30 gardens to visit in Surrey in 2018
PUBLISHED: 11:50 13 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:50 13 April 2018
Surrey, set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has a wealth of beautiful gardens to visit. Throughout the open garden season you will find an array of stunning choices, many also serving delicious home-made teas to complete your visit. Gardening editor Leigh Clapp picks out a selection of her favourites
See ngs.co.uk for full details on garden openings
A two-acre garden of distinct areas, that is a tranquil and colourful haven for owners Maggie and David Boyd in the heart of bustling Haslemere. The front garden is themed in pink, purple and white, with a glorious Ilex crenata parterre filled with wafting wildflowers in strawberry and cream colours, along with ribbons of lavender framing herb and rose beds. Further down the garden you will find colour-themed borders and a vegetable garden. Down the slope at the end of the garden the style changes with a naturalistic wildlife pond and canopies of mature trees. Ducks and chickens supply the eggs for the delicious cakes so allow time to enjoy tea in this lovely setting.
Opening times: Bardsey, Haslemere, GU27 1BS. Sat June 30, Sun 1, Sat 28, Sun 29 July (1pm-5pm). £5, children free. Homemade teas. Visitors also welcome by arrangement June and July for groups 10+.
2. The Bothy
A terraced hillside one-and-a-half-acre garden accessed by steps and slopes on the five levels with specimen trees, including a sequoia, bananas and acers, wild banks, perennial beds, shady woodland and relaxing areas. Each level has water features, artworks and surprises that will delight children, such as little sculptures to find while enjoying a swing in a rustic arbour. Containers of seasonal plants, with lovely hydrangeas in summer, add colour and seats are placed to take in the views. There is also an extensive kitchen garden abundant with vegetables and fruit as well as chickens in an attractive coop.
Opening times: The Bothy, Tandridge, RH8 9NJ. Mon June 25, to Fri June 29 (11am-4pm). Evening opening Sat June 30, Sun July 1 (5pm-9pm), wine and refreshments. £5, children free.
3. 2 Chinthurst Lodge
A one-acre year-round plant enthusiast’s garden divided into a series of rooms. Hilary and Michael Goodridge have been warmly welcoming visitors to their country garden for many years through the National Gardens Scheme. From the white garden, herbaceous borders, buxus parterre with spires of alliums, the gravel garden, wells and ornamental ponds, a laburnum tunnel and fine trees, to the veg patch of produce mixed with flowers, complete with a fun scarecrow; there is much to enjoy. A wide planting palette within different micro-climate areas allows for some wonderful and masterful combinations of colour, form and texture.
Opening times: Chinthurst Lodge, Wonersh, GU5 0PR. Sun 17, Wed 20 June (11am-5pm). Visitors also welcome by arrangement May to July for groups 10+. £5, children free. Homemade teas.
4. The Coach House
Garden designer Barbara Brooks has created an atmospheric garden at her home, within an acre walled garden and courtyard space adorned with containers. Lawns are divided by rows of trees and shimmering herbaceous borders billowing with perennials, roses and shrubs. Interest is also provided by a white garden, wildflower meadow and kitchen garden. Colours are beautifully put together with harmonious schemes and the garden is sure to inspire. The latest project is a stumpery with ferns.
Opening times: The Coach House, Chiddingfold, GU8 4TU. Sat June 16, Sun June 17 (1pm-5pm). £5, children free. Homemade teas. Visitors also welcome by arrangement May and June, groups 10+.
5. 53 Commonfield Road
A small colourful cottage garden created by Jennifer Russell since 2012, which displays a passion for both plants and nature. Year-round interest is important and there are lots of little details to enjoy around every corner. The front garden is designed for butterflies and bees; while in the back garden there are log piles, a pond, wildflower areas, feeders and nest boxes. Colours, textures, scents and shapes mix together in borders and there are places to sit and enjoy the garden.
Opening times: 53 Commonfield Road, Banstead, SM7 2JR. Evening opening Sun June 3 (5.30pm-8.30pm) £5, children £2. Sun Sept 9 (11am-3.30pm). £3, children free. Homemade teas.
6. Coverwood Lakes
Stroll the 14-acre landscaped woodland garden set high in the Surrey Hills. Enjoy the shimmering reflections of azaleas and rhododendrons in spring and autumnal blaze in autumn in the four lakes. Allow time to follow the marked trail through the 180-acre working farm with Hereford cattle, sheep and horses. Light refreshments, including home produced Hereford burgers, gourmet coffee and home-made cakes.
Opening times: Coverwood Lakes, Ewhurst, GU6 7NT. Mon 2, Sun 8, Sun 15 Apr, Sun May 6. Sun Oct 14 (11am-5pm). £6, children free. Visitors also welcome by arrangement Apr to Sept groups 15+.
