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Chelsea Flower Show & the Gardens of England

8 – 22 MAY 2020

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Come with us to an England up to its knees in spring blossom, carpets of bluebells and meadows of wildflowers. Our tour includes the cerulean Cornish Coastline. It’s a heavenly mix of gardens: Royal, public, and private with Opening Day at the spectacular Chelsea Flower Show.
Friday 8 May 2020
Home – London

Check-in at Qantas, Terminal 1 Sydney International Airport 3 hours prior to departure for our Qantas flight to London.

Saturday 9 May 2020
Iford Manor (B/D)

Arrive into London Heathrow and meet up with your Ross Tour Leader Colin Barlow and our local guide. Head directly to Bath for the next two nights. Check into our hotel, a ten-minute walk from the city centre. Bath was built by the Romans for pleasure and relaxation, and it’s been a wellbeing destination ever since.

Afternoon visit to Iford Manor, built on a terraced slope above the River Frome by Harold Peto. It’s a gem, highly structured and well planted; Italianate in style with stone loggia, statues and architectural fragments giving its nod to antiquity. Welcome dinner included this evening.

Accommodation: MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel ,Bath

Sunday 10 May 2020
Bishops Palace, Wells (B)

Drive through the Mendip Hills of Somerset to the medieval Cathedral City of Wells. These hills extend almost to the Bristol Channel. It’s an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Bishop’s Palace has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for over 800 years. We will see the medieval palace and its gardens which are hidden within the ancient ramparts and protected by the moat. Wells Cathedral is one of the most beautiful gothic Cathedrals in England. Don’t miss Vicars’ Close, built over 650 years ago to house the Vicars Choral and continuously inhabited by their successors. It’s unique, physically connected to Wells Cathedral and the most complete example of a medieval Close in Europe.

Accommodation: MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel ,Bath

Monday 11 May 2020
Bath – Cornwall (B/D)

Head south today through Somerset and Devon to Cornwall, stopping in North Devon to visit RHS Garden Rosemoor in Great Torrington. This garden was handed to the RHS in 1990 and has been developed as a sophisticated series of garden spaces. There’s lots to see; formal gardens, herbaceous borders, fruit and vegetable potager, arboretum, stream and bog garden and Alpine house. But the oldest part, Lady Palmer’s house and garden is the most charming. Rosemoor hosts the National Collection of dogwoods, which should be in peak flower

This afternoon we’ll travel onto Cornwall and check into our hotel on the Cornish Coast for the next 3 nights, overlooking Carlyon Bay. Dinner included this evening.

Accommodation: Carlyon Bay Hotel, Cornwall

Tuesday 12 May 2020
Eden Project, Cornwall (B)

The Eden Project is first this morning with an area under glass the size of 30 football fields, growing the plants of each climatic zone in each environmentally controlled space. These biomes are the massive backdrop for exciting contemporary gardens.

The great house at Lanhydrock stands in its magnificent estate above the River Fowey with a splendid suite of gardens: formal parterres of intense colour bedding, circular perennial garden, herbaceous borders, woodland plantings of magnolias, rhododendrons and carpets of bluebells. Take time to explore the winding woodland and you will see some impressive flowering trees.

We’ll visit the beautiful seaside town of Fowey on the way back to our hotel.

Accommodation: Carlyon Bay Hotel, Cornwall

Wednesday 13 May 2020
Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall (B/D)

A treat today as we discover The Lost Gardens of Heligan, asleep for 70 years under a blanket of ivy, bramble and rampant laurel. It’s the largest garden restoration project in Europe. Heligan, the seat of the Tremayne family for more than 400 years, became neglected during the First World War. The chance discovery of a door in the ruins led to the triumphant restoration by Sir Tim Smit (of Eden Project). We’ll see enormous tree-like rhododendrons that were part of the original Victorian pleasure garden, grown from seed collected by Sir Joseph Hooker himself (one of the great plant hunters). The Lost Gardens have been put back where they belong, in pride of place among the finest gardens in Cornwall.

