Stately Homes and Beautiful Landscapes
5 days/4 nights -- This is a suggested itinerary for private departures so flexible to suit your individual requests
The dramatic Northern landscapes of The Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors are home to some of the UK’s best gardens. There are sculpted formal stately home gardens, lavish parklands, herberies and local stone cottage gems. Our journey will take us through the scenic landscapes that inspired James Herriot. Experience British Gardens through the ages, waterfalls and wildlife viewing opportunities. Explore charming market towns, magnificent ruined abbeys and monasteries and sample the best of local treats.
A highlight of your gardening adventure can be a full day experiencing the largest independent flower show in the UK, Harrogate Flower Show at Great Yorkshire Showground. The show is on twice annually, in April and September. Please contact us for specific date information.
This tour begins and ends in York. York is the ‘heart of Yorkshire’ and easily accessible via rail from London Kings X (2 hours direct,) Manchester (1.5 hours direct) and Edinburgh (2.5 hours direct.)
York is a fabulous walled city that has much to offer its visitors! There’s the splendid Minster, the city centre castle, the medieval shopping ‘Shambles,’ Jorkvik Viking Centre, the Roman walls and heritage, the 10 acre listed Botanical gardens around the York Museum and the gardens of the Treasurer’s House. Also possible, the York Quilt Museum and ‘Crafter’s Trail’ as options. York is well worth ample time either pre or post tour. SGT is happy to assist with adding accommodation, rail tickets and The York Pass for attractions to your tour package as you wish.
Day 1 Tuesday
We will depart our meeting point in York at approximately 9am. Our day will spend time on the edge of the sometimes heather-covered North Yorkshire Moors.
Our first place of interest is The Walled Garden of Scampston. This contemporary gem was created by Piet Oudolf in the setting of an 18th Century kitchen garden space. The traditional garden surrounds the family home at Scampston, the estate parklands originally designed by ‘Capability’ Brown. The Walled Garden, a 4-acre gem divided into 9 unique areas, has been called a 21st Century ‘plantsman’s paradise.’
Also today, there’s what might just be the most spectacular stately home in Yorkshire, Castle Howard. This beautiful palace, recently used in the Brideshead Revisited film, is still lived in by the Howard family who built it in the 18th Century. You’ll have free time here to explore the house and grounds. The gardens feature temples, lakes, statuary, fountains and acres of parklands. In the Walled Garden, enjoy the 18th Century collection of roses and delphiniums and meander the pathways of seasonal displays of magnolias, azaleas and rhododendrons.
Our overnight location is the charming town of Ripon, a place worth some time during our stay over the next few days. You can see the captivating 7th Century cathedral and the town itself is a meandering of medieval streets dotted with tea rooms and arts & crafts shops.
NIGHT STOP: Ripon
Day 2 Wednesday
RHS Harlow Carr is an expansive and tranquil space dominated by water, stone and woodland blended into its Dales surroundings. Wander streamside through the scented garden, the kitchen garden and admire the variety of planting styles. There’s the ‘British Gardens through the Ages’ exhibit to discover. While we’re here, maybe try a famous Yorkshire Tea from the on-site Betty’s Tea Room?
The winner of the BBC Gardeners ‘World Best Garden of 2010’ award, Harewood House is also on our day’s agenda. Another massive extravaganza of beauty, the 100 acres boasts plants from around the globe set inside a landscape designed by ‘Capability’ Brown. Experience the Himalayan Garden with its winding gorge pathways bursting with primulas, orchids, cobra lilies and blue poppies. There is an opulent formal garden, walled orchard garden, aviary and Red Kite viewing opportunities. MOBILITY NOTE: Harewood House contains some quite steep pathways which can be rather slippery when wet. There is an estate bus available for those that wish but it can only access part of the garden areas.
NIGHT STOP: Ripon, as above
Day 3 Thursday
Mount Grace Priory is an interesting stop, a monastery considered the best preserved Carthusian priory in Britain. The herb gardens here have been refurbished using species prevalent in the early 16th Century, creating a stimulating, heavily fragrant atmosphere. As the herbs are attractive to wildlife, the Priory is home to many animals including a colony of stoats. If we’re very lucky, we may catch a glimpse!
Richmond is called one of the nicest towns in England, situated in the heart of the Dales so a worthy choice for our lunch stop. The castle dominates the town and the steep streets are around the pretty central cobbled market square. We will discover some small local gardens during our time here.
Also today the charming landscapes around the Yorkshire Dales will be our focus. This is the area that inspired local vet Alf Wight, better known as James Herriot, to pen the All Creatures Great and Small books. Perhaps something to read prior to the tour!
NIGHT STOP: Ripon, as above
Day 4 Friday
Our day is another full of blossoms and blooms! Harrogate Flower Show is widely regarded as the UK’s biggest and most prestigious independent gardening event. Taking place in the Great Yorkshire Showground arena, enjoy flower halls crammed with exhibitions, competition entries from all over the country vying for the coveted ‘Best-in-Show’ awards. The show includes a vast range of plants and garden-related products, demonstrations, a cookery theatre, crafts & gifts and specialist food outlets to sample local Yorkshire treats.
NIGHT STOP: Ripon, as above
Day 5 Saturday
Yet even more amazing houses and gardens of opulence today! We’ll go to nearby Fountains Abbey, where the Skell River Valley has been transformed into a spectacular Georgian water garden featuring canals, elegant ponds and water cascades. In this expansive landscape, there are medieval Abbey ruins, classical temples and statuary to meander.
We will also call in for a visit to Newby Hall, used recently for a film version of Mansfield Park. This 25 acre Garden features a famous double herbaceous borders flanked by several focus compartments. We can enjoy the National Collection of cornus, a water garden, roses and a contemporary sculpture park.
We will return to York by early evening.
Please note: All attraction opening times are correct at time of printing this website. While we will do our utmost to include all of the properties mentioned as central visits, we reserve the right to change an attraction should it become impossible to deliver a planned visit due to changes in opening days or times that we could not have been aware of at the time of loading this tour to our website.
Oft imitated, never duplicated! This is an original SGT itinerary, property of Special Group Tours and to be used only with express permission/in conjunction with SGT.