The RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Classic English Gardens

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Classic English Gardens

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The RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Classic English Gardens

7 Days Starting in London, UK and ending in London

Visiting: London, Tyntesfield, North Petherton, Stourhead, Bath, Hestercombe House & Gardens, Iford Manor Gardens, Wilton House, RHS Garden Wisley, Bowes Lyon Close, Pinetum, Woking, Chelsea Flower Show, Sissinghurst, Great Dixter House & Gardens

Tour operator:

Brightwater Holidays

Tour code:

BCHA

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

6 - 25

Physical rating:

Low, Gentle

Age range:

1-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Vegans, Meat, Please contact Brightwater with any specific dietary requirements

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

UK tours by Coach

Activities:

Sightseeing

This tour is no longer available

Tour Overview

This tour combines the colour and excitement of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with some of the south of England’s finest gardens, affording the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of horticultural excellence.

Our two centre holiday starts in the West Country where we enjoy a wander round Tyntesfield, a fine National Trust Victorian country house with a glorious walled garden. Next we visit Henry Hoare’s famous landscape garden of Stourhead and spend some time in the town of Bath, famous for its Roman baths and elegant Georgian terraces. We visit the ancient Bishop’s Palace in Wells; Hestercombe, one of Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens’ greatest masterpieces, and the Harold Peto designed garden at Iford Manor, before transferring to our hotel near London, breaking our journey at the beautiful gardens of Wilton House near Salisbury.

Following an extended visit to RHS Garden Wisley, with its vast range of expertly curated horticultural delights, we spend a full day at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show before concluding with visits to Sissinghurst and Great Dixter.

Highlights

  • Click here to see route map

  • The Great British gardening event of the year, The Chelsea Flower Show

  • The ornamental and experimental gardens of RHS Wisley

  • The world-renowned courtyard gardens of Sissinghurst Castle

  • Temples, urns and grottoes in the timeless landscape of Stourhead

  • Hestercombe Gardens – a horticultural masterpiece from Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens

  • Guided tour of the ornamental and experimental gardens of RHS Wisley

  • ‘Early-Bird’ visit to the world-renowned courtyard gardens of Sissinghurst Castle

  • Temples, urns and grottos in the timeless landscape of Stourhead

Places You'll See

The Rhs Chelsea Flower Show And Classic English Gardens

The Rhs Chelsea Flower Show And Classic English Gardens

The Rhs Chelsea Flower Show And Classic English Gardens

The Rhs Chelsea Flower Show And Classic English Gardens

Itinerary

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Day 1 : London

Location: London, Tyntesfield, North Petherton

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: The Walnut Tree Hotel, North Petherton

Meals Included: Dinner

We depart from our pick-up points in London and transfer to Tyntesfield, near Bristol, a fine Victorian country house created by one of England's richest commoners, William Gibbs, who built his fortune on fertiliser. Spiralling turrets and pinnacles adorn the roof, ornate stone carvings and church-like windows complete the Gothic look, giving the feel of a mysterious, fairytale mansion. Beyond the grandeur that visitors of the Gibbs family would have seen, you will also discover a family home and the evidence of their changing fortunes. Terraced lawns give way to spacious parkland filled with hundreds of trees collected by the family, and a glorious walled kitchen garden beyond. The rolling Somerset hills in the distance create an atmospheric backdrop.
Later we continue to our hotel.

Day 2 : Stourhead & Bath

Randolfo Santos
Steven Eastham
Diego Alberto Etchevarne

Location: Stourhead, Bath

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: The Walnut Tree Hotel, North Petherton

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, following breakfast, we visit the garden at Stourhead (NT). Temples, urns, a grotto and a wealth of trees all contribute to the special atmosphere of this celebrated landscape garden.  It is, above all, a garden to walk in, following the serpentine path that borders the lake and exploring every detour that presents itself.
In the afternoon we transfer to the historic city of Bath for some free time. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city of Bath has many of the finest architectural sights in Europe such as the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge. It houses a variety of museums and attractions including the Roman Baths, Jane Austen Centre and Thermae Bath Spa. You may wish to take the opportunity to do some shopping, visit a museum or experience the properties of the Thermae Bath Spa, where you can relax in two spectacular baths, fed by the natural thermal waters and refresh yourself in a series of aromatic steam rooms (not included).
We return to our hotel.

