friendly gardener-led tour to pick up some top tips and historical facts? Make sure you visit the orange grove – a perfect spot to soak up the sun and take in the sweet smells of fruit ripening on the trees.
For more information, visit Saltram
Coleton Fishacre, Devon
Framed by coastal cliffs, the garden at Coleton Fishacre is full of rugged charm. Take a refreshing walk along paths that weave through glades and past tranquil ponds, and catch enticing glimpses of the sea. The garden’s sheltered location and unusual micro climate means that exotic plants such as the protea, identified by its large pink petals, can flourish. Other plants to look out for include tulips, crocuses and wild garlic.
For more information, visit Coleton Fishacre
London and South East
Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
Summer has arrived and the waterlilies are in full bloom at Sheffield Park and Garden. A waterlily festival, taking place at the site from 9 June to 15 July, will see the lakes turn crimson, yellow, white and pink with the reflection of these beautiful flowers. Walk along the viewing pontoon on Middle Lake to get close to these incredible plants and the wildlife they attract. Look out for the metallic flashes of kingfishers and dragonflies. Why not join a lakeside waterlily talk with our gardeners and volunteers? There will also be related art and photography workshops, craft activities for the kids.
For more information, visit Sheffield Park and Graden
Coughton Court, Warwickshire
The gardens at Coughton Court really come into their own during the summer months. You’ll find 200 varieties of roses in bloom, herbaceous borders packed with colourful plants, a glassy lake surrounded by fern trees and a plentiful vegetable garden and orchard. Explore the beautiful maze in the rose garden, which according to legend was used as a secret hideaway for King Henry II and his mistress Rosamund. Admire the statue of Rosamund, who is said to have been poisoned to death by Queen Eleanor, and seek out the rose Rosa Mundi, which was named in her memory.
For more information, visit: Coughton Court
Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill
Herbaceous borders packed full of incredible plants and flowers flood Anglesey Abbey with colour during the summer months. In June you can expect to see irises, lupins, pyrethrums in full bloom, which give way to delphiniums, lilies, thalictrums, heleniums, achilleas and blue salvias in July. Visit the rose garden with its1,000-plus rose bushes and take a circular walk through wildflower meadows buzzing with wildlife.
For more information, visit Anglesey Abbey Gardens and Lode Mill
Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
Over 180,000 bulbs will be blooming at Wimpole this summer. The Pleasure Grounds will be a delight for the eyes with swathes of purple, white and yellow blooms producing a spectacular show. With a huge variety of summer bulbs from alliums to camassia there is something to inspire the expert horticulturalist and amateur alike.
For more information, visit Wimpole Estate
In summer the 1,000 acre estate at Cragside is transformed into a colourful wonderland. Between late May and mid-June, the rhododendrons and azaleas bloom, creating a riot of colour along the estate drive and filling the air with fragrant scents. In the Victorian Formal Garden, discover the herbaceous border display and beautifully scented roses. Look out for this year’s carpet bedding design – made up of approximately 20,000 plants. The design changes each year but you can expect whimsical, bright clashing colours, just how the Victorians liked their gardens to be. For more information, visit Cragside
Look out for summer flowering lace cap hydrangeas as you wander through the woods to the hidden walled garden at Wallington. Built in 1760 to grow fruit and vegetables, this irregular shaped and contoured garden is now filled with colourful themed borders, decorative shrubs and impressive standalone plants. There’s also an Edwardian conservatory full of fragrant flowers, from seasonal favourites to exotic blooms. Why not have a picnic next to the pond on the open lawn at the bottom of the garden or quench your thirst on sunny days with refreshing drinks from the garden kiosk? For more information visit Wallington
Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire
Throughout early summer the walled garden and wildflower meadows are a kaleidoscope of colour. The magnolia in the walled garden is the star of the show, providing bright splashes of colour. In July and August the wildflowers are taking centre stage in the meadow, while hydrangeas, azaleas and rhododendrons are also at their best. Make the most of the sun and enjoy family picnics, climbing trees and running through the meadow.
For more information, visit Colby Woodland Garden
Mount Stewart, County Down
Mount Stewart is hailed as one of the most unusual gardens cared for by the National Trust due to its tapestry-like design. In early summer the formal displays of scented rhododendrons in the Italian, Spanish, Mairi and Shamrock Gardens are magnificent, as is the bright carpet of bluebells in the demesne. Due to the mild micro-climate, summer also brings in fresh new growth of ferns, with a large collection of sub-tropical ferns. Take a peek at the ongoing work in the walled garden, where National Trust gardeners are working hard to bring the fabulous rose garden back to life.
For more information, visit Mount Stewart
Photography: ©National Trust; Andrea Jones; Andrew Butler; Chris LaceyLast modified: June 10, 2021