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Gardens in Devon: 10 of the prettiest to visit

PUBLISHED: 12:57 17 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:59 17 October 2017

Georgia Atkins

RHS Garden Rosemoor © Kerry Garratt (CC BY-SA 2.0) Flickr

Archant

Plan a day out exploring some of Devon’s prettiest flowers, lakes and sculptures at these gardens…

RHS Garden Rosemoor, Torrington

Visit RHS Garden Rosemoor this year for their first ever Flower Show from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th August where you’ll see unique plants and beautiful flowers from some of the best West Country nurseries. You will also be able to tuck into some delicious food, from cream teas to BBQ food – yum! The garden is open from April to September (10am – 6pm) and October through till March (10am – 5pm). The RHS have recently added a new feature; they’ve planted the new orchard of heritage apples; where you will find apples perfect for eating, cooking and cider making.

Marwood Hill Gardens, Guineaford, Barnstaple

Take a trip to Barnstaple, the home or Marwood Hill Gardens, 20 acres of magical gardens and lakes. These gardens are only open from Monday 20th March to Saturday 30th September. Enjoy a warming cuppa with a light lunch or perhaps some cream teas at the Garden Tea Room, an award-winning café. On sunnier days soak in the summer sun and the breathtaking views in the outdoor seating area.

Overbeck’s, Sharpitor, Salcombe

A beautiful Edwardian House located in Sharpitor is known for its museum and sub-tropical gardens which are owned by the National Trust. The gardens are full of flourishing rare and exotic plants; walk through this Devon paradise and you’ll be welcomes by views over the scenic estuary. Stop off for lunch at the café and enjoy some delicious cream teas (cream then jam of course!)

Bicton Park Botanical Gardens, Budleigh Salterton

Visit Budleigh Salterton, the home of Bicton Park Botanical Gardens, one of Devon’s historical gardens. Situated in the breathtaking Otter Valley where you can spot some great wildlife; come along any time of the year (excluding Christmas and Boxing Day) from 10am and make sure you pick up a souvenir from the Bicton Shop to remember your trip by.

Northernhay Gardens, Exeter

Surrounded by history are the Northernhay Gardens in Exeter, one of the oldest public open spaces in England. After a day shopping in the bustling streets of the city enjoy a relaxing lunch at the gardens and soak in the sun in the summer. Northernhay is known to be a great location for some of Devon’s events throughout the year like the Exeter Food and Drink Festival, cinema in the park and more.

Related content: Pubs in Exeter: 8 of the best to visit

Stone Lane Gardens Arboretum, Chagford

Located on the edge of Dartmoor National Park are the Stone Lane Gardens, 5-acres of magical woodland. The gardens originally started back in 1971 by Kenneth Ashburner; they are famous for their national collection of Birch trees, Alder trees and their annual ‘Mythic Garden’ sculpture exhibition which this year opens on Sunday 11th June.

A post shared by Holly Delve (@delveholly) on Oct 15, 2016 at 10:07am PDT

Burrow Farm Gardens, Dalwood

Located in Dalwood are 13-acres of East Devon’s secret gardens with a great tea room where you can enjoy delicious cream teas. Visit the Woodland Garden, one of the oldest parts of the garden home to mature Rhododendrons and ancient maple field; or perhaps the Millennium Garden which was created to celebrate the millennium in 2000. Also there’s the Rose Garden, full of Akebia quinda in spring and old fashioned roses in the summer and don’t miss the stone statue named ‘The Shy Maiden’. This Dalwood gem has so much more to offer so visit from 1st April to 31st October (10am-6pm) to see more.

Dartington Hall Estate and Gardens

Home to the nearly 2000 year old yew tree is the Grade II listed gardens of Dartington Hall Estate and Gardens. Open all year round from dawn till dusk, 7 days a week so come along and explore these stunning grounds. Take a romantic stroll along the unique bridge designed by Peter Randall–Page or visit the 13th century St Mary’s Church Tower.

Buckland Abbey, near Yelverton

Located near to Yelverton is the beautiful National Trust’s Buckland Abbey. Discover the secret wild garden at the cider house or take a walk with your four-legged friend on one of the way marked estate walks. Admire the River Tavy from the garden looking through the magical woodland.

Top Gardens in Devon, England

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Dartington Hall

Part of the 1,200-acre Dartington Hall estate are Grade II Listed gardens that in spring come alive with tree magnolias, camellias, cherry blossom and snake’s head fritillaries in the woodland walks.The wildflower meadows with wild orchids and bluebells are at their height from late May to early June and in summer the Sunny Border near the Tiltyard is spectacular. There is also autumn colour from the maples of High Meadow and Valley Field, and in winter there are witchhazels in the new year followed by the crocus circle on the Great Lawn under the big Turkey Oak tree. There is also a yew tree said to be 1,500 years old, and a Henry Moore sculpture. The gardens, open from dawn until dusk, have free entry, and are part of the Dartington Hall Trust.

Telephone 01803 847000 or visit www.dartington.org

Northernhay Gardens

Northernhay Gardens in the heart of Exeter is the oldest public open space in England and has both a stretch of Roman wall and the only length of Saxon town wall left in the country.It was originally laid out in 1612 as a pleasure walk for Exeter residents and now has a number of mature trees and is home to Peregrines and Sparrowhawks.Neighbouring Rougemont Gardens also part of the Roman city wall plus the gatehouse, earthworks and ditches of William the Conqueror’s Castle.

Entrance is free. For more information call 01392 262630.

