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Unveiling the best gardens in Devon to visit

best gardens in devon

A day spent exploring some of the best gardens in Devon is a day well spent in my book, so I hope that this post will give you some ideas of the great places you can explore.

Devon, with its rolling hills and charming villages, is a paradise for nature lovers. But did you know it’s also home to a stunning array of gardens? From grand estates bursting with vibrant blooms to hidden sanctuaries offering tranquility,there’s a garden experience waiting for everyone in Devon. Whether you’re seeking a family day out filled with fun and exploration, or a peaceful escape to reconnect with nature, Devon’s gardens have something special to offer. So, grab your walking shoes and get ready to be enchanted by Devon’s horticultural gems!

RHS Garden Rosemoor: A Floral Feast for All Seasons

RHS Garden Rosemoor

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of the Torridge Valley, RHS Garden Rosemoor is a haven for flower enthusiasts and garden aficionados alike. As the largest Royal Horticultural Society garden in the South West of England, Rosemoor boasts over 65 acres of meticulously designed landscapes, offering a breathtaking display of horticultural diversity throughout the year.

Step into a world of vibrant colors as you explore the famed Rose Gardens, home to over 2,000 roses – the largest collection in the South West. Breathe in the intoxicating fragrance of classic and modern varieties, from delicate climbers to flamboyant hybrid teas. Beyond the roses, Rosemoor unfolds like a living tapestry. Wander through the vibrant borders bursting with seasonal blooms, or lose yourself in the tranquil haven of the Fruit and Vegetable Garden, where nature’s bounty flourishes.

For a touch of the exotic, explore the steamy atmosphere of the tropical Glasshouse, or marvel at the architectural wonder of the Great Dell, a sunken valley adorned with waterfalls and mature trees. Rosemoor caters to all ages, with a dedicated Children’s Garden offering imaginative play spaces and a chance to learn about the wonders of plants. Don’t forget to refuel at the on-site restaurant or enjoy a Devonshire cream tea on the terrace, soaking in the picturesque views of the surrounding countryside. RHS Garden Rosemoor promises a delightful escape, offering a taste of horticultural excellence and a chance to reconnect with the beauty of nature.

Finest Gardens of the South West by Tony Russell is a beautifully illustrated guide to the most stunning gardens in Southwest England. This book provides in-depth descriptions, historical insights, and vivid photographs of each garden, making it an essential resource for garden enthusiasts and visitors to the region.

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finest gardens in the south west

Buckland Abbey Gardens: A Tapestry of History and Horticulture


Steeped in history and overflowing with botanical splendor, Buckland Abbey Gardens offer a unique experience for visitors in Devon. Nestled on the banks of the River Tamar, the gardens were originally designed in the 12th century by Cistercian monks, renowned for their horticultural prowess. Today, these historic grounds seamlessly blend medieval charm with modern enhancements, creating a captivating tapestry of past and present.

Wander through the serene Abbey Cloisters, where ancient stone walls provide a tranquil backdrop for a vibrant display of seasonal flowers. Explore the historic Orchard, where heritage apple trees heavy with fruit evoke memories of bygone eras. Delve into the productive Kitchen Garden, a testament to the monks’ self-sufficiency, where rows of vegetables and neatly trimmed herbs offer a glimpse into traditional gardening practices.

Beyond the cultivated areas, discover the romantic charm of the Woodland Walk. Meander under a canopy of mature trees, where sunlight filters through the leaves and native wildflowers paint the ground with vibrant colors. For an extra dose of history, explore the picturesque Buckland Abbey itself, a former monastery transformed into a beautiful Tudor mansion. Buckland Abbey Gardens offer a delightful outing for the whole family, promising a captivating blend of historical intrigue, horticultural wonders, and breathtaking natural beauty.

Bicton Park: A Landscape Masterpiece Where Nature and History Collide

Bicton Park ducks

Bicton Park, nestled near the East Devon coast, is a wonderland where meticulously designed landscapes meet captivating remnants of the past. Originally a medieval deer park, Bicton was transformed in the 18th century by the visionary Rolle family into a masterpiece of landscape design. Today, it offers a unique blend of formal gardens, sweeping parkland, and captivating architectural features.

