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RHS Chelsea Flower Show, English Gardens of Kent and Cotswolds Tour


Includes RHS membership and a full day ticket on a ‘members only’ day to the famed Chelsea Flower Show

8 days/8 nights


"I loved the diversity of the gardens, the regions through which we travelled, the vehicle was comfortable. I really enjoyed travelling in the small van, allowing me to get to know the group I was travelling with. [The guide] was very flexible and responsive to requests such as stops for photos...also enjoyed the other activities between gardens such as wine tasting, Chagall stained glass windows, towns in which to stroll and photograph, immersed in the local culture."

Overviewicon Itineraryicon


Day 1 London



Welcome to London! Today is free so you have the chance to relax, recover from your international journey and go sightseeing in the capital as you wish.


What to do today? The choice is yours! Your tour hotel is across from ‘museum quarter’ so visit the Natural History Museum, Science Museum or the V&A. Alternatively you can walk to Kensington and Knighsbridge top shopping like Harrods; or hop on the tube to any of London’s central attractions.


Another choice is visiting one of London’s top gardens! Kew is a lavish 121 hectares of gardens and botanical glasshouses. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to the world's largest collection of living plants, more than 30,000 different kinds. Spoilt for choice!


OVERNIGHT: London, bed and breakfast (accommodation included in package)

Property: Rembrandt or similar https://www.sarova-rembrandthotel.com/

Day 2 Sussex Gardens



Your tour guide will meet you in the lobby of your tour hotel at approximately 09:00 this morning and we’ll begin our gardens adventure with a garden that requires no introduction – the RHS Wisley is known the world over! We will spend ample time here, exploring the rock garden, alpine garden, wild garden, formal rose courtyards and all that this wonderful place has to offer.


The gardens at Gravetye Manor are a very special place, considered amongst the most influential in English gardening history. The manor became the home of the revolutionary gardener William Robinson in 1884. Today Gravetye is a mature, charming and very beautiful garden. The tree line and the masses of naturalised bulbs show Robinsons' genius in a way that only he could have imagined over 100 years ago. In 2010, Tom Coward became Head Gardener; his focus is not only on conserving and re-creating Robinson's work but also progressing the garden in homage to his experimental style of gardening.


Together enjoy a group lunch at the renowned restaurant at Gravetye Manor. This experience is all part of the garden, as the head chef says, “fresh ingredients from the kitchen garden make cooking here an absolute joy.”


We stay for 3 nights in the county of Kent, sometimes called “The Garden of England,” an area of lovely countryside dotted with oast houses and sometimes blooming lavender fields.


Overnight: Kent, bed and breakfast + group lunch

Property: Royal Wells Hotel, George Cranbrook or similar property; http://www.royalwells.co.uk/; http://www.thegeorgehotelkent.co.uk/

Day 3 Kent Gardens



Hole Park is a 15 acre garden surrounded by open parklands, massed bluebells in season in the woodland walk, standard wisteria, orchids in flower meadow, yew hedges, large lawns and specimen trees. First opened in 1927, Hole offers a walled garden, pools, mixed borders combined with bulbs, rhododendrons & azaleas.


Also today, the fabulous Sissinghurst, Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicholson’s world famous garden. Explore this intimate and intricate garden and to visit those parts of her home open to the public. Here find a Tudor tower complete with Vita’s workshop, a walled herb garden, mixed border gardens, an oast house museum, a white garden and a cottage garden. Certainly something to delight all interests!


Overnight: Kent, same property as above; dinner, bed and breakfast

Day 4 Kent Gardens



Another gem planted by a well-known horticulturalist is Great Dixter, once the home of Christopher Lloyd. He designed the stunning gardens based on the Arts & Crafts style framework plan made by his father and Sir Edwin Lutyens. Enjoy the variety of plantings, including the peacock topiary, wild meadow flowers, mixed borders, the famous Long Border, ponds and the exuberant Exotic Garden. Here too is the largest surviving timber-framed halls in the country.


The rest of our day will be ‘Guide’s Choice’ as there are a variety of choices to consider. Options include small, local cottage and farm gardens from the Yellow Book Gardens for Charity Scheme; there are rose and clematis walkways, rock gardens, sculpted yew hedges and ponds with water lilies all on offer. Some choices are traditional style, others unique and quirky. There are several RHS recommended properties along our route too. Maybe even a cheeky train ride or a short visit to Rudyard Kipling’s home? Your guide/companion will ‘choose your garden adventure.’ Spoilt for choice! Whichever garden chosen, you should experience the personal touch of meeting the locals and perhaps a bit of sharing of gardening secrets!


Overnight: Kent, same property as above; dinner, bed and breakfast

Day 5 Surrey & Gloucestershire Gardens



Today, from Kent and into the lower Cotswolds region. Make the way through the county of Surrey, the area that famed garden designer Gertrude Jekyll called home.


By special appointment, a visit to a garden called “enchanting” by the Sunday Telegraph, Vann Gardens. Here in the 5-acre wonderland, we can explore the garden ‘rooms’ that boast a variety of styles, both formal and cottage including the water garden designed and planted by Gertrude Jekyll in 1911. (Note, sadly our lovely host of Vann Gardens Mary Caroe passed away spring 2020. Vann's future is currently not known. We will substitute appropriately should this gem unfortunately close it's doors. RIP Mary, THANK YOU for so many years of wonderful memories!!!)


Another afternoon where we have scope of choice in the Gloucestershire area. One fine option is Abbey House, the labor of love created by ‘the naked gardeners’ Ian and Barbara Pollard. The 5 acre grounds of the town’s 16th century abbey has been transformed in recent years, a popular retreat bursting with a variety of colour – both flowers and the personalities of the designers. Famed gardener Alan Titchmarsh said about Abbey House, “The Wow factor is here in abundance!”