This afternoon travel onto Trewithen, another of Cornwall’s great gardens. Along with its extensive woodland, there’s a well planted formal walled garden where hopefully we will see the azure blue flowers of Ceanothus ‘Trewithen Blue’. We’ll see lovely rhododendrons in full flower. Dinner included tonight.

Accommodation: Carlyon Bay Hotel, Cornwall

Thursday 14 May 2020
Cornwall to Oxford (B/D)

Travel through Devon and into Somerset to Hestercombe Garden for lunch. It’s 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, semi-circular steps, pergolas and his sympathetic use of local materials.

Afternoon travel to Oxford and check into the Macdonald Randolph Hotel in the city centre, for the next four nights. Dinner included tonight.

Accommodation: Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

Friday 15 May 2020
Sudeley Castle (B/AT)

With a backdrop of the Cotswold Hills, the setting of Sudeley Castle is breathtaking in itself. The award-winning gardens have been lovingly restored and redesigned to complement the elegance and tranquillity of the castle and its ruins, to echo through the ages and to recreate the beauty of the old lost gardens. One of our favourites here is the Queens’ Garden, so named because four of England’s Queens have walked here.

This afternoon we’ll visit what is said to be the prettiest village in England, Bibury. Our hosts will show us their lovely private gardens. We will wander through the much-photographed.

Accommodation: Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

Saturday 16 May 2020
Hidcote Manor (B/L)

Hidcote Manor is our destination this morning, as we travel back through the rolling landscapes of the Cotswolds. We’ll discover why this Arts and Crafts garden of Lawrence Johnston, made between the two World Wars, has been so influential. We’ll lose ourselves in the ‘scratch and sniff’ series of garden rooms. We’ll learn how evergreen hedges define these garden rooms.

Next door is Kiftsgate Court Gardens, a glorious garden with spectacular views of the Malvern Hills and beyond. Three generations of women gardeners have designed, planted and sustained this garden. The upper gardens around the house are planted with harmonious colour schemes, whilst the sheltered lower gardens recreate the atmosphere of warm climate areas. A modern water garden gives an oasis of tranquillity and contrast to the exuberance of the flower gardens. Lunch will be served in the tearoom when we arrive.

Accommodation: Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

DAY 10
Sunday 17, May 2020
Highgrove (B)

Subject to confirmation > This afternoon we’ll visit Highgrove, the private gardens of HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire. Since 1980 when the Prince of Wales first arrived at Highgrove, His Royal Highness has devoted much energy to transforming the gardens around the house, which are renowned as some of the most inspiring and innovative in the United Kingdom. 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 potted tulips, decorative yew hedges, thyme walk, wildflower meadow, walled kitchen garden, Temple Grove, quirky sculptures and the woodland ‘Stumpery’. Afternoon at leisure in Oxford.

Waterperry Gardens is a magical place where you are surrounded by beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers, classical borders, modern planting, secret corners and long vistas. Made famous by Beatrix Havergal who established her School of Horticulture for Ladies here from 1932 to 1971, it’s now home to 8 acres of beautifully landscaped ornamental gardens, a quality plant centre and garden shop, gallery and gift shop, museum and tea shop. When the gardens were a horticultural college between 1932 and 1971, the emphasis was on food production rather than spectacular ornamental gardens.

The afternoon is free to explore Oxford, stop at Christ Church Cathedral in time for Evensong to hear heavenly voices.

Accommodation: Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

DAY 11
Monday 18, May 2020
Oxford to London (B/L)

We are heading to Hampshire today with lunch in the conservatory at West Green House, 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. And her energy is unstoppable; the latest ‘Garden of the Five Bridges’ solves the problem water draining from fields beyond with a 190m serpentine windrush draining water into the lake; all with exquisite planting scheme. The potager is beautiful and productive with two soft fruit cages at its heart and roses, clematis and honeysuckle smothering the walls. There’s a classic Nymphaeum, parterre, Alice Courtyard, Green Theatre, Paradise Garden, Oriental Garden, Grotto, Doric Temple, water staircase and romantic lake garden.
Travel to London and check into the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington for the next 2 nights.

