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The 10 best National Trust gardens for a picture-perfect day trip

Enjoy a scenic and socially distanced day out...

This year we've spent more time in our gardens than ever before. If you’re looking to invest in renovating your outdoor space, what better place to seek inspiration than the best National Trust gardens?

Not only do National Trust gardens provide a scenic (and socially distanced) day out, their gorgeous flower gardens, manicured lawns and quaint water features also provide the perfect inspiration for anyone looking to spruce up their own outdoor area.

best National Trust gardens

Waddesdon Manor.
(Image credit: Getty)

See:5 simple ways to maximise your garden space

In the 125 years since its creation, the National Trust has cemented itself as the crème de la crème of historic buildings, beautiful landscaped gardens and gorgeous countryside. It now boasts more than 5.6 million members who enjoy visiting over 500 historic properties and 610,000 acres of land.

SEE THE 10 BEST NATIONAL TRUST GARDENS BELOW:

National Trust gardens offer lots of ideas for any gardening project or renovation. By looking at online reviews (using a combination of Google and Instagram data), Rated People has uncovered the most popular National Trust gardens in Britain.

1.TATTON PARK, CHESHIRE

Tatton Park in Knutsford, Cheshire has something to offer National Trust fans of all ages and group types. The stunning 50-acre gardens are home to 19 different areas, including a Japanese garden, pleasure grounds, glasshouses, a walled kitchen garden and a maze.

If that wasn’t enough, visitors can also enjoy seeing the animals in the 40-acre working farm and explore the impressive 1,000-acres of deer park and woodland; perfect for walking, cycling, picnicking or simply soaking up the incredible landscapes.

2. CORFE CASTLE, DORSET

Corfe Castle is both the name of an ancient castle in Dorset, and also the village that it perches 55 metres above. Both are picturesque and well worth a visit. Thought to date back 1,000 years, the castle has seen lots of battle damage throughout its history, leaving it a fascinating open-air ruin to explore. Not only can visitors enjoy the breathtaking views from around the castle, but also the pretty green grounds at its base.

See:The top 5 features that we all want in our dream garden

3. STOURHEAD LANDSCAPE GARDEN, WILTSHIRE

Immerse yourself in over 300 years of history in the tranquil grounds of Stourhead garden in the Warminster area of Wiltshire. Boasting 2,650 acres of chalk downs, woods and farmland, the grounds here are teeming with wildlife. At its centre is a stunning landscaped garden with a show stopping lake, a domed grotto, a pantheon, a Palladian bridge and the iconic circular Temple of Apollo.

4. FOUNTAINS ABBEY AND STUDLEY ROYAL WATER GARDEN, NORTH YORKSHIRE

Home to the largest monastic ruins in the country, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, located within the Skell Valley near Rippon, have been granted World Heritage status. The dramatic landscaped gardens are dotted with statues, woodlands, wildflower lawns, ponds, canals, follies and plenty of jaw-dropping views, meaning there’s plenty to keep you engaged, no matter the season or the weather.

See:10 expert do's and don'ts for giving your garden a makeover

5. CLUMBER PARK, NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

With grounds covering a massive 3,800 acres, Clumber Park in Worksop offers idyllic parkland, farmland, walled gardens, woods, a photogenic ornamental bridge and a two mile-long avenue of limes as the main approach. The huge serpentine lake provides picture-worthy views and there are over 120 different types of trees here, so fans of flora and fauna will have plenty to see and enjoy. Bring a picnic and take your time strolling the incredible grounds here; you won’t be disappointed.

6. LYME PARK, CHESHIRE

The beautiful manor house at Lyme Park in Cheshire is the centrepiece to 17 acres of beautifully designed formal Victorian gardens, including a rose garden, sunken parterre, rain garden and conservatory.

Beyond this, the estate stretches a further 1,400 acres and includes a deer park, rugged moorland and ancient woodlands. The Cage, a Gothic hunting tower, overlooks the house from a hill in the park, making for an impressive view.

7. WADDESDON GARDENS, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

A great example of Victorian horticulture, the formal gardens at Waddesdon Manor were created at the end of the 19th century by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. The gardens are famous for the floral Carpet Bedding and Parterre (a French-inspired symmetrical garden), and visitors while away the hours wandering between the flower beds, terraces, fountains and pathways.

There’s also a beautifully restored aviary that’s perfect for picnics and a private water garden formed from small lakes, waterfalls, cascades and winding rocky passages (only accessible on special tours).

See:The East Terrace Garden at Windsor Castle to open to the public for the first time in over 40 years

8. CALKE GARDENS AND PARKLANDS, DERBYSHIRE

With over 600 acres of ancient deer-filled parkland, woodland walks and secluded ponds, there’s plenty to discover at Calke. The Calke Explore outdoor hub offers excellent facilities, links to walking and cycling routes and natural play areas in the woods that are perfect for families and adults.

The more formal Pleasure Grounds around Calke Abbey show a rustic dilapidation that’s celebrated by the gardeners and used to create stunning horticultural displays; you’ll find rusting tools nestled in amongst the carefully curated flowerbeds. Here you can enjoy the Orangery, Gardener’s Bothy, Physic Garden and glass houses.

9. HARDWICK GARDENS AND PARKLANDS, DERBYSHIRE

The impressive Hardwick Hall is Elizabethan architecture at its finest and makes an inspiring backdrop for the walled gardens, orchards, pavilions, courtyards, herb gardens, gatehouse, woodland and huge open pasture parkland that makes up the estate. Walkers, day trippers, dog owners, picnickers, cyclists and families-alike have plenty to see and do in the grounds here.

See:How to grow hydrangeas – with National Trust garden consultant, Ian Wright

 

10. CHARTWELL GARDEN, KENT

Once the home of the Churchill family (including Sir Winston), the gardens at Chartwell in Kent have been open to the public since 1966. With a one-way system in place, visitors exploring the gardens will visit waterfalls, lakes, the gorgeous walled garden (with a stunning Golden Rose Avenue), orchards and plenty more, all bursting with colour and incredible floral scents.