Great Torrington Devon

Best reviews

Top pubs in Great Torrington

  • Mariners Arms – Braunton

    Sports Bar

    42 South Street, Braunton, EX33 2AA

    10.7 miles away

    Super food in this pub, always do a sunday lunch which is lovely

  • Flukeys – Barnstaple

    44 Princess St, Barnstaple, EX32 7EU

    9.8 miles away

    WOW FLUKEYS WHAT A GREAT TRADITIONAL PUB VERY FREINDLY GREAT ATMOSPHERE LOVELY LOG FIRE AND GREAT FOOD TO ORDER GREAT …

  • White Horse – town, Barnstaple

    29 Boutport Street, town, Barnstaple, EX31 1RP

    9.6 miles away

    This at first look is a contempary bar very posh looking from outside . it dosnt look like a public …

  • Olive Branch – Barnstaple

    Gastropub

    41 Boutport Street, Barnstaple, EX31 1SE

    9.6 miles away

    Dog friendly,very courteous staff, excellent food, at good prices

  • Seven Stars – Winkleigh

    Bar

    Lama Cross Church St High Street, Winkleigh, EX19 8HX

    10.8 miles away

    Brilliant comfortable welcoming village pub with bar meals and a fantastic beer range. Lovely staff. Dogs welcome, children welcome, real …

Top restaurants in Great Torrington

  • Sagor Tandoori – Bideford

    Indian Restaurant

    22 Chingswell Street, Bideford, EX39 2NF

    5.5 miles away

    Excellent service very friendly and helpful, food hot, presentation very good, recommend to all. Also very good Takeaway service. Guests …

  • Giovannis – Barnstaple

    Italian Restaurant

    35 Boutport Street, Barnstaple, EX31 1RX

    9.6 miles away

    We enjoyed ourselves very much.the food was good,the service was excellent. And the waiters were very polite and funny.We will …

  • Fullam Chinese Restaurant – Barnstaple

    Chinese Restaurant

    18 Tuly Street, Barnstaple, EX31 1DH

    9.5 miles away

    The food is absolutely fantastic with very helpful staff

  • Roosters – Bideford

    English Restaurant

    8 Allhalland Street, Bideford, EX39 2JD

    5.3 miles away

    been too rooster ,very good sunday roast people were very welcoming and friendly will be back again xxx

  • Billy Budds – Croyde, Braunton

    Czech Restaurant

    12 Hobb’s Hill, Croyde, Braunton, EX33 1LZ

    12.8 miles away

    Billy buds is a great pub to visit, my children loved it there as they played on the play …

Top banks in Great Torrington

Banks yet to be reviewed

Top hotels in Great Torrington

  • Clovelly Estate Co – Clovelly, Bideford

    The Quay, Clovelly, Bideford, EX39 5TF

    11.6 miles away

    Red Lion Hotel has won a 2011 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for consistently good reviews

  • Choice Cottages – Braunton

    The Square, Braunton, EX33 2JQ

    10.9 miles away

    Choice Cottages were friendly and had very good knowledge of the local area. Their recommendation to stay at a Croyde …

  • Birchill Farm Holiday Cottages – Langtree, Torrington

    Langtree, Torrington, EX38 8NB

    2.6 miles away

    Stop searching for your perfect family get away…. you just found it. One of the best places I have visited. …

Top shops in Great Torrington

  • Croyde Ice Cream Parlour – Croyde, Braunton

    Dessert Shop

    6 Hobb’s Hill, Croyde, Braunton, EX33 1LZ

    12.9 miles away

    The variaty was good and the choice of cones and toppings i would recomend toffie fudge it is delectable.

  • Gems of Bideford – Bideford

    Fashion Accessories Store

    61 Mill Street, Bideford, EX39 2JT

    5.4 miles away

    We are so lucky to have this shop in Bideford, I have used this business on several occasions, they have …

  • La Maison – Bideford

    Gift Shop

    13 Mill Street, Bideford, EX39 2JT

    5.4 miles away

    2nd visit here whilst on holiday from Oxford. Beautiful unique gifts and fair prices too.My husband and I chatted with …

  • Torrington Jewellers – Great Torrington, Torrington

    Fashion Accessories Store

    14 High Street, Great Torrington, Torrington, EX38 8HN

    0.1 miles away

    Fantastic service and range of products

  • Bucks Cross post office – Bideford

    Bucks Cross, Bideford, EX39 5DP

    9.5 miles away

    I love this shop/post office. Great variety of items..food,cleaning products,stationary etc. The only place I can find almost the whole …

Top supermarkets in Great Torrington

Supermarkets yet to be reviewed

Top takeaways in Great Torrington

  • Food On The Go – Holsworthy

    Sandwich Shop and Takeaway

    2 High Street, Holsworthy, EX22 6EL

    13.5 miles away

    Good food friendly staff and all ways clean

  • Corner Cafe – Holsworthy

    Fish and Chips Takeaway

    4 Stanhope Square, Holsworthy, EX22 6AP

    13.2 miles away

    I recently bought fish and chips at this corner cafe, and was very impressed by the excellent quality of food, …

  • Indian Kitchen – Braunton

    North Street, Braunton, EX33 1AJ

    11 miles away

    There Peshwari nan is the best thing I have ever put in my mouth. All their food is amazing! Although …

  • Crisp and Dry – Holsworthy

    2 Fore Street, Holsworthy, EX22 6EB

    13.5 miles away

    great fish and chips , cooked fresh to order , great service very highly recommended , …

  • Bengal Tiger – South Molton

    2 Cooks Cross, South Molton, EX36 4AW

    14 miles away

    Great food, very friendly staff.

