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Chelsea Flower Show & the Gardens of England

10 – 24 MAY 2019

FULLY BOOKED

ITINERARY
Come with us to an England up to its knees in spring blossom, carpets of bluebells and meadows of wildflowers. Our England tour includes the beautiful Cornish Coast, Oxford, Cotswolds, Bath and London. It’s a mix of heavenly gardens with Opening Day at the Chelsea Flower Show.
DAY 1
Friday 10 May 2019
Home – London

Meet your Ross Tour Leader at Sydney International Airport for your Qantas flight to London. Independent travellers meet in Bath, at Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel on Day 2.

DAY 2
Saturday 11 May 2019
London to Bath (D)

Arrive into London and head directly to Bath for the next two nights. Check into our hotel just 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. A mid-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 in our hotel.

Accommodation: MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel ,Bath

DAY 3
Sunday 12 May 2019
Wells, Somerset (B)

We are heading up 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 mediaeval palace and its gardens which are hidden within the ancient ramparts and protected by the moat. Great views from the top of the ramparts! We’ll explore the arboretum and the community garden, admire the reflection of the Cathedral in one of the well pools and finish in the contemporary Garden of Reflection. If we’re lucky we’ll hear the organ and the choir in the cathedral, it’s one of the most beautiful 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 the UK.

Accommodation: MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel ,Bath

DAY 4
Monday 13 May 2019
Bath to Cornwall (B/D)

We are heading 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. It’s a delight!
This afternoon we’ll travel onto Cornwall and check into our hotel on the Cornish Coast, overlooking Carlyon Bay. Dinner is included this evening.

Accommodation: Carlyon Bay Hotel, Cornwall

DAY 5
Tuesday 14 May 2019
Eden Project & Lanhydrock (B)

Two grand estates today couldn’t be more different. 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 whole thing is the brain-child of Sir Tim Smit and nestles in a huge crater where pottery clay has been extracted. The Eden Project is an educational charity, connecting us with each other, the living world and exploring ways towards a better future.
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 mature flowering trees. It was laid out for the first Baron Robartes in 1827.
We’ll stop for tea this afternoon in the beautiful seaside town of Fowey on the way back to our hotel.

Accommodation: Carlyon Bay Hotel, Cornwall

DAY 6
Wednesday 15 May 2019
Cornish Gardens (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.

Accommodation: Carlyon Bay Hotel, Cornwall

DAY 7
Thursday 16 May 2019
Carlyon Bay to Oxford (B/L)

An influential garden is waiting for us as we travel through Devon and into Somerset. Hestercombe Garden 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, semi-circular steps, pergolas and his sympathetic use of local materials. 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. Lunch included here before we travel to Oxford and check into the Macdonald Randolph Hotel in the city centre, for the next four nights.

Accommodation: Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

DAY 8
Friday 17 May 2019
Bibury, Cotswolds (B)

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: Queen Catherine Parr, Queen Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey and Queen Elizabeth I. The structure of this garden survives with the planting design modernised by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, Rosemary Verey and Roddy Llewellyn.
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 Arlington Row, over the bridge and along the banks of the River Coln. Time for a chat with our hosts at afternoon tea before we head back to Oxford.

Accommodation: Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

DAY 9
Saturday 18 May 2019
Hidcote, Cotswolds (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 cafe when we arrive.

Accommodation: Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

DAY 10
Sunday 19 May 2019
HRH Highgrove (B)

Subject to the schedule of Prince Charles, 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’.
We’ll stop at Christ Church Cathedral in time for evensong to hear those heavenly voices.

Accommodation: Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

DAY 11
Monday 20 May 2019
Oxford to Londoon (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.

Accommodation: Royal Garden Hotel Kensington, London

DAY 12
Tuesday 21 May 2019
Chelsea Flower Show (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 Pimms in the shade and gasp at the flower displays in the Great Pavilion. Share stories tonight at our farewell dinner in the hotel.

Accommodation: Royal Garden Hotel Kensington, London

DAY 13
Wednesday 22 May 2019
London – Home (B)

The day is free for you to explore London. Afternoon departure to Heathrow Airport for your onward flight.

DAY 14
Thursday 23 May 2019
Inflight
DAY 15
Friday 24 May 2019

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 4 dinners
  • Entrance fees to all gardens and sightseeing including Iford Manor, Bishop’s Palace, RHS Rosemoor, Eden Project, Lanhydrock, Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trewithen, Hestercombe, Sudeley Castle, Bibury Gardens, Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate Court Gardens, West Green, opening day of The Chelsea Flower Show
  • Morning and afternoon tea at gardens and sightseeing attractions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Gratuities for porters and drivers
  • Full Escorted by Colin Barlow
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 29/11/2018 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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