Gardens Of Somerset Gardeners World

All tours on this holiday have now departed. Future departure dates will be confirmed in due course.

  • Kilver Court Gardens, as featured on BBC Gardeners World
  • Private tour and dinner at Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens’ gardens at Hestercombe
  • Lunch and visit to the gardens at The Newt 
  • Stay at the atmospheric Castle Hotel in Taunton

Our tailor-made tour of Somerset is designed to give you a full taste of Somerset garden life, with great eating and inspiring talks from leading gardeners. We’ll be based in the superb Castle Hotel in Taunton, an ivy-clad four-star retreat famed for its food. It is one of the UK’s most historic hotels dating back, in parts, some 1000 years and run for more than 60 years by the Chapman family. A relaxing start to your stay on Sunday includes a welcome drink, introductory talk from your host and guide, Sally Nex, and private dinner with wine.

“Somerset is a hidden gem for gardeners – home to intimate country house gardens and cutting edge designer spaces, plus great food. Explore it with us, in comfort and safety, on our bespoke tour, led by local resident and magazine regular Sally Nex".

Lucy Hall Editor Gardeners World magazine

Your host and guide - SALLY NEX

Sally is no stranger to Gardeners World readers, having contributed extensively over the past few years.  Somerset resident, expert and enthusiast, Sally is the perfect host and guide for this tour.

ITINERARY

6th September Itinerary

Day 1: Check in independently to Castle Hotel, Taunton.
Welcome drink, introductory talk from your host and guide, Sally Nex and private dinner with wine.

Day 2: Broadleigh Gardens Bulbs, lunch in Bruton at At the Chapel and Batcombe House Gardens.
Morning visit to Broadleigh Gardens Bulbs, a family run business, with an attractive display garden, which has been leading the field in the propagation and mail-order retail of small bulbs for over 40 years. As well as a full range of cyclamen, snowdrops, S.African bulbs and woodlanders, they hold the National Collection of Alec Gray hybrids – miniature daffodils and have a historic collection of unusual daffodil varieties and species. There will be the opportunity to purchase some top quality bulbs here as a lasting souvenir of this superb trip. After lunch at the excellent At the Chapel restaurant in the trendy town of Bruton, we head to Batcombe House for a guided tour of the wonderful gardens created by garden designer, Libby Russell over the past two decades. Tea and cake will be served at the end of the tour. Evening free.

Day 3: Kilver Court , Wells Palace and Yeo Valley Gardens.
Our first visit of the day is to the gardens at Kilver Court. Featured on BBC Gardeners World and elsewhere, the gardens are beautifuilly framed by the sweeping curves of the famous Charlton Viaduct and are a quirky delight for visitors. The three and a half acres of gardens are owned by Roger Saul, the founder of Mulberry and a renowned amateur gardener and plantsman, who will meet our group and give an introductory talk about his passion for these gardens. We then head to England’s smallest Cathedral city to visit the gardens of the Bishops Palace in Wells, where time will be allowed for individual exploration and lunch. Finally it’s off to Yeo Valley’s organic gardens, which cover an area of some 6.5 acres with a vast array of edible plants. Evening free


Day 4: East Lambrook Manor, Tintinhull Garden and dinner at Hestercombe.
A packed day and evening in store today, so be sure to fortify yourself with the Castle’s excellent breakfast. First of all we visit Margery Fish's iconic cottage garden at East Lambrook Manor, before heading to the National Trust's Tintinhull Garden, Somerset, is a delightful formal gardens, complete with working kitchen garden and orchard. Mid-afternoon, return to the hotel to freshen up, before travelling the short distance to the magical gardens, designed by Gertude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens, and house at Hestercombe, where there will be time to explore the magnificent gardens and house before enjoying a welcome reception and three-course dinner with wine.


Day 5: Lytes Cary , lunch and garden tour at the Newt and farewell afternoon tea at the Castle.
This morning’s garden is a National Trust treasure, Lytes Cary, an intimate manor house with Arts and Crafts-style garden. From here we will travel to the renowned Newt, a fabulous Georgian estate with luxurious hotel and exquisite grounds and gardens, both decorative and functional in providing vegetables for the hotel’s restaurant and garden café, where we will enjoy lunch before visiting the gardens. Finally, it’s back to the Castle to enjoy its famous afternoon tea, a fitting farewell to a wonderful few days.


PLEASE NOTE: This is a very busy itinerary visiting some sizeable gardens and involving a considerable amount of walking with little or no access to assistance. Please bear this in mind when booking this tour.


NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.


19th September Itinerary

Day 1: Check in independently to Castle Hotel, Taunton.
Welcome drink, introductory talk from your host and guide, Sally Nex and private dinner with wine.

Day 2: Broadleigh Gardens Bulbs, lunch in Bruton at At the Chapel and Charles Dowding’s Homeacre Gardens.
Morning visit to Broadleigh Gardens Bulbs, a family run business, with an attractive display garden, which has been leading the field in the propagation and mail-order retail of small bulbs for over 40 years. As well as a full range of cyclamen, snowdrops, S.African bulbs and woodlanders, they hold the National Collection of Alec Gray hybrids – miniature daffodils and have a historic collection of unusual daffodil varieties and species. There will be the opportunity to purchase some top quality bulbs here as a lasting souvenir of this superb trip. After lunch at the excellent At the Chapel restaurant in the trendy town of Bruton, we head to Charles Dowding’s “no-dig” organic Homeacre gardens at Alhampton for a talk from Charles who will be on hand throughout the afternoon to explain his ideas and methods, that he propagated in the early 1980s and which have been enormously influential from his writing and broadcasting. Evening free.

Day 3: Kilver Court , Wells Palace and Yeo Valley Gardens.
Our first visit of the day is to the gardens at Kilver Court. Featured on BBC Gardeners World and elsewhere, the gardens are beautifuilly framed by the sweeping curves of the famous Charlton Viaduct and are a quirky delight for visitors. The three and a half acres of gardens are owned by Roger Saul, the founder of Mulberry and a renowned amateur gardener and plantsman, who will meet our group and give an introductory talk about his passion for these gardens. We then head to England’s smallest Cathedral city to visit the gardens of the Bishops Palace in Wells, where time will be allowed for individual exploration and lunch. Finally it’s off to Yeo Valley’s organic gardens, which cover an area of some 6.5 acres with a vast array of edible plants. Evening free

Day 4: East Lambrook Manor, Tintinhull Garden and dinner at Hestercombe.
A packed day and evening in store today, so be sure to fortify yourself with the Castle’s excellent breakfast. First of all we visit Margery Fish's iconic cottage garden at East Lambrook Manor, before heading to the National Trust's Tintinhull Garden, Somerset, is a delightful formal gardens, complete with working kitchen garden and orchard. Mid-afternoon, return to the hotel to freshen up, before travelling the short distance to the magical gardens, designed by Gertude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens, and house at Hestercombe, where there will be time to explore the magnificent gardens and house before enjoying a welcome reception and three-course dinner with wine.

Day 5: Lytes Cary , lunch and garden tour at the Newt and farewell afternoon tea at the Castle.
This morning’s garden is a National Trust treasure, Lytes Cary, an intimate manor house with Arts and Crafts-style garden. From here we will travel to the renowned Newt, a fabulous Georgian estate with luxurious hotel and exquisite grounds and gardens, both decorative and functional in providing vegetables for the hotel’s restaurant and garden café, where we will enjoy lunch before visiting the gardens. Finally, it’s back to the Castle to enjoy its famous afternoon tea, a fitting farewell to a wonderful few days.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a very busy itinerary visiting some sizeable gardens and involving a considerable amount of walking with little or no access to assistance. Please bear this in mind when booking this tour.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.


Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 49 passengers.



INCLUDED

  • Four nights' bed and breakfast at the four-star Castle Hotel, Taunton,  based on shared occupancy of a standard  twin/double room
  • Welcome reception, welcome talk and first night private three-course dinner with wine
  • Private visit, welcome reception and dinner with wine at Hestercombe
  • Lunch at the 'At the Chapel' Restaurant, Bruton
  • Lunch at the Newt Garden Café
  • Farewell afternoon tea at the Castle
  • All talks, guided tours and admissions with welcome talks as detailed
  • Coach touring itinerary throughout
  • Tour manager, Sally Nex, throughout and visit from Gardeners' World editor, Lucy Hall

NOT INCLUDED

  • Transport to the hotel is not included
  • Holiday insurance
  • Single room supplement
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
  • Porterage and gratuities

HOTEL

Castle Hotel, Taunton

A big part of the appeal if this lovely tour is our base, the superb four-star Castle Hotel in Taunton.  It is one of the UK’s most historic hotels dating back, in parts, some 1000 years. Family-run for more than 60 years by the Chapman family, it is a wonderful place to stay and ideally located for the visits on this tour.

