Many National Trust gardens are at their peak during the summer months, with striking colours, heady scents and magical spaces for enjoying peaceful moments.
With vibrant displays of flowers and long, warm days to look forward to, it’s time to make the most of nature – with a healthy serving of early summer sunshine if we’re lucky. Admire lakes turned crimson by the reflection of waterlilies, listen to bees buzzing around brightly coloured flower heads and take in the sweet smell of fruit ripening in orchards.
And while you enjoy the sights and scents, you can be certain that your visit helps the National Trust care for these gardens for many more summers to come.
Here are the top National Trust gardens to explore this summer:
Barrington Court, Somerset
The gardens at Barrington Court are a wonderful place to while away a summer afternoon. Walk along the bridge over the garden moat and push open a heavy oak door to find a beautiful walled garden full of roses. Take a moment to breathe in the musky scent of blooming flowers and look out for ducks and dragonflies when you cross the moat. Other highlights include the White Garden with its swathes of white blooms and the Goose Garden, where apples are harvested to make cider and apple juice for the shop and restaurant.
For more information, please visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/barrington-court
Emmetts Garden, Kent
Banks of delicate roses create beautiful borders around this tranquil hillside garden. Look out over the rolling countryside towards Ide Hill and walk along pathways bursting with the colour. Blue and pink hydrangeas thrive here during the summer and the rock garden and south garden are full of incredible trees and shrubs. Come and see towering alpine trees, the Persian silk tree and the unusual cream-flowered wedding cake tree, normally only seen in Japan and Korea.
For more information, please visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/emmetts-garden
Hanbury Hall and Gardens, Worcestershire
The gardens at Hanbury Hall are at their peak in summer, full of colour and scents. Be sure to pause and take a look at the collection of citrus and exotic plants on display in the Great Garden, including pomegranates, oleanders and agaves. And enjoy a little seclusion among the flowers, fruits and vegetables in the peaceful walled garden.
For more information, please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hanbury-hall-and-gardens
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, please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole-estate
A summer visit to the garden at Beningbrough is a treat for the senses with striking displays of colourful flowers and fruit trees bursting with blossom in the walled garden. Late bluebells will still be appearing in the parkland in May, while the double herbaceous border is at its best in early summer. Enjoy swatches of pastel perennials, including geraniums, peonies and wisteria growing up obelisk frames and the heady scent of mock orange filling the air. In high summer the Italian border is filled with colourful Mediterranean blooms, which are suited to hot weather and periods of drought but still able to withstand the Yorkshire climate. Be one of the first to relax in the garden’s new pergola, designed by award winning garden designer Andy Sturgeon. Afterwards sample the day’s harvest in the walled garden restaurant, where the food will have only travelled feet to reach your plate.
For more information, please visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/beningbrough
Powis Castle and Garden, Powys, Wales
Dating back 300 years, this bright limestone-red castle has world-class gardens that are steeped in history and boast stunning hillside views across the Severn Valley. During the summer months, the gardens will be blooming with roses, poppies, iris and delphinium, as well as wild flowers including common spotted orchids. Weave your way through richly planted herbaceous borders, enormous yew hedges, an ancient orangery and acres of peaceful woodland.
For more information, please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/powis-castle-and-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, please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewartLast modified: June 10, 2021