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CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW AND THE GARDENS OF ENGLAND

19 MAY – 2 JUNE 2018

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ITINERARY
Come to an England up to its knees in wildflowers. It’s a mix of heavenly gardens: Sissinghurst, Blenheim, Rousham, Hatfield, Hestercombe, Stourhead and the landscapes of Wells, Bath, Oxford and the Cotswolds. And opening day at the Chelsea Flower Show – bliss
DAY 1
Saturday 19 May 2018
Home – London

Meet Colin Barlow, your Ross Tour Leader at Sydney Airport for the Qantas flight to London.

DAY 2
Sunday 20 May 2018
London (D)

Arrive into London Heathrow and meet up with your local guide and our coach. Morning coffee at Petersham Nursery near Richmond on the banks of the River Thames. It’s a favourite ‘Ross’ haunt with exciting displays of pots and plants, trinkets and treasures. Kew Gardens is not far away, and so we’ll take the little train around for a guided tour before lunch. Then we’ll check in to The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington and relax. Meet up for our Welcome Dinner this evening in the hotel.

Accommodation: Royal Garden Hotel, London

DAY 3
Monday 21 May 2018
RHS Wisley (B)

We’re heading to Wisley, the showpiece & headquarters of the Royal Horticultural Society with a comprehensive suite of gardens to educate & inspire. There are exciting things happening: Christopher Bradley-Hole is designing the new arrival area. It should all be finished in time for our visit. See the glasshouse with gardens designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. The afternoon is free to either relax or go exploring London.

Accommodation: Royal Garden Hotel, London

DAY 4
Tuesday 22 May 2018
Chelsea Flower Show (B/D)

‘Opening Day’ at the Chelsea Flower Show is reserved for VIPs and members of the Royal Horticultural Society only. We have arranged tickets so that you can enjoy it without dealing with the crowds that flock on public days. We’ll meet our favourite exhibitors, enjoy multimillion-dollar show gardens and the smaller artisan gardens, sip a Pimms in the shade and go shopping in the Grand Allee.

Accommodation: Royal Garden Hotel, London

DAY 5
Wednesday 23 May 2018
Sissinghurst (B)

If there ever was a hierarchy of Best British gardens, Sissinghurst in Kent would be at the top of the list. Surely 200,000 visitors a year can’t be wrong! Loved for its beautiful balance, garden rooms and inspired planting combinations, this garden is the result of a special partnership between the Bloomsbury couple Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicolson. We’ll climb the tower for a fabulous view, explore each compartment of the garden, peep into Vita’s writing room, walk down to the Moat, the herb garden and browse the shop. Travel back into London with time for High Tea next door in Kensington Palace (optional).

Accommodation: Royal Garden Hotel, London

DAY 6
Thursday 24 May 2018
London – Bath (B/L)

We are heading to Bath today with lunch in the conservatory at West Green in Hampshire, the home and garden of famous Aussie expat Marylyn Abbott. While the garden pays homage to its 18th-century origins, Marylyn’s sense of fun is given plenty of room to play. The Alice in Wonderland walled garden is a delight. The ornamental potager is beautiful with clematis and honeysuckle smothering the walls. The new Garden of the Five Bridges is taking fine shape. There’s a classic Nymphaeum, water staircase and romantic lake garden. Travel onto Bath to our luxury five-star MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel, for the next three nights. A guided tour this afternoon to get your bearings in this beautiful city. Visit the ancient Roman Baths.

Accommodation: MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel ,Bath

DAY 7
Friday 25 May 2018
Stourhead (B)

Stourhead is probably the finest example of the picturesque English Landscape Style, and that’s where we are going today. It combines classic architecture, lake with an exquisite 18th-century arched bridge, copses of mature trees, classic temple, ‘full flower’ rhododendrons and ‘just burst’ beech trees. It’s a majestic walk around the lake discovering plants and follies and enjoying the reflections. After lunch, we’ll travel back to Bath to relax or soak in the hotel spa.

Accommodation: MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel ,Bath

DAY 8
Saturday 26 May 2018
Hestercombe (B/L/D)

An influential garden lies waiting for us as we travel into Somerset. Hestercombe Gardens is a remarkable example of the collaboration between Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. Lutyens was probably the most famous British architect since Sir Christopher Wren. His hallmarks are everywhere: iris choked rills, pergolas and staircases. Gertrude Jekyll, whose influence has been enormous, designed the planting scheme. Her use of graduated colour and planting in drifts has dominated garden design throughout the last hundred years. The Formal Garden here was established between 1904 and 1908. It’s considered the finest example of the work undertaken by this famous partnership. After lunch, we’ll head to the Cathedral City of Wells in the Mendip district of Somerset. We will visit the Cathedral and Bishops Palace with its gardens hidden within the ancient ramparts and protected by the moat. Travel back into Bath with dinner included tonight in our hotel.