Castle Hotel, Taunton Website

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Overall Impression

We thoroughly enjoyed the tour of Somerset gardens with our fantastic double act of David Hurrion and Sally Nix. What a treat to have two such horticultural experts at our beck and call!! We gleaned all kinds of gardening tips and know how and Sally gave an excellent talk on gardening the low carbon way prior to our dinner on the first evening. Inevitably we would have enjoyed a longer stay at some gardens and a shorter one at others but that is just the way of the world. We will definitely be keeping a lookout in the magazine next year for possibilities. Our coach driver was also excellent and had some tricky negotiating to do. The choice of places to visit was really good with plenty of divesity. We met some lovely people among our fellow guests which was an additional bonus! Thank you and welll done .

Review by Day who travelled 06-September-2021


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The tour had the right balance of 'free' time and organised talks and the vast majority of gardens visited were outstanding. All meals provided whether at hotel or elsewhere were excellent. My only negative comment would be the hotel room I was allocated as a 'single' for which I obviously paid a supplement. It was very cramped. Finally I would like to commend not only David Herrion but also our coach driver Gordon who negotiated some very tricky narrow country lanes and kept us safe.

Review by Haslam who travelled 06-September-2021


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Very impressed by David Hurrion and Lucy Hall who were both approachable, knowledgeable and good fun to be with. We were a bit disappointed about some of the itinerary changes but we do understand that difficulties can cause alterations ,we were just particularly keen on some of the things that were cancelled.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 06-September-2021


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 06-September-2021


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We felt that there was a bit too much rushing between gardens. The day with 3 visits was too packed, with not enough time at Wells. The communal dinners on the first and last nights were too long winded for us - the service was very slow and both dinners took over 2.5 hours. On the positive side, we saw some marvellous gardens and the fellow group members were very congenial. The two guides were excellent - friendly, approachable, knowledgeable.

Review by Kidd who travelled 06-September-2021


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Unlike the majority of guests on this tour, I work full-time so I have only seen this email now. It was a very enjoyable tour - my friend and I enjoyed it very much. We made our own travel plans and there were no "sightseeing tours" as such , so the above don't all apply. Tony Russell was superb. A top-class choice for this tour. Informative, engaging, lovely anecdotes, helpful and patient. We didn't miss Sally Nex (sadly). The Castle Hotel was very nice - slightly odd being in Taunton when many of the gardens were an hour to the East. Food very good at the hotel. Covid restrictions still in place but we all coped fine. The gardens were of 3 types : corporate (Yeo, The Newt), National Trust (Lytes Cary and Tintinhull) and the private ones. Batcome House, East Lambrook Manor and Stoberry were a joy. The visit and dinner at Hestercombe was lovely. One strong suggestion : on the first evening, start the welcome reception an hour earlier. For many of the guests, eating at 8-9pm (after Tony's very good talk) was much too late. Most of them probably won't say anything but they ALL mentioned it the next morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I wonder if anyone else thought The Newt was like DisneyWorld - with a garden. Perhaps it was just me.)

Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-August-2021


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Wonderful Sally and David , Checked everything , full of information and with a good sense of humour. gardens were wonderful and inspiring. Just a lovely trip to be well recommended.

Review by Corrall who travelled 06-September-2021


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Tony Russell (tour manager) was excellent and congratulations to him for stepping in a tour guide at the last moment. The only small criticism was for many of the gardens there was not enough time given for looking around, particularly when time for own lunch was included.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-August-2021


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The journey by coach from the hotel to the gardens was longer than desirable. It was over an hour each day in each direction. I could be more specific about all the gardens which varied considerably.

Review by Young who travelled 30-August-2021


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We enjoyed our Gardens of Somerset holiday. Tony Russell our tour manager was excellent!!

Review by Reade who travelled 30-August-2021


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-August-2021


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-August-2021


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Review by Cowen who travelled 30-August-2021


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A very enjoyable tour with an excellent tour manager (Tony Russell - please pass on our thanks to him again). Two comments: a) a central tour timetable to refer to in the hotel foyer would have been useful with bus departure times each day etc. b) a lovely hotel with very attentive and friendly service. However, it would have been useful to have a mini-fridge in the room to keep water cool etc. Otherwise a great experience. We have done two tours with Travel Editions (Castles of North Wales; Gardens of Somerset) and have enoted them both; so many thanks again.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-August-2021


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