We are very lucky to be blessed with so many beautiful Chipping Campden gardens as well as a number of beautiful gardens near Chipping Campden. This includes the likes of Kiftsgate Court Gardens, nearby Snowshill Manor, and Bourton House Garden and if you stay longer in Chipping Campden, you will be primed to even visit Hidden Valley near Cirencester.
Whether the gardens be National Trust or other formal organisations that open throughout the year or those of householders whose gardens you can see from a footpath as you walk around the town, particularly during the Open Gardens Weekend.
Small or large, many of the wonderful Chipping Campden gardens are set in historically and architecturally interesting buildings both in and around the town and this set adds to the whole beauty and colourful experience. Each is a reflection of the individual owner’s ideas and hard work to achieve an outcome that expresses their personal unique and carefully crafted ideas where you can see the changing colours as the year progresses.
The quality and variety of the gardens can be simply mind-blowing and in most cases, you may not only be looking at a historic Cotswold building full of its own individual character but are just as likely to be in a beautiful garden with the colourful rays of the setting sun illuminating you and your table with a full moon completing a wonderful setting for you to enjoy a home-made cake and a relaxing cup of tea or even more.
This article will help any gardening enthusiast with a collection of hidden gems and Cotswold Charm Holiday Homes mean you can have direct access to any garden events in the area too.
Chipping Campden Gardens to Visit
Nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds, Chipping Campden is a quintessentially English town filled with honey-hued stone cottages and well-manicured gardens. These collections of local gardens will enhance your experience of the town.
The Ernest Wilson Memorial Garden
For those that want to visit a garden in Chipping Campden throughout the year, there is no better tranquil place to start than The Ernest Wilson Memorial Garden which is set behind an inconspicuous wall and its small arched gateway in Leysbourne with St James church tower as a wonderful backdrop. ou could sit alone or in the company of others or go on aimlessly.
Going through the little gate in the high wall is like walking into a secret garden. This lovely small botanical garden in the heart of Chipping Campden is a haven of tranquillity, which opens up before you. Ernest Henry Wilson (1876 – 1930) brought more than a thousand distinct plants from the United States and was one of the greatest plant hunters of the early twentieth century. Gordon Russell suggested, in the 1970s, that the centenary of Wilson’s birth was most appropriate to honour by inaugurating a memorial garden.
The lower half of the Lower Vicarage garden was bought by the town in 1980 and fronts onto the main street with a gorgeous view of the church belltower to the back. The garden was laid out after a design by the Landscape Architect, Sir Peter Shepheard, with plants selected from the many that Wilson had introduced. Money was raised locally, and many of the plants were generously donated by both individuals and nurseries.
On 31st May 1984, the garden was opened by the well-known broadcaster and plant hunter, Roy Lancaster. An Acer davidii was planted by Wilson’s granddaughter, Mrs Barbara Abbott. More recently, its paths have been made wheelchair accessible. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Entry is free but there is a donations box beside the gate where visitors can contribute towards the upkeep of this gem of a garden.
Ernest Wilson or “Chinese” as he was later referred to was born in Chipping Campden on 15th February 1876. His family moved to Birmingham where he grew up and eventually went to work in Birmingham Botanic Gardens. In 1897 he moved to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. It was here that the famous nurseryman James Veitch and Sons asked if he would like to go plant hunting in China. This was the start of his many trips, not only to China but to Japan, Korea, Formosa and Taiwan.
Over his many trips, he discovered and brought back many different plants including the ever-popular Handkerchief Tree (Davidia Involucrata). Tragically he and his wife were killed in a motor accident in 1950. At the time Wilson was working for the Arnold Arboretum in Boston America.
Find out more: https://ernestwilsongarden.com
Cotswold House Hotel
Cotswold House Hotel is in the very heart of Chipping Campden and now occupies 3 of the town’s original burgage plots including Montrose and Charlecote. It is unusual in such a central location in the town to find such lovely garden spaces immediately behind the elegant high street where you can find a private space in a beautiful garden with the colourful rays of the setting sun illuminating you and your table with a full moon completing a wonderful setting whilst you enjoy and after tea and an evening glass of wine.
Find out more: https://www.cotswoldhouse.com
Chipping Campden Open Gardens Weekend
This is a fabulous charitable event where you can walk the historic and beautiful streets of Chipping Campden with its many private gardens open for you to see and enjoy – be they small or large, all are within walking distance. Approximately 20+ gardens will be open, but the total may vary from day to day. Tickets for both days are available from the Tourist Information Centre in The Old Police Station.
The list below includes many of those that have been opened in previous years.
This year, Chipping Campden Open Gardens Weekend is on the 15th-16th June 2024.
Although it is now mainly down to grass, Sir Baptiste Hicks’ Old Campden House has St James Church as a wonderful backdrop for The Landmark Trust’s Banqueting Houses and Lodges on Church Street and the remaining ruins alongside Court Barn Museum. You will also be able to make out the outline remains of the splendid “mannerist” gardens that he constructed may be open on both days. Plant sales, Morris Men will be dancing and teas will be available.