Top cinemas in Great Torrington

Cinemas yet to be reviewed

Top home improvement in Great Torrington

  • Mal Brown Architectural Services – Bideford, Biddeford

    Architect

    18 Rowe Close, Bideford, Biddeford, EX39 5XX

    5.2 miles away

    We contacted Mal Brown because we were experiencing problems with TDC with a planning application for the summerhouse we were …

  • Street Gary – Barnstaple

    Plumber

    8 Potterswell, Barnstaple, EX31 3UX

    8.4 miles away

    Highly recommended

  • Craig Man & Van – Swimbridge, Barnstaple

    Removal Service

    Swimbridge, Barnstaple, EX32 0QA

    10.5 miles away

    Excellent service, glad to recommend: calm, efficient, helpful, honest.

  • Ian Rice Builders – North Tawton

    Builder

    Sunnyridge/Moor View, North Tawton, EX20 2HW

    15.1 miles away

    Very good work on brick and masonry . BUT watch out for extra charges on bill under sundries.

  • Russell Williams Plumbing & Heating – North Devon

    Plumber

    Landsdown Villas Goodleigh Road, North Devon, EX32 7JR

    11.5 miles away

    New Boiler installed with a 7 year parts and labour warranty……fantastic

Top health and beauty in Great Torrington

  • Apex Sports – Barnstaple

    Running Store

    53 High Street, Barnstaple, EX31 1BZ

    9.6 miles away

    I have used this store on several occasions and they are always very helpful and knowledgeable. I will continue to …

  • Hair Shoppe – Croyde, Braunton

    Hair Care

    4 Jones’s Hill, Croyde, Braunton, EX33 1LX

    12.9 miles away

    Amazing work!!!!!!Just as I wanted it !!!Nice stuff.

  • Heavenly Hair – Holsworthy

    Hair Care

    3 High St, Holsworthy, EX22 6EL

    13.5 miles away

    Great it was fantastic

  • Mitchells – Holsworthy

    Beauty

    6 Chapel Street, Holsworthy, EX22 6BU

    13.5 miles away

    We’ve just come home after visiting Mitchells and just wanted to say a big thank you for such a wonderful …

  • Obsessions – Great Torrington, Torrington

    Beauty

    9 High Street, Great Torrington, Torrington, EX38 8HN

    0.1 miles away

    A great place for a great haircut. The hairdressers listen to what it is you want and give excellent …

Top attractions in Great Torrington

  • Exmoor Zoo – Bratton Fleming

    Zoo

    South Stowford, Bratton Fleming, EX31 4SG

    16.5 miles away

    The zoo is open daily from 27th December – 23rd December.Closed Xmas eve, xmas day and boxing day. We close at …

  • Aqua Essentials – Lapford, Crediton

    Aquarium

    5A Yeo Vale Industrial Estate, Lapford, Crediton, EX17 6YQ

    15.9 miles away

    Had terrible experience with them. Bought 60 pound worth of plants and driftwood and it arrived in 2 weeks with …

Top property services in Great Torrington

  • Barr Financial Services – Bideford

    Mortgage Broker

    8 Bridgeland Street, Bideford, EX39 2PZ

    5.5 miles away

    I would highly recommend Barr Financial Services. I found Ben to be very knowledgeable and approachable. A pleasure to deal …

Top education in Great Torrington

  • Project Dance – Barnstaple

    Dance School

    21 Becklake Close, Barnstaple, EX31 3UZ

    8.2 miles away

    BeeN dancing for 8 years with Steve and Karen have fun every week also like to prove old people can …

  • Rob Reed motorcycle training – Barnstaple

    Driving School

    Landkey Road, Barnstaple, EX32 9LA

    9.2 miles away

    Stay well clear of Rob Reed Motorcycle Training. His level of training is sub standard and doesn’t teach you the …

Top business services in Great Torrington

Business services yet to be reviewed

Top leisure in Great Torrington

Leisure yet to be reviewed

Parks & Gardens in North Devon

You’ll find some lovely parks in most of North Devon towns and villages, as well as some award-winning ones too. They’re fantastic for those who are looking for a fun and inexpensive way to entertain the whole family with activities such as walking, cycling, football – or just sitting down and watching the world go by while enjoying a picnic.

North Devon’s temperate climate and diverse landscape has long inspired gardeners and we have a wide variety of beautiful gardens to explore. Many also have play areas for children and cafes or shops/garden centres making them a great place for fun and relaxation.

Visit the National Park

Devon has two National Parks and Exmoor happens to sit on the border between North Devon and Somerset. The Exmoor National Park provides a huge array of different landscapes to explore – from blustery clifftops with panoramic views to sheltered flower-filled valleys and of course, the famous ponies, which wander the moor. There is something very special about stumbling across a herd of them, particularly in spring when the foals are taking their first steps.

Being a National Park, Exmoor is free to visit and there is a wealth of information about the wildlife there as well as the many walking and cycling trails available from the park’s information centre. Exmoor has some incredible views as well as being home to a number of plants and animals that are rarely seen elsewhere.

Beautiful landscaped gardens

While Exmoor might be the biggest area of green space in North Devon, there are also a range of beautifully arranged landscaped gardens. Some of the most popular are those owned by trusts, RHS Garden Rosemoor has 65 acres and offers everything from tranquil days out to flower sales to a wedding venue! Arlington Court, which is managed by the National Trust is also located in an incredibly well maintained garden and is a wonderful place for a quick stroll or to take in the beauty of the plants and other wildlife that live there.

Hartland Abbey is another property with a fantastic garden, located in Bideford, this magnificent estate has stunning views over the sea as well as woodland, parkland and a garden to enjoy.