7. Dunsborough Park
Six-acre walled garden laid out in the 18th century and redesigned by Penelope Hobhouse and Rupert Golby. Home to Baron and Baroness Sweerts de Landas Wyborgh, this is an elegant garden. The framework of box hedging, infilled with stripes of vibrant tulips and muscari is stunning as is the meadow of tulips in spring at the Festival of Tulips, followed by roses in summer, while in late summer and autumn massed dahlias are the stars. There is also eye-catching statuary, standard wisterias and a water garden.
Opening times: Dunsborough Park, Ripley, GU23 6AL. For NGS: Thurs April 19 (3.30pm-7pm), Sun May 20, Sun Sept 9 (11.30am-3.30pm). £7, children free. dunsboroughpark.com.
8. The Garth Pleasure Grounds
The bluebells and spring shrubs are the main draw here, along with the interesting history of the building that dates to 1729 when it was built as a workhouse and then later in 1918 converted to a single house. The mature nine-acre woodland gardens are divided into different ‘rooms’ by hedging and walls, linked with paths. This is a garden for strolling and relaxing among the haze of bluebells.
Opening times: The Garth Pleasure Grounds, Lingfield, RH7 6BJ. Evening opening Sat May 5 (4pm-6pm). Sun May 6 (2pm-6pm). £5, children free. Homemade teas. Visitors also welcome by arrangement May and June.
This immaculately cared for third-of-an-acre garden is full of interest and plants blooming with good health. Surrey NGS county organisers Margaret Arnott and Terry Bartholomew are passionate gardeners who have created this terraced garden from scratch, transforming the landscape into little vignettes with structural ideas and planting combinations, from a parterre sundial garden to decorative use of colourful containers. The garden is expertly planted for year-round interest with hellebores and bulbs in spring, a riot of colour from roses and clematis tumbling over hand-made obelisks, herbaceous perennials, over 50 potted hostas, foliage and berries in autumn and evergreens in winter.
Opening times: Heathside, Cobham, KT11 2QH. Sun July 22, Sun Aug 12 (1pm-5pm). £4, children free. Homemade teas. Visits also welcome by arrangement.
10. High Clandon Estate Vineyard
Stunning views over the Surrey Hills AONB, gardens and the vineyards to enjoy. Vast wildflower meadows blend to the vineyard and then the vistas beyond, while closer to the house, garden areas unfold. There’s a small, enclosed potager, a Japanese garden complete with bridge, herbaceous beds and an apiary. An atmospheric Glass Barn is used for exhibitions and wine tastings.
Opening times: High Clandon Estate Vineyard, East Clandon, GU4 7RP. Sun June 3 (11am-4pm). £6, children free. Wine tasting available at extra charge of £6 per glass. Homemade teas. highclandon.co.uk.
11. Knowle Grange
A garden on a grand scale, and with magnificent views from its hilltop position. This is an exciting seven-acre garden developed since 1990 by Marie-Elisabeth and Philip Wood, blending the romantic style with the strong architectural framework of the classical tradition. Gaze out from the balustrades of the amphitheatre terraces, stroll the wide herbaceous borders and rose lawn complete with a classical temple or admire the oversized terracotta pots brimming with bold seasonal colour. Allow time to also walk the rural one mile Bluebell Valley, resplendent in May, along the Unicursal Path of Life and discover its secret allegory.
Opening times: Knowle Grange, Shere, GU5 9JH. Sun May 20 (11am-4.30pm). £6, children free. Homemade teas.
12. Loseley Park
Home to the More-Molyneux family since 1508, this stunning Elizabethan house has a truly beautiful garden throughout the seasons. In spring the must-see flowers are the remarkable blue meconopsis and splashes of iridescent tulips above a sea of frothy bedding including erysimum, lime-green euphorbias and forget-me-nots in the flower garden – quite mesmerising. In addition the rhythmical planting of purple alliums set against clipped buxus domes in the herb garden is elegantly executed. You may be fortunate to also glimpse the peak of flowering of the 150-year-old wisteria spreading across the garden wall.
Opening times: Loseley Park, Guildford, GU3 1HS. House open May – July 31 (Mon – Thurs, noon-4pm, Sun 1pm-5pm). Grounds, garden, tearoom – May – July 31 (Sun – Thurs, 11am-5pm). Garden £6.50, children £3.50. loseleypark.co.uk.
