We’ve put together some example itineraries to show you how you can make the most of a Gardens & Gourmet pass in your chosen region.
Day one - Arley Hall & Gardens & Norton Priory
In the morning, begin your tour of Cheshire’s Gardens & Gourmet venues with an exploration of the gardens surrounding the 500-year-old Arley Hall.
In the afternoon, you might like to pop in to the Gardener’s Kitchen to try some recipes that were developed at Arley Hall before heading off to Norton Priory, where you can wander the gardens and ruins of Europe’s most excavated monastic site.
Perhaps stay overnight in the Roman city of Chester.
Day two - Chester & Carden Park
You might like to spend the first part of the morning exploring Chester’s historic city centre and browsing the shops and cafes then head to Cholmondeley Castle Gardens, considered one of the finest gardens in the north of England. After your visit, why not treat yourself to an indulgent English afternoon tea at the Carden Park Hotel?
In the afternoon, after sandwiches, scones and cake, head for the peaceful and quintessentially English Dorothy Clive Gardens.
Day three - Trentham Estate
Spend a full day exploring the glorious Trentham Estate – one of England’s last remaining vast garden estates at 725 acres.This is a sample itinerary. Take a look at the full list of Gardens & Gourmet venues in Cheshire for more inspiration. The more you see, the more you save!
Download the itinerary
Day one – Gardens and vines
Start your day at Audley End, a Jacobean mansion house protected by English Heritage with a garden designed by the famous garden designer of the 18th century, Capability Brown. It’s a drive of just over 30 miles (60 km) to the West Street Vineyard where you can dine overlooking the vines and try the wine produced by this boutique English vineyard.
In the afternoon you might like to visit the nearby Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum to see the impressive collection of trees from around the world.
Perhaps stay overnight in Colchester, which is said to be the oldest recorded town in Britain.
Day two – New and old
In the morning find inspiration for your own garden at the Beth Chatto Gardens, which demonstrate innovative planting by an award-winning gardener. Perhaps try an English cream tea of scones, jam and cream in the tearooms which overlook the gardens.
In the afternoon discover the contrasting garden at the Tudor Layer Marney Tower.
Day three – Wine and flowers
On your third day, visit another award-winning Essex wine producer at New Hall Vineyard. You can enjoy a self-guided tour around the vines before sampling the wines produced here and perhaps picking up a bottle or two to take home.
The Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Hyde Hall makes for a fitting end to your tour of the gardens and gourmet delights of Essex. Here, you can discover a quintessentially English garden with lawns, ponds and varied planting throughout the site.
Download the itinerary
Day one – Myddleton & Moore
Start day one in Hertfordshire by visiting Myddleton Estate, once the home of one of Britain’s most influential and innovative gardens. After exploring the eight-acres of gardens surrounding the house, you might like to call in at the nearby De Vere Theobalds Estate for a traditional English afternoon tea, where you can also take a walk through the well-kept gardens.
Next head north, driving through beautiful countryside and the small villages of Hertfordshire to reach the small village of Perry Green where you’ll find The Henry Moore Studios & Gardens. Here, you can see works of art by the famous sculptor in the gardens of the house he lived in for more than years.
You might like to pop in to The Hoops Inn for a pint, which was Moore’s local pub.
Day two – Knebworth
Today you can discover the beautiful gardens surrounding Knebworth House. After exploring the formal planting in the “garden rooms” of this centuries-old house, you might like to take a stroll through the parkland beyond which is home to herds of deer.
More history and grandeur awaits with lunch at the award-winning Auberge du Lac. This lakeside, fine dining restaurant can be found in the former hunting lodge of Brocket Hall, a historic manor house.
After lunch head to the grounds of another historic house, the nearby Hatfield House which has acres of beautiful gardens to explore.
Perhaps stay overnight in Hatfield or Hemel Hempstead.
Day three – Coffee and wine
Book in advance to make sure you have a place on a tour of Smiths Coffee Company in Hemel Hempstead where you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the origins of coffee and see an artisan coffee roaster in action.
In the afternoon, head west to visit Frithsden Vineyard, in the foothills of the Chiltern Hills, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Set out on a self-guided tour of the vineyard and then enjoy a tasting – perhaps picking up a few bottles to take home.