Overnight: Gloucestershire, dinner, bed and breakfast

Property: Hare & Hounds Tetbury or similar https://www.cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk/hare-and-hounds-hotel/

Day 6 Cotswolds Gardens



The Cotswolds region is famous for honey-thatch cottage villages. Each is unique and pretty in its own right and there are many opportunities for a stop in a tea or antique shop as time permits. With our small vehicle, we can get to where the larger coaches can’t and avoid the commercialized ‘honey pots’ to discover the best of the local treasures. This region offers a fine selection of local gardens, definitely lovely and noteworthy!


One main visit today is the gem Hidcote Manor Gardens. Created by horticulturist Lawrence Johnston, this garden consists of a series of small gardens within the whole, separated by walls and hedges of different species. It’s famed for rare shrubs, trees, herbaceous borders, and interesting plant species.


Overnight: Gloucestershire, same property as above; bed and breakfast

Day 7 Cotswolds Gardens; To London



Today a special visit before making the way back into London! By special appointment, a private group tour and lunch at Barnsley House. Featuring knot gardens, statues by Simon Verity, the Laburnum Walk and an ornamental fruit and vegetable garden, the grounds are among England’s most famous settings. It was Rosemary Verey who began redesigning Barnsley House’s gardens in the 1950s, to both critical acclaim and global interest.


Our group will enjoy a lunch together at Barnsley House. The Potager restaurant of Barnsley serves delicious, fresh and seasonal food all day. With our very own kitchen garden, we can even boast that our vegetables, salads and herbs are grown and picked on site (where possible) – you don’t get much fresher than that! Rosemary-infused oil, freshly-baked breads, fresh Barnsley garden vegetables and Cotswolds local produce is all on offer.


This afternoon we will make our way into London where individuals have the evening free to explore the capital city as they choose.




Property: Rembrandt or similar https://www.sarova-rembrandthotel.com/






Today is our grand finale, a full, Members Only day at the Chelsea Flower Show! One group transfer will be provided from your London hotel to the show in the morning and one group transfer back in the evening. You are welcomed to come and go from the show as you please using public transport. Your Member Day Chelsea ticket is valid from 8am – 8pm.


Enjoy a Farewell Dinner together at a local South Kensington restaurant.


OVERNIGHT: London, same property as above, bed and breakfast + dinner




One group departure transfer from your London tour hotel to Heathrow Airport is included in your package. Or you may choose to extend your stay independently.



Prefer to stay on in London? Optional tour add-ons in London are also available for a supplemental fee including airport transfers, additional nights London accommodation, “Big Bus” tickets, London transport passes, London city tours or private touring extensions visiting some of the glorious London area gardens such as Syon House, Kenwood and more. Please discuss options with us!




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 beyond our control.



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.


What Your Tour Package Includes:

-Annual RHS membership, 1 per person or per household as appropriate

-Full day tickets, 1 per person, on Member Only Day to Chelsea Flower Show

-7 touring days with personal driver/guide in 16 seat mini-coach vehicle

-Vehicle costs including petrol, parking, tolls, taxes

-Arrival & departure transfers for London Heathrow Airport, 1 each direction for group (or arrive/depart independently if you prefer)

-Roundtrip transfers between London hotel & Chelsea Flower Show, 1 each direction for group

-3 nts accommodation London, Rembrandt Hotel or similar property, with breakfast daily

-3 nts accommodation Kent, George Cranbrook or similar property, with breakfast daily and 2 dinners

-2 nts accommodation Hare & Hounds Tetbury or similar, with breakfast daily and 1 dinner

-Porterage at each hotel

-Welcome lunch at Gravetye Manor Hotel or similar

-Farewell dinner in London, 2 - 3 courses with water/coffee/tea/wine included

-Entrance fees & guided walk with gardener at Gravetye Manor

-Entrance fees, guided walk with gardener and lunch at Barnsley House

-Entrance fees & guided walk with owner w tea/biscuits at Hole Park

-Entrance fees to RHS Wisley, Sissinghurst, Great Dixter, Hidecote and 3 TBA 'Guide's Choice gardens; note some are RHS membership entry while others are regular paid entrances

The final package inclusions may fluctuate based on 2021 garden opening policies.


Current package cost does NOT include:


Meals, tours or entrance fees not specifically mentioned in the above itinerary

Theatre/opera/concert/optional tour tickets - available to be added on an individual guest basis, subject to ticket availability, for the appropriate supplemental cost



Pre and/or post tour accommodation, transfers, day tours and other optional add-ons available for the appropriate supplemental cost. Please discuss your needs with us, SGT is at your service!

Mapicon Why SGT?icon

The Special Group Tours Advantage is our unique and intimate understanding of what you expect traveling in the UK and Europe. We have not only visited but have spent many years living in and loving the cultures you will experience down the ‘B’ Roads and off the beaten track. We have worked with local suppliers and our guide/companion team for over a decade, creating unique special interest itineraries. Special Group Tours offers our “insider” knowledge to you.


The SGT Small Group Touring Concept is traveling with just 4 - 14 guests per departure. It is our aim to introduce you to the 'real' country and its people, not just ticking the boxes of a standardized route and treating you as an individual and not a number. Our concept allows for a leisurely touring pace and flexibility to get off the beaten track to discover hidden gems. Of course you'll see the major sites but so much more too!


At Special Group Tours, it is our priority that you have the most enjoyable holiday possible. You deserve it!

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