Next door you will find The Court (the converted stables of Old Campden House) with its cared for orchard and beautiful garden surrounded by historic remains of the old house and Lady Juliana’s Gateway.
Opposite Court Barn, you will find The Sir Baptiste Hicks Almshouses and the occupant’s tended gardens which can offer a tranquil space to rest and recover.
Looking to Westington on the western side of the town, the delightful grounds of Shepherds Close offer a view of a gardener’s paradise from the formal garden that you see through the small gate at the front of the house before you move on to the main gate with a beautiful water feature surrounded by trees, foliage and bright colours. This garden will be open on Saturday 20th May 2023 in aid of Campden Home Nursing – it may be open on other occasions for charitable purposes.
Coming down Westington from Conduit Hill you a lovely pair of thatched cottages with beautiful borders in front of them, then you will see the triangular green is an old triple light from Westminster Bridge, just before it is the thatched Woodruff House where you will get a glimpse of the garden through its gateway.
As you approach The Green, bear to your left and you will find Abbotsbury (listed) with its delightful garden behind it.
Appearing beyond the green are the year-round colourful gardens of Izod’s House and then next to the pillar box Westington Manor with its old Dovecote. On the other side of the road is Westington Old Farm and then at the bottom of Westington at its corner with Sheep Street is Pike Cottage with its carefully crafted box hedge.
Follow the Catbrook Road and on your right, you will find The Green with man fine gardens, take the net turning on the left into Cherry Orchard and you will find colourful gardens on both sides all the way to Calf Lane.
Back Ends also provides some beautiful gardens – at the Aston Road end, you will find Wolds End Orchard where many old varieties are being preserved by The Campden Society, at the other end of Back Ends you can walk up Hoo Lane towards Dovers Hill.
Go along to the end of Park Road and you will see Westington Mill through its gateway, continue up Dyers Lane and on the left, you will find the entrance to Campden House, walk r drive through Campden Wood and come to a splendid old house and its gardens/grounds. This is also opened for charitable purposes at other times.
Turning to the more formal and bigger gardens you could worse than head towards The National Trust’s Hidcote Manor Gardens at Hidcote Bartrim, GL55 6LR.
Gardens Near Chipping Campden
Despite the vast array of beautiful gardens in the town, this collection of locals gardens are also well worth the visit and not too far from Cotswold Charm either.
Hidcote Manor Garden
You will find that Hidcote caters for just about all your needs (even in a wheelchair) for a good day out in the Cotswold Countryside at the garden created by Major Lawrence Johnston, it’s colourful and intricately designed outdoor ‘rooms’ are always full of surprises.
With a maze of narrow paved pathways and secret gardens, magnificent vistas and plants that burst with colour it is the perfect place if you’re in need of gardening inspiration.
There are quiet spots where you can sit on one of the ornate benches and watch green woodpeckers searching for their lunch or listen to the calls from the buzzards circling overhead or if you time it right, you might catch a glimpse of an elusive hummingbird moth.
Hidcote provides you with good secure parking, a place for a nice lunch or afternoon cream tea, an exhaustive garden centre from which you can fill your car and much, much more.
The surrounding countryside and Hidcote Bartrim’s traditionally thatched stone cottages that were once served as homes to Johnston’s gardeners provide an idyllic setting for a pleasurable afternoon or even day. With The Monarch’s Way running close by there is a range of footpaths and walks to enhance the experience for the active visitor.
Find out more: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote
On your way to Hidcote, you will pass the entrance to Kiftsgate Court Gardens, Chipping Campden GL55 6LN
Kiftsgate Court Gardens
In Ann Chambers, Kiftsgate Court Gardens is now in the hands of the third generation of women gardeners that have. In complete contrast to Hidcote which is on relatively flat land, much of Kiftsgate’s gardens occupy the slope of the ridge down with paths down in the direction of Mickleton. To be enjoyed equally by those who have a box or the truly professional gardener or horticultural expert, it is very much skilful gardening encompassing and adding to a natural landscape.
As you approach the house there are four rectangular beds planted with a mixture of rare shrubs and perennials that offer different colours throughout the year. Down some steps to the Terrace, there are spectacular views towards the Malvern Hills and also down to the steep banks to the lower garden and swimming pool. The large terracotta pots on the terrace are filled to the brim with tender plants in the summer.
Beyond the house, there is a small sunken garden of white flowers with underplanting of an unrestrained colour and form. Spring flowering plants such as erythronium and trillium give way to a succession of summer flowering anemones, helianthemums, dioramas and santolinas. The large-headed allium christophii self-seeds throughout this garden. The main white flowering shrubs that give the garden its name are deutzia, Carpentaria, Hoheria and staphyloma.
Kiftsgate is famous for its roses and the double border is filled with a range of old fashioned, specie and modern roses. In high summer the scent can be overpowering. Pink striped Rosa Mundi is present, many of which have reverted to its parent, the Apothecary’s rose. Plantings of astilbes, asters and grasses add further texture, form and interest during the year.
