Though we all love spending a summer’s day on the beach, there is something special about the vibrant colours of a garden while the sun is shining. Whether you’re looking for somewhere tranquil to while away the hours, somewhere to pique the interest of your inner gardener or you just want to do something a little different this summer, here are some of Devon’s must visit gardens to add to your itinerary.
We’re starting our list in Exeter – you might be surprised to hear that Devon’s capital city and one of the busiest places in the county features here, but Exeter has plenty of lovely gardens and green spaces to enjoy. Northernhay Gardens is actually one of the oldest public open spaces in the whole of England and can be found in the heart of the city. Throughout the summer months there are a host of events taking place, including cinema screenings, music and food festivals, so this is one for those that love a city atmosphere but still want to be surrounded by nature or those looking for a compromise – whenever you visit, it is a lovely way to unwind after traversing the city’s streets.
Another great garden in a busy area of the county is Marwood Hill Gardens in Barnstaple. As North Devon’s premier town, Barnstaple is one of the largest places in the North Devon region and with its historic markets and proximity to the coast, is a popular tourist destination. Marwood Hill Gardens cover 20 acres and feature both gardens and lakes and are only open to the public during the summer months – perfect for if you want to get away from it all and enjoy the sunshine.
Want something a little more secretive? Then visit Burrow Farm Gardens in East Devon but keep it on the downlow. These gardens are one of East Devon’s best kept secrets and have several sections each offering something special to enjoy. The Woodland Garden is the oldest part of the site and has some incredible tree life, while the Millennium Garden, which was created in 2000 and the Rose Garden have their own charms. Wherever you end up, there really is something for everyone here.
Devon is home to several National Trust managed gardens where you can enjoy walks, picnics and amazing views. Many of these are free for members and as some are public rights of way, have sections that are free for everyone. One of their most popular gardens is the one at Buckland Abbey, which has a lovely, peaceful atmosphere and much of the grounds are still tended by the monks that call the Abbey home. Another historic garden that are a must visit are those at Dartington Hall Estate. The gardens are Grade II listed and are open all year round, providing romantic strolls, gentle summer walks and is perfect for a picnic or two on a warmer evening.
Of course, we can’t mention Devon’s gardens without talking about RHS Rosemoor in Torrington. With themed gardens, plenty of fascinating plant life and a host of events during the summer months for the whole family, this is a great option for anyone visiting with the whole family. Another family friendly garden that is a must visit is Bicton Park’s Botanical Gardens. As one of the region’s oldest gardens, this is a wonderful day out. The Victorian style building is well worth a visit and the whole site is available for weddings and private events. With a host of interesting landscaping to explore, even the most ardent anti-gardener will find something to like here.