Summer gardens

Our gardens are at their peak during the summer months, with unmissable colour, scent and relaxing spaces to take in the view. With vibrant displays and long, refreshing days to look forward to, it’s time to make the most of nature – with a healthy serving of sunshine.

From towering topiary and borders bursting with fragrance to wonderful water features and stunning vistas, many National Trust gardens are at their finest over the summer months. See the very best of British gardens and enjoy making the most of perfect picnic spots and beautiful walks; ideal for soaking up the summer sun.

Here are our 20 top must-see gardens this summer:

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire

Encounter colour and scent in swathes in this beautiful, relaxing setting. 114 acres offer rolling lawns, sweeping avenues, formal gardens, wildlife habitats, classical statuary and a working watermill. Don’t miss the herbaceous border and dahlia gardens for vibrant splashes of colour.

Belton House, Lincolnshire

Relax by the fountain at the heart of the magnificent Italian garden, explore the Orangery with its lush planting and exotic foliage and enjoy timeless topiary and the fragrance of lavender in the Dutch garden. Take a stroll along Statue Walk towards the lakeshore where the ‘swiss chalet’ style boathouse is a lovely feature in this tranquil landscape.

Beningbrough Hall and Gardens, North Yorkshire

Discover the picture-perfect Victorian walled garden and the spectacular pear avenue – its borders overflow with colour and scent while the walls shelter a range of pears, apples and figs. The new parkland restoration scheme is aimed to encourage more visitor interaction.

Make a weekend of it: stay in The Victorian Laundry, a holiday apartment close to the hall.

Biddulph Grange, Staffordshire

Discover ‘upside-down’ trees, rockwork, a formal Italian garden, Egyptian court and a tranquil Chinese garden, complete with ornate wooden temple and footbridge over ‘Chinese waters’ filled with exotic fish.

Bodnant Garden, Clwyd

Grand terraced lawns, a laburnum tunnel, a renowned collection of Chinese rhododendrons, a romantic waterfall and an 18th-century pavilion are sure to make a lasting impression.

Buckland Abbey, Garden and Estate, Devon

Visit the stunning Cider House Garden which we’ve recently acquired and will be open to the public for the first time in 2012. With a large kitchen garden and extensive herbaceous borders, this peaceful spot is surrounded by breathtaking views of the Abbey estate and Dartmoor beyond.

Cragside, Northumberland

Enjoy a burst of Victorian colour on the Dahlia walk, where over 700 flowers bloom in fiery hues. The carpet bed is just as spectacular; its geometric pattern is planted differently each year.

Emmetts Garden, Kent

Take in panoramic views over the Weald and towards the North Downs and enjoy magnificent display of rhododendrons and azaleas in early summer and fragrant roses in the formal garden in late summer.

Erddig, Wrexham

A contrast to the busy blooms of many summer gardens, Erddig is a place of simple geometry in trees, hedges and water. Admire the craftsmanship; the razor-edged hedges, the pleached limes, espaliered apples and fan-trained peaches.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, Yorkshire

Studley Royal is one of the best surviving examples of a Georgian water garden. Elegant ornamental lakes, canals, temples and cascades provide a succession of dramatic eye-catching vistas. The garden also provides the perfect complement to Fountains Abbey, the largest monastic ruins in the country.

Hare Hill Garden, Cheshire

A ‘hidden jewel’ amongst Cheshire’s gardens, Hare Hill abounds with colour during the summer. Azaleas, hydrangeas and honeysuckle bloom in this tranquil woodland garden, whilst climbing roses, clematis and wisteria wind through the delightful Walled Garden. Bring a picnic and enjoy a game of croquet, giant jenga, quoits or noughts and crosses in the walled garden.

Hidcote Manor Gardens, Gloucestershire

One of the most inventive and influential gardens of the 20th-century Hidcote sets the trend for dividing a garden into ‘rooms’. Full of sublime contrasts, this garden is fiery and red at one turn and calm and white at the next.

Mount Stewart, Co. Down

Mount Stewart is hailed as one of the most unusual gardens in our collection due to its tapestry like design. There is something to see whatever the season due to the wide variety of plants from countries such as South Africa and Japan, though summer is best to catch the garden in its finest hour. Enjoy the formal, Italian garden, the sunken Spanish garden, beautiful rhododendrons and the lake walk. There are all kinds of oddities to delight children in the garden, even crocodiles and dodos.

Mottisfont, Hampshire

Explore the National Collection of old-fashioned roses, and be bowled over by scent and sight in the walled garden. Listen out for the babbling of the priory stream as it gushes down the waterfall, and enjoy a truly idyllic day out.

Nymans, Sussex

This Sussex Weald garden boasts a historic collection of plants, gathered from around the world. The June borders provide fresh and dynamic early summer displays using unusual perennial plants. Nymans’ famous double summer borders provide colour for July, August and September, with their unique style of annual planting. Look out for the eucryphias – dazzling shrubs from South America and Tasmania that produce big, starry white flowers in August.

Make a weekend of it:

Stay at Woodlands Cottage, offering tranquil surroundings.

Peckover House and Garden, Cambridgeshire

One of our lesser known jewels, the gardens of Peckover are a sensory delight, complete with orangery, summerhouses, croquet lawn and a rose garden with more than 60 varieties of rose.

Plas Newydd, Gwynedd

Overlooking the Menai Straits, with uninterrupted views to Snowdonia, Plas Newydd is home to a spectacular collection of rhododendrons- some in flower as late as July. There are also plenty of vibrant, summer plantings in the formal garden.

Powis Castle & Garden, Powys

It’s the spectacular hanging terraces with giant, yew hedges that are the star of show here. But the formal gardens, aviary, woodland wilderness and views of Severn valley all add to the wow-factor.

Rowallane Garden, Co. Down

This wild, relaxed garden blends seamlessly into the natural landscape. Laid out in the 1860s, it’s famous for its woodland rock garden, where blue Himalayan poppies and Asian primulas grow in drifts.

Sissinghurst Castle, Kent

Discover garden rooms, vistas and exuberant planting schemes in this inspirational garden. Enjoy the scent-drenched rose garden, the colourful lime walk and the famous grey, green and white garden.

Make a weekend of it:

Stay at Priest’s House on the edge of the White garden.

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