Day 3 : Bishop’S Palace

Location: Hestercombe House & Gardens

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: The Walnut Tree Hotel, North Petherton

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast we visit the Bishop’s Palace, a stunning mediaeval palace which has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for 800 years, having been founded in the early thirteenth century when Bishop Jocelin Trotman, the first Bishop to hold the title Bishop of Bath and Wells, received a crown licence to build a residence and deer park on land to the south of the Cathedral of St Andrew. Here we will enjoy a special ‘Horticulture at the Palace’ tour on arrival. There are 14 acres of gardens to explore, including the beautiful well pools from which the city takes its name. We will also have some free time in Wells to experience the city’s architecture, view its breathtaking cathedral and have free time for lunch.
In the afternoon we visit Hestercombe, one of Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens’ greatest masterpieces. The garden is home to a round pool in a round walled garden filled with wintersweet and roses, a Dutch garden of lamb's ears, lavender and the most beautiful orangery of the 20th century. Everywhere there are details of design and planting from which any gardener can learn.

Day 4 : Iford Manor & Wilton House

Location: Iford Manor Gardens, Wilton House

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Holiday Inn, Farnborough

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast we will check out of the hotel and make our way to the gardens of lford Manor, near Bradford on Avon.  This romantic award-winning Italian garden designed by Harold Peto contains a formal garden on old terraces embellished with his collection of classical statuary and architectural fragments, which we will discover on our guided tour.  Steep flights of steps link the terraces with pools, fountains, loggias, colonnades, urns and figures.
Later, we depart for a visit to the gardens of Wilton House, an impressive Palladian mansion near Salisbury. The 17th century garden by Isaac de Caus was removed in 1737 by the 'Architect Earl' of Pembroke to create a serpentine park with the first Palladian bridge. Sir William Chambers later designed a casino and eye-catcher in the park and Richard Westmacott designed an 'Italian garden' with a terrace and a parterre in the 1820s. Today the water features and rose gardens create a tranquil haven beside the River Nadder.
We continue to our second hotel.

Day 5 : Rhs Garden Wisley

Location: RHS Garden Wisley, Bowes Lyon Close, Pinetum, Woking

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Holiday Inn, Farnborough

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning after breakfast, we have a treat in store as we depart for an extended visit to RHS Garden Wisley. Here the highest standards of practical horticulture are deployed in the setting of a splendid old site rich in fine trees against a backdrop of other plants, all impeccably labelled. We begin with a guided tour in the company of a knowledgeable volunteer guide who will bring the garden and its fascinating history to life. Thereafter we have plenty of time to make the most of this extensive site which is packed with interest. Among the highlights are a wonderful rock garden, created from stone that was specially quarried nearby; the lush jungle of the spectacular Glasshouse, home to the RHS’s world-class tender plant collection; the scent-filled Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden and the Pinetum, home to a magnificent collection of century-old trees. There will be an opportunity for lunch (not included) at the new Hilltop building where there is a self-service restaurant and a marvellous flower-filled patio in which to enjoy an al fresco meal. This building also houses laboratories where RHS staff are working to help future-proof our planet. Mid-afternoon we will return to our hotel with the remainder of the day free to relax.

Day 6 : Rhs Chelsea Flower Show

Location: Chelsea Flower Show

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Holiday Inn, Farnborough

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast this morning we depart for our full-day visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which holds a rare position as a great British tradition and an exciting source of inspiration and advice. One of the highlights of the show is the collection of over 20 full-sized show gardens. Inside the Great Marquee visitors have their senses ravished by the hundreds of floral displays, many of them incorporating new, rare and unusual plants. Other popular features here include flower arranging, floristry and garden design marquees, courtyard gardens, window boxes and hanging baskets.

