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Gardens in Somerset

Gardens in Somerset

Somerset gardens

Gardens in Somerset that are open to the public come in all shapes and sizes. Alongside National Trust properties, there are privately owned Somerset gardens (open on selected dates), council managed botanical gardens, nature reserves and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Many of these magical places are just a few miles from my bed and breakfast.

Wells countryside

Countryside around Wells Pic: Nick James

incredible gardens in somerset

The Bishop’s Palace in Wells has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for over 800 years. England’s smallest city derived its name from the wells that can be found within the 14 acres of gardens at the palace.

Gardens in Somerset

The gardens at the Bishop’s Palace

These gardens in Somerset have been acknowledged by the Royal Horticultural Society no less! There is a charge to enter. If you plan to make frequent visits the 12 month pass is great value.

Gardens in Somerset

The Bishop’s Palace in Wells

Venture just a few miles from Wells and you will find incredible landscapes at Cheddar Gorge and Ebbor Gorge. Cheddar Gorge often features in magazine lists of ‘best views’. Lesser known Ebbor Gorge is certainly no slouch in the beauty stakes.

Ebbor Gorge walk

A path to Ebbor Gorge

Ebbor gorge is owned by the National Trust, but you won’t find any shops here. Bring a picnic and soak up the views. The other beauty of these gorges is that they are free to visit. So, easy on the eye and on the wallet! Velvet Bottom is also easy to reach from Cheddar Gorge. 

Cheddar Gorge view

Cheddar Gorge

National Trust gardens

Like getting your money’s worth from your National Trust membership? Well, Barrington Court, Blaise Hamlet, Clevedon Court, Dunster Castle, Lytes Cary, Montacute, Tyntesfield and Tintinhull are all in Somerset.

Dunster Castle

The impressive facade of Dunster Castle

Among the beautiful privately or independently owned houses and gardens in Somerset are Cothay Manor, East Lambrook, Forde Abbey, Hestercombe and Kilver Court. These range in size from just a couple of acres to 50 plus.

Yeo Valley Organic garden usually opens for the Spring, Summer and Autumn months in April. Recent additions to the garden include a new look pond and 15 Yoshino cherry trees which should provide beautiful blossom.

During February, many of these Somerset gardens have magnificent snowdrop displays

If you fancy something a little more steamy, then the glasshouses at the Botanical Gardens in Bristol should be right up your street (or garden path…). There are another 9 acres of botanical gardens to enjoy in the city of Bath. These gardens include a replica Roman Temple which was shown in the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924.

Something less formal

Like to see a rare animal or two in the great outdoors? Not a problem. Just head down to the Avalon Marshes. This area lies in the heart of the Somerset Levels and, being flat, it’s a great place to explore by bike and undertake a spot of bird watching.

Somerset Levels

Pic: Nick James

Sticking with the more informal outdoor theme, lace up your walking boots and head for the Mendip Hills (one of four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Somerset) or Exmoor National Park. The limestone Mendip Hills offer stunning landscapes, ancient monuments, rich grasslands and a wide variety of wildlife. The same can be said of Exmoor National Park’s 267 square miles (most of which are in Somerset!). Tarr Steps and the Barle Valley are simply stunning.

Tarr Steps

Tarr Steps

PLANTS AND SCULPTURES in somerset gardens

There are some incredible outdoor exhibits at the Hauser and Wirth garden and gallery in Bruton. Dutch landscape architect Piet Oudolf designed the gardens behind the gallery which also contain sculptures. One of the highlights of these gardens is a large meadow known as Oudolf Field.

Gardens in Somerset

The gardens at Hauser & Wirth in Bruton

The Walled Garden in Mells is also well worth a visit. These small gardens contain a cafe and a plant nursery, so if a particular plant takes your fancy you may be able to buy it. Mells is a beautiful village and well worth exploring.

Walled garden in Mells

The Walled Garden in Mells

The magnificent range of gardens in Somerset are another reason to visit this incredible county. I always enjoy spending time in my courtyard garden. (Preferably with a glass of wine rather than a trowel in my hand!) Do come and see some of Somerset’s amazing gardens.

My garden

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