Visit the Garden of the Year 2024 shortlist

Inverary Castle with gardens in the foreground

Gardens are great places to visit on a touring holiday and the shortlist for the Historic Houses Garden of the Year Award 2024 have just been announced.

These six locations have been selected from hundreds of gardens, parks and grounds that are open to the public through membership of Historic Houses.

The organisation represents independent castles, homes of heritage value and gardens across the UK.

Packing up your caravan or motorhome to tour a few of them could make a great spring expedition. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite on the website.

Ursula Cholmeley, chair of the Historic Houses Gardens Committee, said: “These gardens are amongst the finest in the country and we hope that you will get great pleasure from visiting some of them and voting for your favourite.”

Chelsea Physic Garden, London

Hidden behind tall walls on the Thames Embankment, Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London for its apprentices to study medicinal plants and their uses.

It’s unique in being the only botanic garden collection focused on medicinal, herbal and useful plants, but remains a fascinating and beautiful place to explore.

Holker Hall and Gardens, Cumbria

Situated between the Lake District and the sea, Holker Hall is in a great location for visiting as part of a touring trip to Cumbria in your leisure vehicle.

Beauty, history and art can all be found in the 23-acre estate, which includes themed spaces, like the Summer Garden, Oak Lawn and Woodland Garden. Don’t miss the Cascade, Fountain and Lily Pool water features for added drama.

Hever Castle and Gardens, Kent

It’s hard to believe that at the turn of the last century, these 125-acre gardens were marshland, but now feature more than 5,000 roses and a topiary chess set.

The importance of Italy cannot be overstated, with Hever Castle’s gardens boasting a Pompeian Wall, classical statuary and a water feature inspired by Rome’s Trevi Fountain.

Picton Castle Gardens, Pembrokeshire

Exploring Pembrokeshire’s stunning coastline in a caravan or motorhome is one of the most rewarding things to do in Wales, but it’s worth taking a detour inland to visit Picton Castle Gardens.

Even to garden enthusiasts, this is a destination unlike any other, with a formal Walled Garden, two ice houses, 18th century cascades, a Dew Pond and plants including everything from rare rhododendrons to banana trees.

Inveraray Castle and Gardens, Argyll

If you’re heading up to Scotland to complete the NC500 this summer, why not stop off at Inveraray Castle and Gardens on the way?

Out of 180 acres of mainly woodland, 16 acres of the estate has been made into formal lawns and flowerbeds, with each consecutive duke evolving the gardens by planting species in their own preferred styles.

Ushaw Historic House, Chapel and Gardens

Rhododendron lovers should not miss out on Ushaw Historic House, Chapel and Gardens, which has been lovingly brought back to life by volunteers since 2017.

The former Catholic seminary is surrounded by 38 acres of formal gardens, woodland and walled gardens, where rhododendrons are the biggest draw.