Beautiful whatever the weather

It doesn’t matter whether you are visiting in the height of summer when all the flowers are in bloom or in the middle of winter when the trees have lost their leaves, the parks and gardens that can be found in North Devon retain their beauty throughout the seasons. They’re a fantastic destination for those that want to entertain the whole family without having to pay out. You can enjoy various outside activities including bike rides, walks and playing ball games in these places, plus many of them are dog friendly, so you can bring your four legged friends along with you too.

Most of the towns and villages in North Devon have green spaces for the public to enjoy, many of which also host events during the busy seasons including live music, festivals and markets. Check our events page to see what is coming up in the next few weeks.

Wherever you are in Devon, the well-looked after and child friendly parks are a great place to enjoy the great outdoors and have some fun.

The best tropical and hidden gardens in Devon

Devon is known for its beaches, coastline, and creams teas but did you know it also has some of the best gardens in the whole of the UK?

From the tropical to the hidden, there are plenty of very different and very beautiful gardens to visit in the county.

Whether you want to have a long stroll in gorgeous surroundings, see some amazing art in a dramatic environment or are a horticulturalist eager to learn more, here are our choices of the best gardens in Devon to visit.

Bicton Park Botanical Gardens, Budleigh Salterton

One of the most visited attractions in Devon, the gardens in the Otter Valley span nearly 300 year of horticultural history.

They are nestled between the ancient city of Exeter and England’s Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

The delightfully landscaped park combines 18th century tranquility with modern amenities.

Alongside historic glasshouses, there is a countryside museum, Bicton Woodland Railway train ride, nature trail, maze, mini golf, indoor and outdoor children’s play spaces, restaurant and shop.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Broomhill Sculpture Gardens, Barnstaple

Gardens are not all about the flowers – art can bring a whole new dimension and at Broomhill Sculpture Garden you can see 300 sculptures on display by more than 60 artists.

Broomhill, which was created in 1997, has grown into one of the largest permanent collections of contemporary sculpture in the South West.

The ten acres of garden lies in one of the most glorious valleys in North Devon, surrounded by hundreds of acres of woodland and bound by its own stream.

Awe-inspiring, exceptional and mesmerising are just some of the words that could be used to describe the work of the ten finalists in this year’s National Sculpture Prize competition, which have pride of place in the meadow.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Buckland Abbey, Yelverton

The National Trust property is part museum, part house and dates back 700 years to the Cistercians who built the abbey and farmed the estate.

The gardens are a wonderful place to enjoy the peace and tranquility that surrounds the beautiful Tavy valley. You will also find meadows, orchards and woodlands and the way-marked trails are a riot of colour through the seasons.

The gardens include a cider house, where herbaceous borders provide seasonal interest, and a secret ‘wild’ garden, camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias, an Elizabethan garden with its fountain and the kitchen garden.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews. Click here to join the National Trust and get a free pair of binoculars.

Burrow Farm Gardens, Axminster

The 13-acre colour themed garden is one of East Devon’s secrets, set in idyllic countryside between Axminster and Honiton.

There is always something to delight you here, where the lawn sweeps down past the ancient oak to the small lake. From the summer house the vista stretches beyond the gardens over the wider landscape. The colours change throughout the year culminating in a blaze of autumn splendour.

The woodland garden is the oldest part, with mature rhododendrons and an ancient field maple that was the inspiration for starting the garden in 1963, while wild flowers abound in the Roman clay quarry.

There is also a Millennium Garden, with a formal pond and stone gazebo, rose garden with its stone statue The Shy Maiden, an azalea glade created from a bramble patch and a wildflower meadow with more than 250 orchids and wildlife ponds.

Click here for directions and visitor review.

Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton

You may think a castle would have little in the way of gardens to admire, but at Castle Drogo there is a stunning Lutyens-designed terrace garden with dramatic views of Dartmoor, a rose garden and a quaint Bunty House with its own miniature garden.

The dramatic castle itself overlooking the Teign Gorge is undergoing an extensive conservation project to make it watertight, but the National Trust property is still worth a visit.

Below the castle you can follow the winding paths into the sheltered Teign Valley. Explore this ancient gorge, teeming with wildlife as you follow the trails along the river.

The 12 acre private formal gardens set away from the castle is a very modern style of garden with lots of interconnecting vistas.

The garden is an extension of the castle, with granite walls, domed Ironwood trees and ‘corridors’ and includes a rhododendron garden at the bottom, creating a quiet spot to take in the views.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews. Click here to join the National Trust and get a free pair of binoculars.

Castle Hill Gardens, Barnstaple

On the southern edge of Exmoor lies 50 acres of historic parkland set against a stunning backdrop of the 18th century Palladian Mansion House. The beautiful gardens are hired for weddings, private and corporate events.

As you arrive at Castle Hill your eye will be drawn to the long ochre-coloured house with the castle on the hill behind.

Start with a walk through the Millennium Garden with its striking water feature and onto the walled garden. Pathways lead across formal terraces in front of the house where the eye is drawn to the distant Triumphal Arch and magnificent Holwell Temple.

You can walk through the woodland gardens, stroll down to the river and take a climb to the castle for panoramic views to Exmoor, Dartmoor and beyond. You will see statues, follies and temples built by the Fortescue family over the years.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Clovelly Court Gardens, Clovelly

One of the outstanding Victorian kitchen gardens to visit in North Devon, Clovelly Court is a must-see while visiting the famous village.

You will discover that the old walled gardens are a contrast to the rest of the village. Protected from the winds and bounded by an avenue of lofty lime trees, they are usually a month ahead of the season. Consequently you’ll find that there’s always something to see and enjoy during the year.

They are neat, carefully tended gardens bordered by herbaceous beds. In the run of the beautifully restored Victorian glasshouses you will find apricots, peaches, aubergines, nectarines, peppers, chillies, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, grapes, lemons and figs ripening in the warmth.

