North Devon Garden Tour
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Hills & moorland
The milder climate of the West Country supports an abundance of plant growth, including subtropical species. As well as splendid coastal scenery there are some fabulous gardens to be visited. Devon and Somerset together is classic "Village England" with both rustic cottages and grand estates, both old and new.
- Rosemoor, the RHS " Wisley of the west"
- Cothay Manor, coloured-themes and extensive herbaceous borders
- Hestercombe boasts two distinctly different gardens: one a classic Georgian park-like garden of Grecian temples, follies and vistas; the other, the masterpiece resulting from the association of Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens
Great reasons to join us:
- Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, plus entrances to all gardens
- Expert leader: we carefully select friendly and knowledgeable leaders for each holiday
- Accommodation: enjoy high-quality accommodation and excellent food at Holnicote House
- Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays – enjoy gardens together, eat together and relax together
As a historic National Trust property, Holnicote House is full of charm and character. Located on the extensive Holnicote Estate, at the foot of Exmoor, it is well suited to a relaxing holiday.
Holnicote House has 32 newly refurbished bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the thatched cottages, called Butlers and Guns, in the grounds.
Choose your room
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Single room are available at no extra charge
• Check-in from 1:30pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Excellent boot and drying rooms
• Two lounges
• Dining rooms
|• Free WiFi available in some public rooms
• Range of board games and books
• Heated outdoor swimming pool (open May to September
|• Croquet lawn|
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
Saturday: Arrival day
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards. Please join us for afternoon tea at 4pm. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.
Sunday: Canning Walled Gardens & Hestercombe
We’ll explore the walled gardens of Cannington near Bridgwater, which is managed by the horticultural students of Bridgewater College. These are charming gardens offering diverse plantings and glasshouses. Then we’ll visit the wonderfully restored gardens of Hestercombe. Here Sir Edwin Lutyens created a new formal garden. He also worked with Gertrude Jekyll and this is considered to be one of the finest examples of their collaborated work.
Monday: For Abbey & Barrington Court
The gardens of Ford Abbey, a former Cistercian abbey, are extensive, yet laid out in an informal style. Here, the tallest powered fountain in the country is a spectacular centre piece. Then we’ll discover the kitchen garden of Barrington Court (National Trust), near IIminster, which has been in constant use for over 60 years. Gertrude Jekyll was in her late 70’s with very poor eyesight when she submitted plans for this garden, which is often considered to be one of her finest.
Tuesday: RHS Rosemoor – all-day adventure
No visit to North Devon would be complete without visiting the magnificent 65–acre RHS garden, Rosemoor. Lady Anne Palmer inherited the garden in 1931 and she described it as dull and labour intensive. However, as her interest in horticulture developed she collected a wonderful diverse collection of plant material, with over 4,000 plants represented in Lady Anne’s Garden.
Wednesday: Free Day
A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House
Thursday: Gothic Knightshayes Court & Mediaeval Cothay Manor
Knightshayes Court, just north of Tiverton, is claimed to be one of the best displayed plant collections within the National Trust gardens, with over 1,200 plant species. One of the highlights is a 4–acre walled kitchen garden producing organic produce. Then we’ll see the mediaeval manor of Cothay, often described as “The Sissinghurst of the West”. There are 12 acres of magical romantic gardens to explore, all set out in a series of rooms.
Friday: Marwood Hill Gardens & Castle Hill Garden
Our last morning is spent in the magnificent 200-acre Marwood Hill Gardens, created by the late Dr James Smart in 1949. This garden has featured on many television programmes over the years. Our final garden is Castle Hill – it’s full of vistas and follies. The approach to the house is via the Millennium Garden, a double herbaceous border designed by a former Chelsea Gold Medallist, Xa Tollemache.
Saturday: Depart after a leisurely breakfast
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
During your stay at Holnicote House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest, either in your free time, or on your journey to and from Selworthy:
Less than a mile from Holnicote House is Selworthy village. At first glance the thatched cottages seem typical of many ancient settlements in this area. However, Selworthy is not as old as it looks, having been rebuilt in 1828 by Sir Thomas Acland. Sir Thomas was a philanthropist and designed the 'model' village himself to provide housing for the aged and infirm of the estate. He used traditional designs and materials to create a deliberately old-fashioned village.
West Somerset Railway
Travel on Britain’s longest steam railway from Minehead to Bishops Lydyard. Now lovingly restored by volunteers, the line recreates a classic Great Western Railway branch line with steam trains operating daily from April to October. Minehead station is 10 minutes' drive from Selworthy, or can be reached on the number 300 bus. www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk
An historic castle transformed into a comfortable stately home for the Luttrell family. Some highlights include the 'modern' 1950s kitchen and the snooker room. Dunster Castle sits in extensive gardens, complete with its working watermill. The adjacent town of Dunster is full of character and also well worth a visit. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunster-castle
Lynton & Lynmouth
The quaint Victorian town of Lynton sits high on a hill, overlooking the coast and Lynmouth harbour. The two settlements are connected by the historic cliff railway. The short walk from Lynton to the Valley of Rocks is highly recommended.
The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) and his wife Sara lived in the village of Nether Stowey, about 45 minutes' drive from Selworthy, from 1796 to 1799. In 1909 it was acquired by the National Trust, and later restored and opened to the public. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coleridge-cottage
Hestercombe Gardens, around an hour's drive away near Taunton, were constructed in three periods - a landscape garden from the 1750s, a Victorian terrace and shrubbery from the 1870s, and Edwardian gardens of 1904-1908 designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. www.hestercombe.com
Arlington Court, about an hour's drive away near Barnstaple is a fine Regency house set in an extensive estate. The grounds include a formal Victorian garden whilst the stables house the National Trust’s carriage collection of over fifty horse-drawn vehicles. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/arlington-court
Travel to Selworthy
Our address is: Holnicote House, Selworthy, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8TJ
The nearest railway station is at Taunton. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
The 29 mile journey from Taunton railway station takes approximately 50 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £57 per taxi. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Holnicote House Manager.
The number 28 bus operates between Taunton station and Minehead. At Minehead change for the number 10 bus that will take you to the Selworthy turn (which is at the end of Holnicote House drive). A 2 minute walk along the drive will bring you to the house. Alternatively pre-book a taxi from Minehead; the 4½ mile journey will cost you approx £10 from our recommended taxi provider. For bus times see www.traveline.info
From Bridgewater take the A39 though the southern outskirts of Minehead towards Porlock. Holnicote House is on the left about 4½ miles out of Minehead, and about ¾ mile after the signpost to Luccombe (do not follow the signs to Selworthy). After the Selworthy Village sign look out for our sign 500 yards further on, on the left. Free car parking is available in the grounds.
Travelling from Overseas
For most guests, travelling to London Heathrow airport is the most convenient option.
From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. From here there are direct trains to Taunton. Its a relatively straightforward journey - allow 2½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
From Taunton you can travel on to Selworthy by bus or taxi (see above).
Jim is a professional horticulturist with more than 35 years' experience working in local authority parks departments and commercial nurseries, in Britain and abroad. For more than 15 years he was a lecturer in plant production and landscape management. He has also run his own nursery and landscape design business. Jim combines visiting gardens and plant spotting with hiking and sightseeing in various countries. Jim leads Walking, Discovery and Garden Tours in Europe, and Garden Tours in the UK.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person