Accommodation: MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel ,Bath

DAY 9
Sunday 27 May 2018
Bibury, Cotswolds (B)

It’s a pretty drive today through the Cotswolds, one of the most romantic landscapes in Britain. We’ll check out the quaint Cotswold villages with a lunch stop and plenty of photo stops. Some of the private gardens in Bibury will be open this afternoon before we head into Oxford. Check in to the famous Randolph Hotel in the city centre for the next four nights and meet up in the Morse Bar for a pre-dinner drink (optional).

Accommodation: Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

DAY 10
Monday 28 May 2018
Blenheim Palace (B)

Blenheim Palace is grand, influential and a showpiece for landscape architect Capability Brown and architect Sir John Vanbrugh. And it’s the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill; Churchill’s grandfather was the 7th Duke of Marlborough, and his extravagant palace at Blenheim was England’s answer to Versailles. We’ll take a guided tour through the palace and gardens to help us fully appreciate their significance. Afternoon visit to Rousham where the garden is the direct opposite; a masterpiece by William Kent. It has escaped from the 18th century into the 21st century, its spirit of place is still intact. Dan Pearson’s quote says it all: “It is a magical landscape, an exercise in restraint and classical narrative, where anything seems possible. It has been hugely influential.”

Accommodation: Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

DAY 11
Tuesday 29 May 2018
HRH Highgrove (B/L)

Subject to the schedule of Prince Charles, we’ll visit Highgrove House this morning. The garden unfolds in a series of highly personal and inspiring tableaux, each one reflecting the interests and enthusiasms of the Prince. You’ll be amazed by the birdsong, the variety and depth of which is a tribute to HRH’s organic and sustainable principles. Highlights include the cottage garden, thyme walk with yews clipped into eccentric shapes and twenty varieties of thyme and marjoram enclosed within a hornbeam stilted hedge. There’s a sundial garden, wildflower meadow, azalea walk, walled kitchen garden, Turkish Carpet garden, lily pool garden, quirky topiary and woodland ‘stumpery’. Lunch included at Highgrove. We’ll return to Oxford with a walk around this famous University City and finish in time for Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral.

Accommodation: Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

DAY 12
Wednesday 30 May 2018
Hatfield House (B/D)

Hatfield House in Hertfordshire is our destination this morning, created between 1607 and 1612 for Robert Cecil, the 1st Earl of Salisbury. This garden is one of the best-documented and attractive historic gardens in Britain. It has undergone a remarkable and imaginative transformation by the late Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury from 1982 and more recently by Lady Salisbury. The estate includes a traditional Knot Garden, woodland, pleached linden walk, rose garden and the east privy garden. Free afternoon in Oxford. The Ashmolean Museum is next door to our hotel and well worth a look. Meet up for our Farewell Dinner tonight in our hotel.

Accommodation: Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

DAY 13
Thursday 31 May 2018
London – Home (B)

A day free for sightseeing or shopping. You might like to explore the fine Oxford Botanic Garden. Late afternoon transfer to Heathrow.

DAY 14
Friday 1 June 2018
Inflight
DAY 15
Saturday 2 June 2018

Welcome home

HOW TO BOOK

To secure your booking and make your deposit, please complete our online booking form. You will be contacted by a Ross Tours Travel Manager to confirm your details and preferred method of payment.

CANCELLATIONS

Cancellations received 180-120 days prior to departure will incur loss of deposit.

Cancellations received between 119-60 days prior to departure will incur a 50% cancellation fee.

Cancellations received between 59-30 days prior to departure will incur a 75% cancellation fee plus any non-recoverable costs incurred.

Cancellations received within 30 days prior to departure will incur 100% cancellation fee.

Cancellations must be sent in writing.

Cancellation fee is based upon the total amounts paid including tours, airfares and all other travel arrangements.

Please refer to the Ross Garden Tours standard terms and conditions.

TOUR INCLUSIONS
TOUR ESCORTED BY
COLIN BARLOW
  • Qantas return economy group airfare & taxes Sydney / London / Sydney
  • Air-conditioned motorcoach throughout tour
  • Deluxe accommodation for 11 nights
  • Breakfast daily, 3 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Entrance fees to all gardens and sightseeing including Kew Gardens, Chelsea Flower Show, RHS Wisley, Sissinghurst, West Green House, Stourhead, Hestercombe, Bishop Palace, Bibury, Blenheim Palace, Rousham, Hatfield House
  • Morning and afternoon tea at gardens and sightseeing attractions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Gratuities for porters and drivers
  • Full Escorted by Sandra Ross
TOUR PRICE

Twin Share land only $9,995 per person
Twin Share including air $11,795* per person
Single Supplement $2,595
*Airfare valid until 1/12/2017
All prices in Australian Dollars.
Prices based on minimum 15 passengers.
Price is based on departure Sydney.

DISCOUNTS

Book and pay in full by 1/12/2017 to receive the Early Bird Discount of $300.00 per person off the final instalment.
Previous Traveller Discount $100.00
Garden Clinic™ Member Discount $50.00

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POSTCARDS

Read what our tour leaders have written about England here.

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