Outside, the garden produce is tasteful and wholesome, along with apples, pears, quinces, medlars, soft fruit, and two mulberry trees – and even Chinese gooseberries. Produce is supplied to both the local pubs.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Coleton Fishacre, Dartmouth

This 1920s country retreat complete with luxuriant garden by the sea is managed by the National Trust and is the country home of the D’Oyly Carte family.

In the RHS-accredited garden, viewpoints give enticing glimpses out to sea, paths weave through glades past tranquil ponds, and tender plants from the Mediterranean, South Africa and New Zealand thrive in the moist and sheltered valley.

There is a walled rill garden where a small stream runs through the centre, a hot border at the bottom of the terraces which is aflame with red and orange flowers, a gazebo where you can soak up the views, a fern glade with access to the South West Coast Path and a paddock wood.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews. Click here to join the National Trust and get a free pair of binoculars.

Dartington Hall Gardens, Totnes

The gardens at Dartington are a monument to the vision and enterprise of the families who have owned it, notably Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst who wanted to create a home and a unique experiment in rural regeneration, education and arts.

They repaired and reconstructed the dilapidated historical buildings, built new properties on the estate and worked with a series of landscape designers – clearing the tangle of overgrowth and moving away from rigid Victorian design to reveal the great trees, shapes and curves of the landscape.

The tiered shape “Tiltyard” was accentuated, while one side has a series of grassy banks, each with a flat terrace stepping up to a row of ancient chestnut trees, where Henry Moore’s ‘Reclining Figure’ sculpture quietly spends her days.

A lawn, three more terraces, and a row of 12 Irish yew trees, known as the ‘Twelve Apostles’, separate this area from the 14th century hall. The Tiltyard lies between a natural spring, which today feeds the Swan Fountain, and the stream that runs through Valley Field.

Spanning the entire length of the terraces the Sunny Border has evolved over a known period from 1928 to the present day. The chief colour scheme of blues, purples, yellows, silvers and whites developed simultaneously with it.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Docton Mill Gardens, Bideford

Sitting in a stunning valley in North Devon, Docton Mill Gardens began life in the 1930s but fell into disrepair before being restored in 1980 with extensive planting and the creation of a new bog garden and borders and lots of trees added.

Later, a magnolia garden with more than 140 metres of herbaceous borders, woodland garden and greenhouse area enabling more extensive plant propagation were added.

The wild flower gardens theme is to make everything as natural as possible and gives variety throughout the seasons.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Elizabethan Gardens, Plymouth

This delightful little garden is an oasis of tranquility in a sea of shoppers and tourist activity, in a street that was new in the 16th century, when wealthy merchants built their houses here.

Although a popular tourist stop it is tucked away, and can be quiet and completely empty even on a hot August day.

Very low box hedges contain beds of colourful flowers and fragrant herbs in the old Elizabethan manner.

Underfoot are cobbled paths and areas of old slate. Relaxing beside the cooling fountain, it is easy to think yourself back in Elizabethan Plymouth.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Fast Rabbit Farm Gardens, Dartmouth

One of South Devon’s best kept secrets, Fast Rabbit Garden occupies 43 acres of the secluded Strawberry Valley and, nurtured since 1991, it is probably the largest garden featuring acid-loving plants in the county.

The owners try to bring a flavour of the garden in each season and an impression of the range of habitats which are home to a vast family of plants, birds and other creatures. You will certainly be stunned by the vivid blooms and also soothed by the ever-present sound of water as it splashes, trickles and cascades through the valley.

The wide entrance drive has been planted with a new shrub and bulb bed, the Mediterranean garden has undergone a landscaping project to create new paths viewing platforms and seating as well as extensive new planting.

You are encouraged to take along a picnic – the only thing you need to do is decide which spot across the site you want to enjoy it in.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Greenway House and Gardens, Brixham

At the beloved holiday home of the famous and much-loved author Agatha Christie and her family you can take a glimpse into their lives and walk in their footsteps in the large and romantic gardens and woodland.

The walled gardens are home to a restored peach house and vinery, as well as an allotment cared for by local school children. It has also been accredited by the International Camellia Society as a garden of excellence.

Look out for hydrangeas, headed-flowered dogwood, Chinese dogwood fruit, beans growing on the Catalpa ovata, and apples ripe on the trees.

A visit to Greenway isn’t complete without seeing the Boathouse, scene of the crime in Dead Man’s Folly, and the battery complete with cannon. You can also soak up views of the River Dart.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews. Click here to join the National Trust and get a free pair of binoculars.

Hartland Abbey, Bideford

The home of the Stucley family, the beautiful 18th century walled and woodland gardens walks and the parkland provide visitors with extensive grounds through which to wander and enjoy the stunning valley leading down to the rugged Atlantic cove and cottage at Blackpool Mill.

Some of things to watch out for are the winding paths through the baronet’s bog garden which was only recently uncovered, the Victorian fernery with its twisted and gnarled acer and camellia garden.

There are four secret romantic 18th century walled gardens. Within the shelter of the walls are grown vegetables and fruit for the house and for sale, many tender and rare plants, summer perennials and shrubs.

Children enjoy the freedom to explore the open spaces and winding paths and love meeting the resident donkeys Becky and Snowdrop, the wandering peacocks and the flock of black Welsh mountain sheep.

The quiz and the nature trail are great ways to keep children amused.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Homeyards Botanical Garden, Teignmouth

Situated on a steep hillside above the village of Shaldon, the terraced gardens with its Italian rockeries, pond and rill gardens, have breathtaking views over to Teignmouth, the estuary, sea and coastline.