The original Kiftsgate rose grows in this border enveloping three trees and is a magnificent sight in early July with sprays of white flowers cascading to the ground. This is for any gardening enthusiast a real treat.
Just beyond this is a new water garden created from an old tennis court. This enclosed space designed in black, white and green provides a striking contrast to the abundance and colour elsewhere. Water trickling off the leaves refreshes the senses on a hot afternoon.
You can walk down to the Lower Garden beneath the spreading boughs of vast Monterey pines that shade the Banks and make them difficult to garden. However tough drought-tolerant plants such as cistus, rosemary and ceanothus manage to grow here.
The protected area of the Lower Garden is noticeably warmer than elsewhere in the gardens and many tender shrubs have naturally benefitted from this special environment. The view is from the swimming pool lawn is magnificent the distant hills of Malvern beyond the Vale of Evesham and looking back up the Banks you a fine view of the house. By the time you have climbed up any of the paths back to the house, you will have earned a cup of tea in the tea room.
For the less physically capable visitor, a new area has recently been created where they can enjoy walking around these new spaces. They experimented with a small wildflower plot with both annual and perennial seed mixes which showed were different plants would grow or not. To make the ground less fertile, they removed about 50 cm of topsoil and now treat it as a perennial wild garden making additions with plugs of various ‘wild’ plants.
In the orchard, many of the old apple trees have died and a selection of Heritage apples, medlars, quince and pears have been planted. Camassias and the tulip Jan Reus also bring spring colour to complement the apple blossom.
You can find out more about Kiftsgate Court Gardens unique history here.
No visit to Chipping Campden and the Cotswolds can be considered to be complete without spending time at Batsford Arboretum and Garden Centre, Batsford, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 9AT
Batsford Arboretum and Garden Centre
Wheelchair accessible Batsford Arboretum has 2,850 labelled specimens covering the world and in particular the Far East with 1,300 different trees, shrubs and bamboo. It has held the National Collection of Japanese Flowering Cherries since 2002 – which means at least 70% of known cultivars. The lifespan of these trees is relatively short at only about 50 years so every 25 to 30 years they graft plant material to replace any losses.
The collection of Acers with so many species of Japanese maples makes for a fiery autumn colour with some also giving attractive spring flowers. When in flower Magnolias are one of the arboretum’s most beautiful plants and provide a backdrop of spring colour for the Japanese Cherries.
Conifers including Pinus provide a year-round evergreen interest as well as spires of fresh green growth in spring followed by cones of all shapes and sizes; Quercus – vary in size from large bush to magnificent tree.
The oak trees look really beautiful and offer essential habitat for insects and birds; Sorbus – both Mountain Ash and Whitebeam varieties are well known for their large range of autumn berries and wonderful colours.
You’ll find a selection of some of the most endangered Chilean conifers in the arboretum which acts as a living gene bank of DNA material in case of extinction in the wild.
Batsford is also home to The Cotswold Falconry Centre and around 150 Birds of Prey – many of which can be seen in free-flying demonstrations each day.
The restaurant provides excellent quality meals at very reasonable prices and the garden centre may also attract you.
Find out more: http://www.batsarb.co.uk/
Just across the road from Batsford’s entrance is the gateway to Sezincote Manor.
Sezincote Manor is a unique and traditional, family-run estate covering 3,500 acres of rolling Cotswold countryside including a 200-year-old Mogul Indian palace, set in a romantic landscape of temples, grottoes, waterfalls and canals reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. See the website for opening hours.
Just 3 hundred yards up the road in Bourton on the Hill is Bourton House Garden’s 3 colourful acres alongside the 18th-century house and barn.
Find out more: https://www.sezincote.co.uk/
Bourton House Gardens
Open from early June with a beautiful fragrance and range of colours in late July and August you just cannot miss Cotswold Lavender at Hill Barn Farm, Snowshill, Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7JY Find out more here: https://www.bourtonhouse.com/
On the way there you may also call at Broadway Tower and Country Park and the National Trust’s Snowshill Manor, which you might recognise from the hit movies Bridget Jones’ Diary.
Other gardens within a short drive include Mill Gardens in Blockley and Upton Wold where you will find a collection of walnut trees.
We hope this article has heightened your appetite to explore the beautiful Chipping Campden Gardens the Cotswold town and area has to offer. It’s true, that for any garden lover, no trip would be complete without a visit at least to Kiftsgate Court Gardens, Batsford Arboretum or Hidcote Manor Garden.
However, you will also discover some real hidden gems by staying in Chipping Campden too. Almost all gardens and local gardens events are well suited for disabled visitors too. You can also visit the National Trust website to find out more about what’s offered in the local area and more about Chipping Campden Gardens too. Cotswold Charm holiday homes are perfectly located for any garden lover. If you love gardens then you should also explore some local Chipping Campden walks too.