Day 7 : Sissinghurst

Location: Sissinghurst, Great Dixter House & Gardens, London

Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast we check out of the hotel and travel to the manicured gardens of Sissinghurst, where we are privileged to enjoy the peace and quiet of an ‘early-bird’ visit before the garden opens to the public. This famous garden was created by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson from 1930 onwards and became the most admired English Garden of its time.  Few great gardens live up to their reputations so effortlessly as this.  Sissinghurst is a large connoisseurs’ garden consisting of a series of small romantic areas enclosed by the surviving parts of an Elizabethan mansion.  It never disappoints its visitors, it has the power of enchantment, but it is also an unending source of inspiration for all gardeners.  Sissinghurst is surely as close to gardening perfection as you can get, and it continues to be one of the most copies flower gardens in the world. 
Later we head for Great Dixter.  The distinguished garden writer Christopher Lloyd (who died in January 2006 at the aged of 84) was the genius behind Great Dixter, with its timbered 15th century house.  Restored by Sir Edwin Lutyens who also planned the garden, Mr Lloyd has firmly put his lively stamp on it.  A recent experiment involved installing a summer tropical garden rich in bold shapes and brilliant colours. No gardener could come to Great Dixter without making discoveries and rekindling a zest for gardening.
Following this, our final visit, we return to our drop-off points in London, where the group will disperse or make onward connections.

What's Included

  • Services of a professional tour manager

  • Accommodation

  • Comfortable coach travel throughout

  • Meals - as per the itinerary

  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

  • Drinks with Meals

  • Entrance Fees

What's Not Included

Check out our Q&As

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    No

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    No

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Yes

  • Will I receive more details of the holiday before I travel?

    You will receive detailed joining instructions around 10 days prior to you departure, but you are of course welcome to contact us at any time should you have any queries.

  • What facilities do your coaches have?

    Generally, our coaches have reclining seats, air-conditioning and toilets, however this cannot always be guaranteed as sometimes we have to use smaller vehicles. Toilets are recommended for emergency use only and regular comfort stops will be made throughout your holiday while travelling around.

  • Do I have to go on the included excursions?

    Absolutely not. You are more than welcome to spend the day at your hotel or exploring independently should you wish. All we ask is that you inform your Tour Manager, so they are not left waiting for you to join the group.

  • Is there time to relax?

    Although our itineraries may seem jam-packed, boasting access to some of the most exclusive sites across the UK and beyond, a Brightwater Holiday is just that: a holiday. Each trip will counter in more than enough free-time for you to explore places at your own leisure. And with most nights and the majority of meals being included in our tour prices, you can relax in hand-picked accommodation.

  • Do I need to be an expert?

    Absolutely not! Although some of our tours are specifically focused on one thing, all you need to enjoy a Brightwater holiday is interest and bags of enthusiasm! Even on our most specialist tours, we take travellers from all skill levels, from experts to beginners.

  • How fit or active do I need to be for one of your holidays?

    You need to be able to get on and off the coach unassisted, and most – but not all – coaches have a kneel facility that lowers the front step for ease of boarding

  • Do you have self-drive holidays?

    Yes, we do – tailored to your exact requirements!

  • What’s the luggage allowance on your coaches?

    There’s no fixed limit, but we generally say one large suitcase to go in the luggage compartment and a smaller bag that you can take onto the coach with you. For flight-inclusive holidays, we include a luggage allowance of at least 20kg.

  • Where are your departure points?

    UK garden holidays generally depart from London, with additional pick-ups depending on the route of the coach, while holidays to Scotland depart from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth, with Dundee, Inverness and Aberdeen sometimes included. All Eurostar holidays depart from London St. Pancras and flight-inclusive holidays depart from one or more of the main London airports, with regional flights .

  • What about the company that will be kept?

    For single travellers, those with a companion or even those travelling in a larger group, you'll find that the signature of any Brightwater Holiday is the company. You won't ever be travelling with a group of strangers, instead, you'll find yourself surrounded by like-minded people with a strong shared interest who will soon become your firm friends.

  • What is a Brightwater Holiday?

    Bursting with enthralling, educational and enlightening itineraries, a Brightwater Holiday, by its very nature, is packed with bucket-list-worthy destinations, behind the scenes passes and expert-led experiences. From creating bespoke quality garden and special interest tours for groups and individuals alike, we have made it our business to make our guests' travel dreams come true.

  • Why is there a single supplement?

    Unfortunately, single room supplements are charges that are often imposed on us as a company when we book rooms for group holidays. However, most hotels do charge less for single occupancy, and we always pass this saving on to our solo travellers in the form of a modest single supplement.

  • How much are your optional excursions?

    Prices start from as little as £20, but please contact our friendly team for questions about specific itineraries or excursions.

