A trip to England typically involves a stop in London to see famous sites like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, or the British Museum for all of its art treasures.

But, travelers rarely think to include a visit to some of England's most famous and spectacular gardens which boast some of the most beautiful countryside anywhere.

Plan to spend at least a few days in the Cotswolds for a rare botanical experience.


About the Cotswolds Area

The Cotswolds holds some of the most picturesque gardens in all of England. The landscape was originally established for sheep grazing. Now, the area prospers as a mixture of arable farmland and livestock pastures.

As a designated "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty," there is no urban territory in the Cotswolds. Chipping Campden, other small market towns, and lovely little villages, such as Broadway, are the only “condensed” zones that you will find.

During April and May, the Vale of Evesham, and area around Cotswolds that is famous for its orchards, is filled with flower blossoms from apple, pear, and plum trees. Throughout June and July, hollyhocks bloom everywhere, even in the cracks of sidewalks and footpaths. All summer and continuing through late fall, expect to see cottage walls and fences covered with brightly-colored roses in full bloom.

The temperate climate and traditionally prosperous domain, allowed for majestic manor homes and other fine houses to be built out of the land’s beautiful honey-colored limestone. The magnificent gardens of these homes were designed by England's most famous arboretum designers, including Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, and William Kent.

Spetchley Parks Gardens consists of 30 acres of property that belong to the John Berkeley family.

This haven is filled with blooming treasures from all over the world. The estate's history dates back to the Tudor period. At the beginning of the 19th century, noted London architect John Tasker designed the Berkeley family Georgian mansion, a Palladian-style structure made from Bath stone.

The first dwelling on the property was located on the north end of the garden pool. The Tudor home and its protective moat had been passed through many wealthy families, each one adding some unique characteristics before Rowland Berkeley, a wealth banker and wool merchant purchased it in 1605. He then passed the home on to his son, Sir Robert Berkeley.

The younger Berkeley was a Royalist judge under King Charles I. In 1651, just before the Battle of Worcester, a band of unhappy Scottish Presbyterians and Royalists burned the house to the ground to prevent Cromwell from seizing it for his headquarters. The stables were converted into what became the estate until 1811 when the Georgian mansion was completed.

Despite the fact that an outbreak of Dutch elm disease in the 1970's killed the famous avenues of trees, the rest of the sprawling parkland of the 17th century is essentially the same. Generations of Berkeley family members have developed the gardens; Berkeley and his son expanded the sizeable collection.

A visit to the Cotswolds area will provide visitors with a glimpse into the lives of the villagers surrounded by rolling hills and breathtaking landscape in the spectacular English countryside. Take the opportunity to learn the history of these magnificent estates and their horticulture and love of gardening.