The gardens, which sit next to a castle, were created in the 1920s and its main feature is the series of paths and terraces, with a tree-lined avenue leading down to a spring-fed pond.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Killerton, Exeter

A family home and a great estate was given to the National Trust in 1944. As well as the house, the 6,400 acre grounds have a glorious landscape garden surrounded by parkland as well as working farmland.

There’s plenty of calm space in the glorious garden, beautiful year-round with rhododendrons, magnolias, champion trees and formal lawns. You can explore winding paths, climb an extinct volcano, discover an Iron Age hill fort and take in distant views towards Dartmoor.

As you wander through the garden you’ll notice a curious structure at the top of the lawn nestled beneath the trees – the bear hut, built originally as a summer house, it was later used to house a black bear called Tom in the 1860s.

Off the beaten track, you can discover three of Killerton’s hidden gems. Nestled by the River Clyst sits Clyston Mill, a working watermill. In the heart of Broadclyst you’ll find Marker’s, a medieval house steeped in history, and just a stone’s throw away from Killerton House is a 1950s post office with charming cottage garden.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews. Click here to join the National Trust and get a free pair of binoculars.

Knightshayes, Tiverton

Knightshayes is a country estate on a grand scale, with acres of glorious garden and park, surrounding a spectacular Gothic Revival house under the ownership of the National Trust.

The formal and woodland garden is one of the finest and most varied plant collections in the country, with more than 1,200 plant species unique to Knightshayes and an ever-changing display.

Diverse and magical, the formal and woodland garden is divided into eight separate areas. These include the garden in the wood, Holly’s wood, Sir John’s wood with its vulnerable and rare plants, Michael’s wood, the arboretum, English woodland walk and the south garden with its Japanese cherries and other exotic trees.

There is an intimate sensory paved garden with herbs colourful bulbs and lavender, a formal garden with breathtaking views and colourful terraces, the pool garden, quirky topiary including the Talbot dogs and fox being chased by hounds.

It also has a walled kitchen garden, brimming with seasonal produce for the Stables Cafe. Out in the parkland, there are woodland walks, acres of tenanted farmland (home to tenant farmers’ Exmoor Horn sheep), and a wild play area.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews. Click here to join the National Trust and get a free pair of binoculars.

Leechwell Gardens, Totnes

A community garden hidden in the middle of Totnes. Often called the ‘magical garden’ due to its wealth of wildlife, herb garden, natural play area and hosting local events all managed by volunteers.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Marwood Hill Gardens, Barnstaple

This magical and very special 20-acre private garden with three lakes is set in a valley tucked away in North Devon, near Barnstaple, and features an impressive collection of plants, shrubs and trees.

It contains much to surprise and delight both enthusiastic gardeners and casual visitors. From the moment the first snowdrops poke their little noses through in spring there is so much to see throughout the year until the rich autumnal tints and shiny fat berries of autumn.

There are massed camellias and rhododendrons, bog gardens, the National Collection of Astilbes and hydrangeas on the hillside. There is also wonderful views across the valley from the tea room.

Gardening is done with wildlife in mind and various habitats are provided. You will see piles of branches and mounds of leaves all over the site, which are home to lots of lovely bugs and beasties.

Kingfishers are regular visitors to the lake and the areas of rough grass provides both food and hibernating sites for the young of many butterflies and moths.

The garden has featured on many TV programmes over the years and is enjoyed by visitors of all ages looking for inspiration, relaxation or just a great day out with the family.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Northernhay Gardens, Exeter

The site of Northernhay Gardens was quarried in Roman times for stone from which to build the adjacent city walls and In the Norman period it formed part of the defences of the castle.

The gardens are of outstanding historic significance, incorporating a good stretch of Roman wall and the only length of Saxon town wall to be seen in England. They were laid out by the City Chamber for the public recreation in 1612.

It was destroyed in the Civil War, but soon after the restoration of the castle, in 1664, the city set about restoring the park, planting hundreds of young elms, and paying over the next few years for watering and staking them, and for laying out gravel paths.

There has been a continuous tradition of maintaining the park as a major city amenity since that time. In 1806, for example, it was described as ‘justly admired, planted with lofty elms… kept in good repair by the chamber, much resorted to for its fine air and agreeable shade.’

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Overbecks, Salcombe

A hidden paradise of subtropical gardens and quirky collections tucked away on the cliffs above Salcombe surrounding the seaside home of scientist and inventor Otto Overbeck.

The garden, given to the National Trust in 1937, is filled exotic and rare plants, with surprises round every corner, and the views from the garden over the estuary and coast are stunning.

You can explore the banana garden, meander through the woodland or relax beneath the palms. The mix of plants creates a dramatic display of hot colours and exotic scents.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews. Click here to join the National Trust and get a free pair of binoculars.

Plant World Gardens, Newton Abbot

This is no ordinary garden centre – it is one of the floral highlights of Devon, the first to be laid out to create a map of the world, representing the five continents of the world containing countless rare and exotic plants.

Located between Torquay and Newton Abbot, the gardens were designed, built and planted in 1986 and take at least half an hour to walk the winding paths.

The African garden features agapanthus, possibly the best collection of dieramas in the UK and iris, while the American one has Dog Tooth violets, mountain columbines and conifers, the New Zealand garden has cabbage palms and a large tree fern, the Australian garden features 80-foot-high eucalyptus trees and in the European garden are tall tree heathers.

There is a Himalayan garden with some incredible plants and a pond, a cottage garden with old-fashioned daisies and giant thistles, a Mediterranean garden with rock roses and a hot garden featuring hundreds of hollyhocks.