  • Can I pre-book my coach seats?

    Yes, you can. In the case of front seats, guests with limited mobility are given priority. Please get in touch with our friendly team to discuss any requirements you may have.

  • How to get there? Easy!

    With a Brightwater Holiday, the journey is just as important as the destination and we make getting you to your tour start point easy. From organising group flights and individual travel plans, to offering accessible local departure and pick-up points, we go out of our way to ensure that your journey is as convenient and hassle-free as it can be.

  • Do I need to have travel insurance?

    Travel insurance is required for all overseas holidays and is also strongly recommended for UK holidays – primarily to protect yourself against cancellation charges should you be unable to travel.

Reviews of this operator

Trusted Customer  

Brightwater Holidays offers great value

28-Nov-2019

I would highly recommend Brightwater Holidays. It offers excellent service and value for money. This was my first tour as I normally arrange holidays myself, but this tour - which was to the gardens of Kent and Sussex - was a very pleasant change of pace.

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Brightwater Holidays Customer  

My experience with Brightwater Holidays

08-Aug-2019

The tour was well managed, the sites visited were all interesting and linked to the theme of the Picts and their place in history, the hotel was comfortable and the coach journeys were well paced. I have been with Brightwater before and will certainly travel with them again

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Alan Hawkes (Google Reviewer)  

We were on the Tour...

28-Aug-2022

We were on the Tour of the Outer Hebrides. We had a great experience, in no small part due to the excellence of the tour manager and driver.

Brightwater Holidays Custome  

Wonderful experience with brilliant information

31-Jul-2019

The most important factor was an amazing guide in Alastair Walker whose knowledge and care for clients was fantastic. The whole trips are superbly organised

Feefo Trusted Reviews
David MacLennan (Google Reviewer)  

Noted a comment on taking...

23-Aug-2023

Noted a comment on taking coaches on A814 by a local person who didn't know the facts: When the A82 was blocked and the POLICE divert you onto that road you do as instructed not what a you know are tight roads but they only way to your destination as intructed by officials. We know this route is not suitable for large vehicles but the driver does as instructed by someone in authority.

Eric Webb (Google Reviewer)  

Recent (September 2023) Scottish holiday...

07-Oct-2023

Recent (September 2023) Scottish holiday not so good. Various 'issues' to do with scheduling and organisation. I'm happy to report however that - after an interval - a letter expressing disappointment brought a full response - including a generous refund. So - with fingers slightly crossed - we'll be booking with Brightwater again in due course.

Kevin Barrett (Google Reviewer)  

The recent tour in Northumberland...

30-Sep-2023

The recent tour in Northumberland turned out to be a shambles. Our South London driver took us to Newcastle, but no guide to meet us. Next day still no guide and the bus driver attempted to salvage the tour the best he could despite having no knowledge of the attractions. Fortunately one of the passengers Googled the tides for Holy Island. No holiday guide ever showed up. Coach and hotel were fine. Do these people only offer self guided tours? Take Shearings next time.

ALEXANDRA MCQUEEN (Google Reviewer)  

Been trying to get a...

17-Oct-2023

Been trying to get a reply from them for over a week. Booked Xmas tour, confirmation said pick up subject to numbers, they never said anything when booking and theyve been paid in full. Would not recommend!

Dp Green (Google Reviewer)  

I had heard this company...

20-Feb-2024

I had heard this company was a nightmare to deal with, but thought I'd give it a go. Signed up for a tour, then emailed them about how to pay off the balance. No response to 3 emails. I've never encountered a tour company that ignored questions on how to pay off a balance. Looked into other reviews and found many complaints about cancelled tours and refusals to refund deposits.

Kieran Thompson (Google Reviewer)  

Two of your tour busses...

26-Jul-2021

Two of your tour busses used the A814 from Garelochhead to Arrochar on 24th July 2021. This route is not suitable for large vehicles and your drivers should not have taken the huge coaches that way. There are clear signs at both ends of the road indicating it is not suitable for HGV's. Our car had to go off into the soft verge to allow your coaches to pass. Please amend your routes to avoid this road in future.

Book with Confidence

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Brightwater Holidays allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform brightwater holidays, 25 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Brightwater Holidays requires a minimum deposit of 15% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of brightwater holidays charges.

    At 40 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 7 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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