Immerse yourself in the grandeur of the Bicton Gardens, a testament to the 18th-century passion for picturesque landscapes. Explore the Italian Garden, a sunken haven adorned with classical statues and vibrant borders showcasing seasonal blooms. Stroll along the Red Walk, a dramatic pathway lined with red sandstone, offering panoramic vistas across the rolling countryside. For a touch of whimsy, discover the quirky Grotto, a hidden retreat adorned with shells and mosaics, whispering tales of a bygone era.

Beyond the formal gardens, wander through the vast expanse of Bicton Park. Rolling hills dotted with sheep offer a sense of timeless tranquility. Follow the meandering River Exe, a haven for wildlife, and marvel at the architectural wonder of the Bicton College, a stunning example of Grecian Revival architecture. Bicton Park caters to all ages, with dedicated children’s play areas and a network of trails perfect for exploration.

A visit to Bicton Park promises a captivating journey through time and nature. Here, meticulously designed landscapes intertwine with remnants of a rich past, creating a truly unforgettable experience for the whole family.

Clovelly Court Gardens: A Sun-Kissed Sanctuary Steeped in History

clovelly court gardens

Clovelly Court Gardens, nestled in the charming coastal village of Clovelly, offer a delightful escape for garden enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Protected from the coastal winds by a high stone wall, these enchanting gardens boast a rich heritage dating back over 600 years. Originally designed as a Victorian kitchen garden to supply the grand Clovelly Court mansion, the gardens have been lovingly restored in recent years, showcasing a captivating blend of tradition and modern innovation.

Step inside the sheltered haven and be greeted by the intoxicating fragrance of exotic fruits ripening in the meticulously restored Victorian glasshouses. Luscious peaches, apricots, and grapes bask in the warmth, a testament to the microclimate created by the Gulf Stream’s influence. Wander through the productive vegetable plots, bursting with seasonal produce, and admire the rows of neatly pruned fruit trees, laden with apples, pears, and even the occasional mulberry.

Beyond the utilitarian aspects lie pockets of pure beauty. Herbaceous borders explode with color throughout the summer,while ancient lime trees lining the perimeter provide a sense of timeless tranquility. Explore the Judas tree, a magnificent specimen considered the oldest of its kind in North Devon, its delicate purple flowers offering a splash of color in late spring.

Clovelly Court Gardens cater to all types of visitors. Pick up fresh, homegrown produce and plants from the honesty box,perfect for a taste of the garden’s bounty. Enjoy a refreshing drink or a light bite at the on-site cafe, taking in the picturesque views of Bideford Bay. Clovelly Court Gardens offer a delightful escape, promising a taste of horticultural history, a connection with nature’s bounty, and breathtaking coastal vistas.

The Enchanting Ensembles of Coleton Fishacre: A Fusion of Art and Nature

coleton fishacre

Nestled amidst the rolling hills and dramatic coastline of South Devon, the gardens at Coleton Fishacre offer a captivating fusion of art, horticulture, and breathtaking natural beauty. Originally the creation of acclaimed artist Dorothy Gladys Cole and her stepson, John Vere Cole, these gardens are a testament to their shared passion for plants, sculpture, and the creation of unique outdoor spaces.

Explore a series of interconnected “rooms,” each meticulously designed with a distinct character. Wander through the vibrant Lower Levell Garden, a riot of color where exotic plants from around the world mingle with native flora. Descend into the peaceful Shell Garden, a haven of tranquility adorned with seashells and featuring a centerpiece pool reflecting the ever-changing sky. Ascend to the Italian Garden, a sun-drenched terrace boasting panoramic coastal vistas and punctuated by classical sculptures.

Beyond the cultivated areas, discover the untamed beauty of the surrounding woodland. Follow meandering pathways beneath a canopy of mature trees, where sunlight dappled through the leaves creates a magical atmosphere. Explore hidden glades bursting with wildflowers and keep an eye out for the resident peacocks, adding a touch of grandeur to the natural landscape.

The gardens at Coleton Fishacre offer a unique experience for all ages. Art enthusiasts will delight in the sculptures seamlessly integrated into the landscape, while nature lovers can revel in the diversity of plant life. Families can enjoy exploring the various garden “rooms” and picnicking on the expansive lawns overlooking the coast. A visit to Coleton Fishacre promises a captivating journey through art, horticulture, and the timeless beauty of the Devon countryside.

