Four of our favourite gardens to explore in North Devon

With the recent success of Chelsea Flower Show, now has never been a better time to come and stay with us and visit some of the gardens nearby too.

Did you know that our part of Devon is home to some fascinating gardens? Here are four of our favourites:

Marwood Hill Gardens

This 20-acre garden, which was created by Dr Jimmy Smart VMH in the late 1950s, has three lakes and is home to some impressive plant collections, including Astilbes, Tulbaghia, Japanese Iris. It is tucked away in a North Devon valley near Barnstaple and is a real hidden gem. It has featured on many garden radio and TV programmes over the years and is enjoyed by visitors of all ages so represents a great family day out should you wish to venture away from our site and the beach. There’s a tea room and plant salesroom too.

RHS Garden Rosemoor

Nestled in a valley close to Torrington, this is a plant lovers paradise. It’s also great fun for all the family and has an award-winning café/restaurant. In the summer months there is always lots for children to do including two play areas, events, activities to get involved with and very often trails to follow. They also host outdoor theatre and musical events. The gardens are stunning and have great all-year-round interest. The hot garden is a riot of colour at this time of year and well worth a visit but don’t forget the rose garden, the cottage garden and the fruit and veg garden… There’s so much to see you’ll need to spend a day there.

National Trust - Arlington Court

This lovely house and grounds is also the home to the National Trust’s carriage museum, so if you have members of the family who aren’t interested in gardening, then you can let them loose on other things here. The property has a Victorian garden, kitchen garden and pleasure grounds. There’s also an interesting house to take a peek at and a café if you’re feeling peckish. They very often host meet the gardeners’ days and also do guided tours.

Hartland Abbey

This garden has oodles of history you can wallow in. Augustinian canons lived and gardened here from 1157 until 1539. Then in the late 19th and early 20th century, Gertrude Jekyll was a regular guest and was instrumental in helping the then Lady Stucley create the Baronet’s Bog Garden, the Victorian Fernery and the Camellia Garden.

With the outbreak of the first World War, the 15 gardeners were called up and the gardens became overgrown and neglected. Then in the 1950s Sir Dennis and Lady Stucley, both keen and knowledgeable gardeners, started to clear some of the Woodland Gardens and part of the Walled Gardens. They planted much of the large collection of camellias, hydrangeas and eucryphias, and replanted many rhododendrons and azaleas.

In 1996, the present owners, Hugh and Angela Stucley, began further garden restoration work and have maintained the gardens ever since for visitors to enjoy.

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