10 May 17
I love nothing more than a peaceful meander through a garden in bloom, which is incredibly lucky for me as North Wales is full of blooming wonderful gardens to choose from (see what I did, there?). What’s more the Festival of Gardens, now in its second year, makes visiting these beautiful places even more exciting for flower fans! The festival always follows on from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show to make the most of the season when a garden is often at its most spectacular - this year it takes place between the 27th May and 11th June which is a fabulous time to visit North Wales, before the mad summer rush!
The Chair of BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time and BBC Weatherman Peter Gibbs will be officially opening the event, which involves many brilliant gardens from across the region. Not only can you visit them to soak up the vistas, there will also be behind the scenes tours so you’ll gain valuable insights into how the gardens were created, as well as talks and exhibitions. To find out more about the event take a look at their leaflet. At this time of year you’ll be greeted with incredible displays of rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, tulips, flowering cherries and much more - truly a sight to behold for the avid garden-lover.
Why not make the most of the festival and book in a garden-based break? You won’t regret taking a tour of North Wales’ best gardens at their best whilst staying in one of our fabulous cottages. Take a look at all of our cottages close to gardens here. Below is a shortlist of some of our garden highlights that you don’t want to miss if a garden break is your idea of heaven, just as it is mine!
Tal-y-Cafn, near Colwyn Bay, Conwy, LL28 5RE
This is certainly one of North Wales’ best known gardens and that’s hardly surprising - it really is a beauty, this one! I’ve spent whole days just wandering, sitting and taking each section in (as well as snapping each bloom on my camera, of course). One of the best parts about this National Trust owned garden is that it’s worth a trip no matter the time of year. Being in the Conwy Valley, it’s in a good central spot if you’re staying in Snowdonia and it’s even got it’s own Food shop and restaurant nearby, which is also worth a visit to pick up local meat, deli delights and cracking wine, too.
The Gardens at Aber Artro Hall
Llanbedr, Gwynedd, LL45 2PA
A superb garden - in fact, 10 gardens - for you to lose yourself in! There’s a walled kitchen garden, terraced borders and even a riverside walk to choose from, amongst others, of course. The only downside is accessibility - the gardens are only open to pre-booked group tours but if you’re able to bring a few friends or the family along, we’d recommend a trip here.
Llanfairpwll, Anglesey, lL61 6DQ
Another National Trust owned garden, this is a real gem of a place on Anglesey! Miles of gardens to explore, as well as a stately home set overlooking the glorious Menai Strait - it’s just sheer heaven to visit here on a sunny spring or summer day especially (although equally as spectacular on a crisp winter's day, I might add!). Well worth a visit.
Llanrwst, Conwy, LL26 0PN
This 10-acre masterpiece is actually Grade I listed and envelope a beautiful house that’s been lovingly nurtured back to life by the present owners. Expect ancient yews, Cedars of Lebanon which were planted to commemorate the wedding of King Charles ! in 1625 and the sense that you’ve jumped back in time to the golden age of British gardens.
Plas yn Rhiw
Rhiw, Pwllheli, Lleyn Peninsula, LL53 8AB
These gardens boast the most spectacular views across Cardigan Bay and it’s well worth a visit for those alone! However, impressive blooms are also to be seen, so consider it a two-for-one. English roses blossom earlier in the year and come autumn there is an orchard filled with Welsh varieties that are worth taking in. A good year-rounder! Another National Trust owned site - they really do know their gardens.
Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 4HT
Another garden that surrounds an historic house - these are certainly worth a visit as you can also take in the ‘castle’ whilst you’re there. Stand outside the front entrance and just soak in the surroundings - bliss!
Llanfrothen, Gwynedd, LL48 6SW
One can hardly discuss gardens in North Wales without mentioning Sir Clough Williams-Ellis! This is another of his works, albeit lesser known than Portmeirion (another garden complete with Italianate buildings that is well worth a stop). Beautiful gardens with mountainous peaks as a backdrop.
As well as gardens, North Wales is also home to some pretty impressive garden centres; so clear the boot of the car and make way for some beautiful blooms to take home to your own garden for you to enjoy for seasons to come!
Crug Farm Plants just outside Caernarfon is a good one for gardeners that like to think outside the box! Exotic blooms from all around the world can be bought here. Fron Goch, also just outside Caernarfon is another delight - knowledgeable staff, plants grown with care, an award-winning cafe as well as many good quality local gifts to be had. The perfect wet-weather stop off! Holland Arms on Anglesey is popular with locals and tourists alike (I can personally recommend the lemon meringue pie in the cafe). Great plants as well as fab craft hub make it worth whiling away an hour or so here. Of course, Bodnant Garden has an on-site centre where you can pick up a selection of their plants and that’s always worth a visit, even if you don’t fancy paying to go into the gardens themselves (this would be a mistake in my book, though!).