Killerton House Gardens: A Journey Through Time and Artistic Vision

killerton gardens

Step back in time and explore the captivating world of Killerton House Gardens, nestled amidst the tranquil East Devon countryside. Originally designed in the 18th century by the accomplished landscape architect Lancelot “Capability” Brown, these gardens seamlessly blend sweeping parkland with intimate spaces, offering a glimpse into the changing tastes and trends of garden design throughout history.

Immerse yourself in the grandeur of the landscape park, a testament to Brown’s philosophy of creating natural-looking vistas. Rolling hills dotted with sheep and ancient oak trees evoke a sense of timeless beauty. Follow the meandering River Exe, a haven for wildlife, and admire the elegant Palladian architecture of Killerton House itself, a stunning example of 18th-century design.

Beyond the expansive parkland, discover hidden gems waiting to be explored. Delve into the enchanting Victorian walled garden, a riot of color where meticulously maintained flower beds showcase seasonal blooms. Explore the peaceful Japanese Garden, a haven of tranquility designed to evoke a sense of harmony with nature. Wander through the productive Kitchen Garden, where rows of vegetables and neatly trimmed herbs offer a glimpse into traditional self-sufficiency practices.

Killerton House Gardens cater to all types of visitors. Families can enjoy a game of hide-and-seek in the maze, or let loose in the dedicated children’s play area. History buffs can delve into the story of the house and gardens through informative exhibits and guided tours. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the sculptures dotting the landscape, adding a touch of artistic flair to the natural beauty. A visit to Killerton House Gardens promises a delightful escape, offering a captivating blend of historical significance, artistic vision, and breathtaking natural landscapes.

Lukesland Court Gardens: A Hidden Gem Where Time Stands Still

lukesland court

Nestled in the tranquil Exe Valley, Lukesland Court Gardens offer a captivating escape for those seeking a hidden gem brimming with horticultural charm and historical intrigue. Unlike the grand estates on this list, Lukesland boasts a more intimate atmosphere, a secret garden waiting to be discovered. Originally established in the 16th century, the gardens have evolved over the centuries, reflecting the changing styles and passions of their owners. Today, they offer a captivating blend of formal and informal elements, creating a delightful haven for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

Step inside the ancient walls and be greeted by the enchanting fragrance of roses climbing gracefully over traditional brickwork. Explore the Enclosed Garden, a peaceful haven bursting with seasonal blooms, meticulously maintained herbaceous borders, and mature trees casting dappled shade. Wander through the productive Kitchen Garden, where rows of vegetables and fruit trees stand as a testament to self-sufficiency practices of the past. Lukesland boasts a unique collection of ancient fruit trees, some believed to date back centuries, offering a glimpse into historical varieties.

Beyond the cultivated areas, discover the romantic charm of the Woodland Walk. Meander under a canopy of mature trees, where sunlight filters through the leaves and a carpet of wildflowers paints the ground with vibrant colors. Explore the hidden corners adorned with sculptures and follies, whispering tales of a bygone era. Lukesland Court Gardens cater to those seeking a slower pace. Enjoy a refreshing cream tea on the terrace overlooking the gardens, or curl up with a book in a secluded nook, enveloped by the tranquility of this hidden gem. A visit to Lukesland Court Gardens promises a delightful escape, offering a captivating blend of historical charm, horticultural intrigue, and a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Marwood Hill Gardens: A Secret Paradise for Plant Enthusiasts

marwood hill gardens

Tucked away in a secluded valley of North Devon lies Marwood Hill Gardens, a 20-acre haven bursting with botanical treasures. Unlike the grand estates on this list, Marwood Hill offers a more intimate and personal experience, a secret paradise waiting to be explored by passionate plant lovers. Created in the late 1950s by Dr. Jimmy Smart, a dedicated horticulturalist, the gardens are a testament to his lifelong love of plants.

Wander through a tapestry of color and texture, with each season bringing a new display. In spring, a vibrant carpet of snowdrops and daffodils awakens the garden, followed by the dazzling display of rhododendrons and camellias, boasting one of the largest national collections in the UK. As summer unfolds, herbaceous borders explode with color, while tranquil water features add a touch of serenity. Explore the national collection of Astilbes, boasting an impressive array of varieties with their feathery plumes in delicate shades.