13. Lower House
A mature garden of ericaceous plants, trees, shrubs, perennials, roses and bulbs, as well as a productive kitchen garden. Wind your way along narrow paths and across the lawns to discover the different areas. There’s a charming topiary garden with a small pond and water feature. The seasons see a range of interest from early bulbs, azaleas and rhododendrons, through irises, roses and hydrangeas to autumn colour from the array of deciduous trees. Enjoy your tea in the dappled shade of the orchard.
Opening time: Lower House, Godalming, GU8 6NW. Sun June 17 (11am-5pm). £6, children free. Homemade teas.
14. Moleshill House
Home of Penny Snell CBE, the former NGS Chairman and current county organiser for London, freelance florist, lecturer and all-round gardening guru – so be assured of an inspiring garden to enjoy. Trimmed ivy garlands and topiary adorn containers by the house, while masterful combinations of form and infill abound with an abundant palette of beautiful plants. Each area of the garden has Penny’s attention to detail and yet the effect appears artless with a romantic naturalness – from traditional beehives, eclectic artefacts, a quirky gypsy caravan and pots in the conservatory, to the textural movement in the gravel garden.
Opening times: Moleshill House, Cobham, KT11 1BG. Mon May 28 (2pm-5pm). £6 combined with Fairmile Lea garden, children free. Visits also welcome by arrangement May to July, groups 15+.
15. The Old Croft
Tranquil five-acre garden with pretty vistas, whether across the lake with its rustic bridge, the reflective pond fed by a natural stream, prettily planted bog gardens or the herbaceous borders. Blossom, azaleas and wisteria colour the scene, and there is also a tropical bamboo maze, an elevated viewing hide and a most unusual topiary buttress hedge backing a herb garden. Many visitors return regularly to see how the garden is evolving under the care of owners Virginia and David Lardner-Burke.
Opening times: The Old Croft, South Holmwood, RH5 4NT. Sun May 27, Mon May 28 (2pm-6pm). £5, children free. Homemade teas.
16. The Old Rectory
You may recognise the property as the setting for the BBC production of Emma. Here you will find a beautiful Georgian manor house with a quintessential Italianate topiary garden, box parterres, statuary and elegant containers. In addition there is an ancient moat, woodland and walled kitchen garden. Owners Trudie and Anthony Procter are guiding a gradual reclaiming of the four acres with a rill, sunken and exotic garden being their latest projects.
Opening time: The Old Rectory, Bletchingley RH1 4QW. Sun June 10 (11am-4pm). £5, children free. Homemade teas.
17. Pratsham Grange
Five-acres of formal and informal gardens overlooked by Holmbury Hill and Leith Hill, with an intriguing mathematical undertone, created by owner Alan Comber. Packed with interest from herbaceous borders, roses, clipped form, a knot garden, geometric beds, two ponds joined by a cascading stream, as well as cut flower and vegetable gardens. Massed hydrangeas and fuchsias, along with vibrant late season perennials keep colour going right through summer.
Opening times: Pratsham Grange, Holmbury St Mary, RH5 6LZ. Sun July 1, Sun Aug 19 (1pm-5pm). £5, children free. Homemade teas.
With its vast collection of spring flowering shrubs, such as rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias, underplanted with bluebells, May is the ideal time to visit these gardens. Spread over 20 acres, allow yourself time to wander and explore the meandering grass paths. A glade of Japanese maples, along with canopies of oaks and conifers, provide the dappled shade that has allowed the display to flourish and mature.
Opening times: Ramster, Chiddingfold, GU8 4SN. April to June 10, daily, (10am-5pm). £7.50, children free. Autumn colour times in October. ramsterevents.com.
19. Southlands Lodge
A wonderful developing garden to explore with a range of areas and open views over adjacent fields. Learn all about beekeeping with the 10 beehives set in the orchard, along with admiring the comprehensive, immaculately cared-for kitchen garden and array of planting chosen for pollen and nectar. High summer bounty includes richly toned dahlias, lilies, geraniums and massed petunias to admire while you sip your wine as the sun lowers in the sky.
Opening times: Southlands Lodge, Tandridge, RH8 9PH. Sat July 7, Sun July 8 (5.30pm-9pm). £4, children free, wine.
Serenity and elegance pervade the mature, beautifully manicured four-acre garden created by Anne Barnes. Perfectly striped lawns are edged in curving densely planted borders, fine shrubs and graceful trees. Formal areas by the house include a striking Buddha head from Cambodia overlooking a rectangular pond, a sunken gravel garden with clipped topiary parterre and paved terraces. Each area of the garden is carefully designed to complement the house, showcase selected pieces from overseas travels.
Opening times: Spurfold, Peaslake, GU5 9SZ. Sun May 27 (11am-5.30pm). £6, children free. Homemade teas.