Download the itinerary
Day one – History and the High Weald
Spend your first day in the High Weald, an area of outstanding natural beauty in Kent. Visit Hever Castle to see the beautiful gardens where King Henry VIII is said to have wooed Anne Boleyn. Next, see the nearby gardens and grounds of Chiddingstone Castle, which offer stunning views of the Kent countryside, before making your way to Penshurst Place, a 14th-century manor house, which once belonged to Henry VIII.
You might like to spend the evening in Royal Tunbridge Wells, perhaps with dinner at L'AMORE the restaurant at luxury hotel One Warwick Park.
Day two – Gardens and gourmet
Start the morning with a stroll around Groombridge Place to see the 17th-century gardens then enjoy the drive through scenic countryside to stop for lunch at The Goudhurst Inn where you can enjoy seasonal produce, amazing views of The High Weald and wine from the nearby Hush Heath Vineyard.
In the afternoon explore the magnificent Leeds Castle and its vast gardens and parkland, one of Britain's most-visited tourist attractions.
You might like to enjoy dinner and an overnight stay in the elegant surroundings of Eastwell Manor, a country house hotel where you are welcome to explore more picturesque gardens.
Day three – Canterbury and the coast
From Eastwell Manor it’s a short drive to the historic city of Canterbury. You might like to spend an hour or so admiring the medieval buildings and World Heritage-listed cathedral within its historic streets before making your way back in to Kent's countryside and to Mount Ephraim Gardens to see an enchanting water garden and impressive yew topiary.
Next visit Macknade Food Hall where you can see the produce of the Garden of England for sale, perhaps pick up some gourmet gifts and visit the cafe for a Kentish Cheese Platter or other light lunch. In the afternoon, you could take a tour of the orchards at Brogdale, home to more than 4,000 varieties of fruit, or head into the town of Faversham for a tour of England's oldest brewers, Shepherd Neame.
After your tour, drive on to the coast, at Ramsgate where you can enjoy more local flavours at dinner and, perhaps, stay overnight at the Royal Harbour Hotel.
Download the itinerary
Day one - Chatsworth
Marvel at the colours of the impressive rhododendron collection at Lea Gardens near Matlock then head for one of the highlights of many visits to this region – the magnificent Chatsworth Estate, home to the Duke of Devonshire.
Head first to Pilsley, a village within the estate, for lunch and perhaps a locally-made treat to take home from the Chatsworth Farm Shop. Alternatively enjoy a traditional pub lunch and a pint of local ale at traditional pub, The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley.
After your lunch enjoy the short drive in to the grounds of the house and take your time to explore the 105-acres of beautiful gardens surrounding this impressive historic house.
Dine and stay in the luxurious surroundings of The Cavendish Hotel or return to stay in the charming rooms at The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley.
Day two – The Monsal Trail
Start day two with a walk around the 12-acres of quintessentially English formal gardens at Thornbridge Hall.
Next head for a former station on the now disused rural Monsal Railway which passes through this area. The route of the railway has now been developed into a traffic-free route through stunning countryside for cyclists, walkers and horseriders. A great place to join it is at the nearby Hassop Station Cafe where you might like to stop for lunch before heading out for an afternoon’s walk or bike ride. Bicycles are available to hire from Hassop Station.
Alternatively, head to the Thornbridge Riverside Brewery in the attractive market town of Bakewell (tours available at 3pm Wednesdays and Fridays) to see where their popular and award-winning craft beers are made.
Stay overnight in Bakewell or head to The Peacock at Rowsley, just three miles (six kilometres), away for dinner and a night in a 17th-century former manor house.
Day three – Bakewell to Buxton and Beyond
Explore the gardens at medieval Haddon Hall in the morning, which is just a short drive from your hotel and has been used as a location for many films. Then pass back through Bakewell making sure you stop to try the famous Bakewell pudding at The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop where this local specialty was invented. Continue your journey through miles of beautiful countryside on your way to Buxton.
Enjoy looking around the independent shops of this historic market town and perhaps enjoy an afternoon tea of local-made produce at No 6 The Square Tearooms, overlooking Buxton Opera House and the Pavilion Gardens.
Those wanting to stay longer in Buxton might like to book in to The Old Hall Hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.
Alternatively, continue your scenic drive. You might like to call in at the David Mellor Design Café for a bite to eat and a look at some British design classics on your way to Losehill House Hotel and Spa in the heart of the national park for dinner with a view and a relaxing overnight stay.
Download the itinerary