Beyond the curated areas, discover hidden gems waiting to be unearthed. Explore the peaceful Bog Garden, a haven for moisture-loving plants like ferns and irises. Follow a winding path through the Wild Garden, a haven for wildflowers and a feast for the senses. Keen plant hunters will delight in the dedicated plant sales area, offering a chance to take a piece of Marwood Hill magic home.

Marwood Hill Gardens cater to all types of visitors. Families can enjoy exploring the variety of gardens and spotting wildlife like kingfishers and butterflies. Photography enthusiasts can capture the beauty of the ever-changing landscapes.But Marwood Hill truly shines for plant enthusiasts. With its diverse collections, dedicated staff, and peaceful atmosphere,it offers a haven for those who share Dr. Smart’s passion for the wonders of the plant kingdom.

Saltram House Gardens: A Legacy of Elegance and Year-Round Splendor

saltram house outside

Saltram House Gardens offer a captivating blend of history,horticultural beauty, and year-round interest. Unlike some gardens focused on a single season’s explosion of color,Saltram boasts a timeless elegance, transitioning gracefully throughout the year.

Step onto the expansive lawns and be greeted by the imposing yet graceful facade of Saltram House. Lush borders adorned with seasonal blooms frame the scene, offering a vibrant welcome in spring and summer, and a tapestry of fiery hues in autumn. Beyond the house lies a haven for history buffs – the working 18th-century Orangery. Step inside this architectural gem and witness the tradition of cultivating citrus fruits under glass, a practice dating back to the Georgian era.

Venture deeper and discover hidden pockets of charm. Explore the Lime Avenue, a majestic quarter-mile stretch lined with mature lime trees, creating a cathedral-like atmosphere. Lose yourself in the tranquil beauty of the Woodland Walk,where sunlight filters through a canopy of ancient trees, and a carpet of wildflowers paints the ground with vibrant colors in spring. Keep an eye out for the charming Castle Folly, a whimsical structure adding a touch of whimsy to the landscape.

Saltram House Gardens cater to all ages. Families can enjoy a game of hide-and-seek amidst the borders, or a picnic on the expansive lawns. History buffs can delve into the story of the Parker family, who meticulously shaped the gardens over centuries, through informative displays. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the sculptures and follies scattered throughout the grounds.

A visit to Saltram House Gardens promises a delightful escape, offering a captivating blend of historical significance,timeless elegance, and a breathtaking display of nature’s bounty throughout the year.

Knightshayes Court Gardens: A Global Adventure on Your Doorstep

garden at knightshayes

Knightshayes Court Gardens, sprawling across the rolling East Devon countryside, offer a unique experience for garden enthusiasts with a thirst for adventure. Unlike the traditional English gardens on this list, Knightshayes boasts a global influence, transporting visitors to far-flung corners of the world through its diverse plant collections and architectural delights.

Step inside the magnificent Victorian Gothic mansion and be transported to a bygone era. Explore the surrounding gardens, a testament to the Victorian passion for exploration and plant discovery. Wander through the Italian Garden, a sun-drenched haven adorned with classical statues and vibrant borders showcasing plants native to the Mediterranean.Descend into the mysterious Egyptian Court, a sunken garden featuring sphinxes and exotic plants, whispering tales of ancient civilizations.

Beyond the curated areas, embark on a global adventure without leaving Devon. Follow pathways lined with bamboo,reminiscent of far-Eastern landscapes, and lose yourself in the tranquil beauty of the Japanese Garden, complete with a koi carp pond and a serene atmosphere. Explore the Australian Arboretum, a haven for eucalyptus trees and other Antipodean flora, offering a glimpse of a distant continent.

Knightshayes Court Gardens cater to curious minds and adventurous spirits. Families can enjoy a game of hide-and-seek amongst the themed gardens, or a picnic on the expansive lawns. Nature lovers will delight in the diversity of plant life,from towering redwoods to delicate Japanese maples. A visit to Knightshayes Court Gardens promises a captivating journey around the world, offering a unique blend of architectural intrigue, historical whispers, and a celebration of global flora, all within the stunning Devon countryside.

Just a note to say that this post will help you find the best gardens in Cornwall if you there and you can find out about green spaces in Exeter too.

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