Views from the gardens are unbeatable, with green Devon hills and woodland all around, framing the distant views of the tidal River Teign. The adjoining rare plant nursery was constructed to enable visitors to take home plants and trees they had seen growing there.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

RHS Garden Rosemoor, Torrington

Nestled in the Torridge Valley, Rosemoor is an enchanting place to visit in every season – cherry trees blossom in the spring, the iconic hot garden dazzles with vibrant colours in summer, while the woodlands blaze with autumn finery and the winter garden catches the eye later in the year.

It is known for its outstanding rose gardens, while the stone garden is one of the oldest parts with a stone lion in the centre. There is a potager and cottage garden with thatched summer house and where produce is grown in a circular pattern.

There is also a stumpery featuring ferns with the sculptural backdrop of gnarled trees and a winter garden of vivid colour.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Royal Avenue Gardens, Dartmouth

Built on reclaimed land from a former sandbank in the river, the gardens feature a strong wall, originally created to form extra quay space for ships.

The 1.5 acre gardens, which opened in 1887, contain an ornamental fountain, a rose garden, a war memorial, a small pond, a herb garden, an Antipodean garden, a bandstand, the Veale/Savill memorial garden, a Mediterranean garden and a community greenhouse.

Due to its mild climate, gingko, New Zealand tree ferns, olives and the Chusan palm all thrive here.

Display boards explain the history and interesting features of the gardens. The bandstand is enclosed on three sides to provide shelter and features as a stage during the town’s annual cultural festivals.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Saltram House, Plympton

Another National Trust gem, Saltram overlooks the River Plym and is set in a rolling landscape park that provides precious green space on the outskirts of Plymouth.

Originally developed in the 18th century as a landscape garden, the plantsmans’ garden which now exists at Saltram was mostly created in the late 19th century by the third Earl of Morley.

Planted with many impressive specimens of rare, ancient and exotic trees and plants, the garden is a horticulturalist’s delight. See different areas burst into colour and flower throughout the year and be sure to indulge in the heady scents along many of the paths.

There’s lots of variety, from the quarter-of-a-mile long lime avenue, believed to be the longest of its type in Europe, to the orange grove, a peaceful spot with a Mediterranean feel which is the perfect place to soak up the sun and search for insects and tadpoles in the pond. The 18th century working Orangery is not to be missed.

Strolling along the riverside or through the woodland, you can almost forget that the city lies so close.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews. Click here to join the National Trust and get a free pair of binoculars.

Simmons Park, Okehampton

Landscaped with ornamental fountains and waterfalls and a Swiss-style chalet, riverside walk and magical hidden walkways, this lovely green space is a great place to explore.

In around 1905, Sydney Simmons acquired the meadow and woods beside the East Okement River and paid for it to be landscaped as a park for the people of Okehampton. In 1906 he presented the park to the town and it was opened to the public on July 8, 1907 and named Simmons Park after the town’s generous benefactor.

In 1921, Okehampton Town Council acquired Kempley Meadows, which now form part of Simmons Park, and Sydney Simmons provided the funds to have the recreation grounds, including a bowling green, laid out.

In 2002, Simmons Park was refurbished. The works included the restoration of the beautiful woodland walks and the addition of a rose garden to celebrate Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee and since then it has had multi-sports facilities added, along with an elegant band stand.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Stone Lane Gardens, Chagford

This is an enchanting five-acre woodland garden on the edge of Dartmoor and is famous for its National Collections of Birch trees and Alder trees and the annual ‘Mythic Garden’ sculpture exhibition.

The gardens, created 40 years ago and now looked after by a charity, also won the Gardeners’ World magazine’s ‘Gardens to Visit SW’ award in 2010.

An important showcase for Westcountry artists, among groves of trees, pools and streams, individual sculptures can be seen within their own natural ‘frames’ for the exhibition.

The gardens create a magical setting for the exhibition which is loved by visitors of all ages. It is an ideal place to bring the family, as children love to discover the sculptures, tucked away around every corner all around the gardens.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Tapeley Park Gardens, Bideford

Sitting high on a hill overlooking the River Torridge, Tapeley Park Gardens are renowned for their beauty – particularly the Italian terraces.

The grounds include a Victorian-ere lake, ponds, old woodland and a number of fields where custodian Hector Christie’s herd of highland cattle graze. As well as a sizeable organic vegetable garden, Tapeley Park has one of the oldest permaculture gardens in the UK.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

Tessier Gardens, Torquay

The award-winning gardens is unique in that it is for adults only – due a covenant which bans both children and dogs – but this makes it’s a beautiful, tranquil, peaceful place to visit.

They are situated between Babbacombe and St Marychurch in Torquay and are a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and enjoy a sanctuary of calm.

The Tessier Gardens have won many awards, including the RHS Green Flag and there is always something pretty to look at whatever the time of year.

Click here for directions and visitor reviews.

How to sign up to the National Trust

The National Trust looks after more than 500 places across the UK which includes some of the best beaches, parks, forests and wildlife areas in the country.

For a monthly or yearly fee you can enjoy as much of it as you like when becoming a National Trust member.

Individual memberships are priced at:

  • Adults (aged 26 and over) – £69 a year, or £5.75 a month
  • Young person (aged 18-25) – £34.50 a year
  • Junior (aged 0-17) – £10 a year

Join here

Here’s what you get:

  • Free entry to over 500 special places
  • Free parking at most National Trust car parks
  • National Trust Handbook full of ideas to help you plan a visit
  • National Trust Magazine sent to you three times a year
  • Regular newsletters sent straight to your inbox

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here

Gardens of North Devon

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Your programme

This special interest gardens holiday includes a welcome drink on arrival, three full-day excursions with five visits, plus three evening talks from your expert host.

