Sunny days out in glorious gardens

Dunham Massey
Dunham Massey

Find inspiration, colour and beauty this summer by visiting our country’s glorious gardens. Hannah Stephenson checks out some of the best

Anyone enjoying a ‘staycation’ this summer should make the most of the gardens open to the public.

Take a notebook with you to jot down inspiring designs, plant combinations and names of plants you’d like to grow in your own garden.

Many of the public gardens also have guided tours, workshops and special events throughout the summer.

Among the pick of the crop are:

Blickling Estate, Blickling, Norwich, Norfolk NR11 6NF

Blickling Hall is one of England’s great Jacobean houses, widely believed to be the home to Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. The beautiful parkland houses a glorious lake and woodland, offering plenty of picnicking spots. After tucking in, let the kids discover the secret garden, investigate the ancient temple and smell the wonderful citrus trees in the orangery. (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling-estate; phone 01263 738030)

Alnwick Gardens, Denwick Lane, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1YU

This immense site is perfect for the family. Not only does it house one of the country’s largest collections of European plants, it also has plenty to interest younger family members too. There is an amazing treehouse plus water features in the serpent garden - where children may be inadvertently squirted. For others, a visit to the famous poison garden is a must. (www.alnwickgarden.com; phone 01665 511350)

Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 4SJ

Enjoy a satisfying stroll at Dunham Massey’s 30-acre estate this summer, one of the great gardens of the North West. Its new rose garden features more than 160 varieties of stunning roses, and kids can search for quiz clues in the garden. (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunham-massey; 0161 941 1025)

Scampston Walled Garden, Malton, North Yorkshire

If you love contemporary design and innovative planting, don’t miss a visit to Scampston Walled Garden in Malton. The four-and-a-half acre 18th century garden has been transformed into nine individual rooms separated by formal beech hedging, each room different from the other.

Venturing from room to room, you’ll find a sea of colour one minute, then the next, you’ll find minimal green areas.(www.scampston.co.uk; phone 01944 759111).