21. The Therapy Garden
This horticultural and education charity uses gardening to generate a positive change for adults and teenagers living with learning difficulties and mental health challenges. The garden is designed for wheelchair use with wide paths and raised flower and vegetable beds, there are sensory areas and quiet spaces, while providing social and therapeutic horticulture to different groups in the local community.
Opening times: The Therapy Garden, Normandy, GU3 2DT. Sun June 3, Sun Sept 2 (11am-4pm). £5, children free, light refreshments. Visitors also welcome by arrangement Apr to Sept. thetherapygarden.org.
22. Tilford Cottage
Unique garden created by artist Rod Burn from a blank canvas since 1992, designed to surprise, delight and amuse. Formal box hedging, garden rooms, including a hidden herb garden, Japanese garden and knot garden, informal areas of meadow and riparian planting, complete with Rod’s pieces of sculpture and installations ensure an inspirational visit. There are also playful touches for the younger garden visitors to enjoy. Pam Burn is a spiritual healer and colour therapist adding to the aura of tranquillity.
Opening times: Tilford Cottage, Tilford, GU10 2BX. Visitors by arrangement Apr to Sept. £6, children free. tilfordcottagegarden.co.uk.
23. Titsey Place
One of the largest surviving historic Surrey estates, home to the Gresham family since 1534 and enjoyed by many generations of garden visitors. Fifteen acres of formal and informal gardens in an idyllic setting, including rose gardens, lakes, woodland walks and the colourful walled kitchen garden which was restored in 1996, with its mix of edibles and ornamentals that is my personal highlight.
Opening times: Titsey Place Gardens, Oxted, RH8 0SD. May 16 to Sept 26, Wed, Sat, Sun, BHM (12.30pm-5pm) house and garden £8, garden only £5, children £1. titsey.org.
Five-acre English Heritage registered garden with an important Gertrude Jekyll water garden. Vistas of pale yellow and white daffodils, and dainty fritillaries carpeting the ground. This tranquil garden surrounding the timbered house has a timeless atmosphere within the different garden areas, with a wide palette of plants. Potted tulips add punctuation in the landscape and the atmospheric Yew Walk with double borders is especially pretty later in spring.
Opening times: Vann, Hambledon, GU8 4EF. For NGS: Sun Apr 15 to Wed Apr 18 (10am-6pm). Mon May 7 (2pm-6pm), daily May 8 to May 13 (10am-6pm), Sun June 17 (10am-6pm). £6.50, children free. vanngarden.co.uk.
25. Woodbury Cottage
Wonderfully colourful with orchestrated plantings of grasses and perennials, this sloping garden is just under a quarter of an acre and set out in two parts, divided by a hedged moon gate. Shirley and Bob Stoneley’s aim for a more structured approach in regard to colour, texture and contour than is found in a truly traditional cottage garden is beautifully realised and full of inspirational ideas. The garden is colour-themed and still wonderfully vibrant in September.
Opening times: Woodbury Cottage, Reigate, RH2 9JJ. Sat 7, Sun 8 July; Sat 8, Sun 9, Tue 11 Sept (1pm-5pm). By arrangement June to Oct, groups 10+. £4, children free.
26. RHS Wisley
Flagship of the Royal Horticultural Society, inspiring in any season and one for all the family to enjoy.
Opening times: RHS Wisley, Woking, GU23 6QB. Open all year, (10am– 6pm/4.30pm winter). RHS members free, £15.40, children £7.70. rhs.org.uk/Gardens/Wisley.
27. Kew Gardens
This iconic Royal Botanic Gardens has so much to see over 121 hectares, from the treetop walkway to historic glasshouses, that I’d recommend multiple visits, concentrating on different sections each time.
Opening times: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, TW9 3AB. Open all year at 9.30am. £19 children £5. Cheaper prices online. kew.org.
28. The Savill Garden
Thirty-five-acre ornamental gardens created in the 1930s by Sir Eric Savill and continually evolving to ensure year-round interest.
Opening times: Savill Garden, Egham, TW20 0UU. Open all year, (10am-4.30pm). £10.50, children free. theroyallandscape.co.uk.
29. Hampton Court
There are 60 acres of historically-important, formal gardens that run down to the River Thames, with floral displays, fountains and a stunning Privy garden based on a 1702 design.
Opening times: Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, KT8 9AU. Open all year (10am-6pm/4.30pm). Palace, Maze and Gardens. £21, children £10.50, under 5s free. hrp.org.uk.
Beautiful 18th century 158-acre landscape that has been restored through the Painshill Park Trust and is a delightfully tranquil place for strolling in.
Opening times: Painshill, Cobham, KT11 1JE. Open all year (10.30am – dusk). £8, children £4.50, under 5s free. painshill.co.uk.