The Cotswolds is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in England, typified by green rolling hills or ‘worlds’, honey-stone buildings and a picturesque idyll. Nestled in the many valleys are some of the world’s top-class formal and country gardens, and arboretums, which are enjoyed throughout the seasons. This driving tour combines gorgeous scenic driving on local B roads with some of the best loved gardens of the south Cotswolds including Painswick Rococo Gardens; Chavenage House and Westonbirt Arboreturm among others.
Please note, we also have a complimentary short break visiting gardens of the north Cotswolds and an extended tour visiting all the best-loved gardens of the area.
By Rail: Great Western Railway operate regular connections to London with approximately hourly Cheltenham Spa to Swindon services which extend to through to Didcot Parkway, Reading & London Paddington.
By Car: Cheltenham can be easily accessed via major UK roads and motorways. Cheltenham's direct approach is via Junction 11 of the M5, follow signs for the town centre.
B&Bs, Hotels and Inns (3*) or Luxury Hotels (5*).
This grade of this tour is easy-moderate.
This tour has a variety of durations from 2 nights to 3 nights.
This tour is available from January until December. Not all gardens will be available all year round and we will choose the most appropriate gardens for the time of stay.
What is included in the tour
- Accommodation at the stated category with breakfast
- Full Tour Pack with colour coded routes on local maps
- Entrance to all attractions stated (varies according to different durations)
- Smartphone App with GPS routes
- 24-hr emergency helpline
What is NOT included in the tour
- Lunch, Dinner & Drinks
- Entrance to attractions not listed
- Buses and/or Ferries unless otherwise stated
- Tourist Taxes where applicable
- Car hire (available on request)
- Chauffeur (available on request)
Based in the iconic Regency town of Cheltenham, the south Cotswold gardens driving tour uses daily routes along scenic B roads to transport you from your hotel in Cheltenham to each of the gardens. As well as enjoying the vibrant displays of these gardens and arboretums, the routes take you to some of the prettiest towns and villages in the region, with plenty of placesto stop, eat, shop and explore. Clients can explore with their own car, or we can arrange for car hire when they arrive, or a chauffeur-driven experience too.
The tour is based from Cheltenham which is believed to be the most complete Regency town in the country and combines historic charm with cosmopolitan cool, fantastic foodie scene, boutique shopping and plenty of cultural events. Cheltenham is easily accessible togreat local destinations including Gloucester for example. Clients will stay in Cheltenham for the duration of their trip.
Depending on the client preference and the length of their trip, the tour includes visits from Cheltenham to:
ChavenageHouse (approximate driving time 45 minutes to 1 hour each way)
Virtually unchanged for 400 years, Chavenage House is located in the gorgeous market town of Tetbury, which is also famous for the Prince of Wale’s Highgrove Estate. With ownership traced backto the sister of Edward The Confessor (Princess Goda), Chavenage House is loaded with history and is now in the hands of the Lowsley-Williams as a private house. It is surrounded by 35 hectares of landscape park, along with a 19thcentury ornamental garden. It is best known for its specimen trees, many of which are ancient. Most recently, the house has provided a backdrop for filming of the hit TV series Poldark.
Miserden Gardens (approximate driving time: 25-30 minutes each way)
Located just outside the market town of Stroud, The Gardens at Miserden are often noted for its timeless appeal and spectacular views across the deer park. It is a design that was established for peace and tranquillity and is noted for its yew hedgerows and topiary, combined with herbaceous borders which are a riot of colour. The pinnacle of the garden is a mulberry tree, believed to have been planted in 1620. It has been listed as one of the top 10 most romantic gardens in the world and is definitely not to be missed!
Newark Park (approximate driving time: 45-50 minutes each way)
Dominated by a Tudor hunting lodge which has since been converted into an intriguing home, Newark Park is based just outside the town of Wotton-under-Edge. Surrounding the original lodge, the gardens are laid out over three levels, designed to accentuate the building with a walled-garden and lawns. Perhaps the best-loved walks are the Glade Walk which takes visitors down behind the folly to the rockery directly beneath Newark House and the lakeside garden which feels secluded and romantic. What’s exciting about this garden is the seasonality of the planting which changes almost weekly as new seasonal flowers emerge.
Painswick Rococo Gardens (approximate driving time: 25-30 minutes each way)
Exiting Cheltenham to the South West, the small country roads take clients out to Painswick past Cooper’s Hill –site of the famous Cheeserolling every May where brave (or stupid) competitors chase a wheel of cheese down a VERY steep slope. On past Painswick Beacon, whichis worth a stop for the view, clients arrive in the gorgeous village of Painswick. Look out for the church with its 99 yew trees, before proceeding to the Rococo Gardens. The Rococo Gardens combine formal garden design with grandeur and theatre, starting out as a gentleman’s experimental creation rather than a horticultural dream. Perhaps the most famous aspects of the garden are not the flowers, although the planting is stunning, but the quirky architectural features that litter the garden setting. Rococodescribes the fashionable art era of the 1700s and this garden does not disappoint.
Westonbirt Arboretum (approximate driving time: 45-50 minutes each way)
The scenic drive to Westonbirt Arboretum will take you south from Cheltenham through Painswick and Nailsworth. Arrive at the Arboretum which includes 2,500 tree species from around the globe, including five national tree collections. You can also enjoy the recently installed canopy walkway taking you to the tops of the trees, or opt for a guided door of some of the best-loved treescapes. Westonbirt Arboretum was originally created by the Holford Family in the heyday of Victorian plant hunting, creating a collection which is both internationally renowned and breathtakingly beautiful. The number of gardens included will vary based on the duration of the tour. We work on 2 gardens being visited per active day e.g. a three night tour will include up to 6 gardens.