Marwood Hill Garden: Transfer by coach to Marwood Hill Garden in Barnstaple. Located in a steep valley, Marwood Hill is packed with displays which will delight both green-fingered and casual visitors alike. From the splendour of the camellias and rhododendrons, to the bog gardens with their carpet of primulas and iris, there’s lots to catch your eye. The garden is also home to three national collections, including the Astilbes collection which numbers 140 different types. Watch for wildlife too, including kingfishers in the lake area.

Hartland Abbey: Head to Hartland Abbey. Built in the 12th Century, Hartland Abbey survived as a monastery longer than any other in the country. In 1539 Henry VIII gifted the Abbey to the Keeper of his Wine Cellar and today the house still remains in the family. The extensive grounds and stunning valley leading down to the rugged Atlantic cove and cottage at Blackpool Mill, have been the location for many notable films including the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and John Le Carre’s The Night Manager starring Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Colman. The Abbey is considered the most historically important ancestral home in North Devon and contains architecture and decoration from the Medieval, Queen Anne, Georgian, Regency and Victorian periods and paintings, furniture, Chinese artefacts and porcelain collected over many generations.

Arlington Court: Visit the gardens and house of Arlington Court. Now owned by the National Trust, this elegant Regency mansion was the home of the Chichester family. The landscaped gardens comprise some 30 acres of pleasures gardens designed in the ‘picturesque’ style, together with a Victorian Garden with water feature and a walled kitchen garden. Entry to the house which is home to various collection, is also included together with the carriage museum.

Castle Hill Gardens: Visit picturesque Castle Hill Gardens this afternoon. Situated on the Southern edge of Exmoor and in the rolling hills of North Devon, these beautiful gardens showcase 50 acres of historic Parkland set against the breath-taking 18th-century Palladian Mansion House which provides a fantastic photograph opportunity.

RHS Rosemoor Gardens: Look forward to spending a day at the 65-acre RHS Rosemoor Gardens, nestled in the Torridge Valley near Great Torrington, known as the ‘cavalier town’ due to the part it played in the Civil War. Rosemoor is an enchanting place to visit in every season. The gardens feature innovative seasonal planting displays as well as the largest rose garden in the South West. The show of blooms will vary depending on the time of year that you visit, with cherry trees blossoming in the spring and the iconic Hot Garden dazzling with vibrant colours in summer. Those on the July departure can look forward to seeing the Rose Festival in full bloom.

It’s Little Wonder

That the Duke of Bedford, who two centuries ago owned a third of Devon, chose this spot for his hunting and fishing lodge. Overlooking the River Tamar and beyond into Cornwall, Endsleigh, now owned by Olga Polizzi, is set in 108 acres of gardens, woodlands, follies and grottos created by Humphry Repton.

Designed 200 years ago this was one of Humphry Repton’s last commissions and brings together a multitude of landscaping elements for which Repton was renowned.

Immediately around the house there are formal gardens running down to the River Tamar. There is a picturesque dell with little bridges crossing streams, huge Gunnera leaves and wonderful picnic spots. Beyond the formal gardens is the arboretum which contains unusual trees from around the world, still standing in the spots marked out with bamboo canes by the Duchess. Some of the trees are national champions.

The Grounds, Garden & Arboretum

The Endsleigh Gardener

Blog #11

Though we are still in the depths of winter and have just had our first hard frost, there are little beacons of hope popping up all over here at Endsleigh. Snowdrops pop their bowed heads through the frost, as if to check all is well for the coming year; winter aconites light up shady corners with their sunny yellow flowers; crocus are tempted from their winter slumber by the low winter sun, and hellebores, now unencumbered by their old leaves, attack the new year with vigour and a smile on their faces.

Read the blog

By Ben Ruscombe-King
January 2020

Come and see for yourself…

Escape to Endsleigh

Stay for two nights from £519 including

-Full English breakfast each morning
-A warm welcome to the hotel with a glass of Champagne and canapés
-A three-course dinner on one evening with the sommelier’s choice of wine for each course

This offer is based on two people sharing a classic room. Available from the 6 February-1 April 2020 (excluding 12-22 & 27-29 February).

Book this Offer

This year we learned that we used to have a three story glass-house, heightened for the growth of a specimen of Araucaria Excelsa.

If ever a hotel were built in paradise it would be like Endsleigh – a fairytale cottage set in an Arcadian landscape with delicious food and blissful rooms. I love it and envy that sublime landscape – the perfect opportunity to step back in time to a graceful age.

Alan Titchmarsh

Tour of the gardens

with Head gardener Ben Ruscombe-King

£50 Book

The Chelsea Flower Show

Watch the Video

Repton’s Red Book

The gardens are open everyday

Admittance to the garden is £5 or free to guests joining us for lunch, afternoon tea or one of our eclectic selection of events. There is something happening almost everyday.

New Aquariums in stock

Thank you for visiting our website which includes our web shop!

With the web-shop comes the ability to be able to shop using click & collect. If you are new to this all you have to do is shop as usual placing items into your shopping basket and follow the instructions. You will then receive an email with confirmation of your order. A member of our knowledgable staff then picks out the product and places it into a real basket here. As payment is taken at the time all you have to do is park outside of our shop, show your confirmation email to a member of staff behind the counter, and we then help you with the products to your car. Its as easy as that! If you place an order between 9am and 12 noon you can collect the same day after 3pm. If you order from 12 noon until 9am the following day you can collect from 11am. We will hold the products for 48 hours from the order being taken.

We have a larger stock of products available in store so why not call in and treat yourself to something. Happy shopping.

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