Accommodation: Royal Garden Hotel Kensington, London

DAY 12
Tuesday 19, May 2020
Chelsea Flower Show Members Day (B/D)

‘Opening Day’ at the Chelsea Flower Show is reserved for VIPs and members of the Royal Horticultural Society. We have arranged tickets so that you can enjoy it without the crowds that flock on public days. Meet our favourite designers and exhibitors, enjoy multimillion-dollar show gardens, sip a Pimm’s in the shade and gasp at the flower displays in the Great Pavilion. Share the day’s highlights tonight at our farewell dinner in the hotel.

Accommodation: Royal Garden Hotel Kensington, London

DAY 13
Wednesday 20, May 2020
London – home Day (B)

The day is free for you to explore London. Transfer late afternoon to London Heathrow Airport.

Day 14
Thursday 21, May 2020
In flight (B)
Day 15
Friday 22, May 2020


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 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.

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  • Qantas return economy group airfare & taxes Sydney / London / Sydney
  • Air-conditioned motorcoach throughout tour
  • Deluxe accommodation for 12 nights
  • Breakfast daily, 3 lunches and 5 dinners
  • Entrance fees to all gardens and sightseeing including Iford Manor, Bishops Palace, RHS Rosemoor, Eden Project, Lanhydrock, Lost Garden of Heligan, Trewithen, Sudelely Castle, West Green House
  • Morning and afternoon tea at gardens and sightseeing attractions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Gratuities for porters and drivers
  • Full Escorted by Colin Barlow

Twin Share land only $9,995 per person
Twin Share including air $11,795* per person
Single Supplement $2,595
*Airfare valid until 1/12/2019
All prices in Australian Dollars.
Prices based on minimum 15 passengers.
Price is based on departure Sydney.


Book and pay in full by 1/12/2019 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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Read what our tour leaders have written about England here.


Western Australia Wildflowers

Let Australian plant lover Colin Barlow introduce you to the diverse natural wonders of southern Western Australia. Meet milkmaids, honeypots, green kangaroo paws and mountain bells in the wild, and catch the extravaganza of the Kings Park Wildflower Festival.

China and Beijing International Horticultural Expo

Your chance to visit possibly the most ambitious horticultural expo ever staged. This International Horticultural Expo in Yanqing overlooks the Great Wall near Baderling just north/west of Beijing. It will run for six months.

Inside New South Wales

Our tour includes all of NSW’s spring flower festivals; Tulip Time Southern Highlands, Floriade in Canberra, Cowra Cherry Blossom and the Leura Garden Festival. We’ll do it in style with time to enjoy the fine food and wines of each region.

Springtime Tasmania Bulbs and Blossom

Tasmania’s cool spring is perfect for flowering trees, bulbs and rhododendrons; colourful shows of spring flowers. Painting with petals. Discover some of Tasmania’s finest gardens on this week-long holiday. Meet some passionate gardeners and share their inspiration.

Inside Victoria

Victoria’s fine country gardens at the peak spring flush. Meet the gardeners behind each masterpiece. See old favourites & exciting new cutting edge gardens: including David Glenn’s Lambley, Paul Bangay’s Stonefields, Dame Elisabeth’s Cruden Farm and Stuart Rattle’s Musk Farm.

Gardens and Ancient Sites of Mexico & Cuba

Home to the frangipani, the dahlia and to chocolate! Visit ancient pyramids of Aztec and Mayan civilisations, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, The Yucatan and finish in Hemmingway’s Cuba at Havana and Vinales.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s gardens are amongst the best anywhere. Marlborough has a festival like no other and based in Blenheim. This gives us the perfect excuse to visit some of the best private gardens in this incredibly beautiful region in the south island with Michael McCoy, your tour leader.

Melbourne Cup

Go ‘behind the scenes’ at ‘The Race That Stops The Nation’. A special preview of Flemington Racecourse Rose Garden before the race, without the crowds.

Jacaranda Cruises

Ses the most beautiful harbour in the world with breathtaking Jacarandas in full flower, with commentary by Graham Ross.