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These are the gardens you'll want to visit this season Helmsley Walled Garden
May 2024
Reading time 3 Minutes

Be inspired by Yorkshire's gorgeous gardens

From one-acre urban gems to 18th century walled gardens and everything in between, these are Yorkshire's greatest gardens to visit.

Helmsley Walled Garden 

Cleveland Way, Helmsley YO62 5AH
01439 772314 
Originally built as the kitchen garden for Duncombe Park, Helmsley Walled Garden is now more than 250 years old. After World War One, Duncombe Park was leased out and became a market garden during World War Two, but was sadly derelict by the early 1980s. It remained that way until Alison Ticehurst stepped in and saw a potential for therapeutic horticulture. Sitting beneath the imposing ruins of Helmsley Castle, today visitors can explore intimate spaces such as the White Garden and Garden of Contemplation, while away the day in the orchard, or follow the parallelogram of paths so you don’t miss a thing from the Labyrinth to the Secret Garden and the Shaded Border.
Tip for your trip: Refuel in the Vine House Café, serving fresh food making the most of ingredients from the walled garden – as well as must-try cakes! 


Doncaster Road, Nostell, near Wakefield WF4 1QE
01924 863892
Rich with a variety of landscape and wildlife, the gardens at Nostell are a haven for horticulturalists. In the rose garden, an Iceberg rose climbs along the entire width of the 100-metre red brick wall, while the nearby Kitchen Garden contains more than 100 carefully tended crops including an impressive espalier of rare heritage pear trees. In the Pleasure Gardens, rows of sweet chestnut and oak trees shelter a circular pathway with views to the Lower Lake.
Tip for your trip: Inspired by the interests of previous resident Sabine Winn, who lived there during the 18th century, the Apothecary Trail offers a fascinating insight into the medicinal and cosmetic uses of plants within the gardens. 

Himalayan Gardens & Sculpture Park Himalayan Gardens & Sculpture Park

Himalayan Gardens & Sculpture Park

The Hutts, Grewelthorpe, Ripon HG4 3DA
01765 658009
From the 18th of April, the Himalayan Gardens and Sculpture Park will be reopening for visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquillity of the gardens, woodland and arboretum that comprise their 45-acre grounds in the North Yorkshire countryside. The gardens have one of the largest collections of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias in the North (including lots of hybrid species) and are particularly known for their striking Himalayan Blue Poppies (or Meconopsis), while the arboretum covers 12 acres and includes 300 species of tree including 52 varieties of oak. Nestled among the gardens are 90 permanent sculptures, all carefully chosen to enhance the landscape and engage with their surroundings. This year, visitors can also look forward to seeing around 30 new sculptures from across the UK in the Sculpture in the Landscape exhibition. Make sure to book your tickets online before you visit as they’re not available on the door.
Tip for your trip: Interspersed around the garden are a number of must-see shelters and structures. These include the Norse Hut built by local craftsman Paul Grainger and a Himalayan shelter made using authentic artisanal building techniques, but perhaps the must iconic is the beautiful Pagoda overlooking the Magnolia Lake.

Raby Castle

Staindrop, Darlington DL2 3AH
01833 660202
With 200 acres of parkland, Raby is home to an abundance of wildlife, including herds of wild red and fallow deer. The five-acre Walled Garden at Raby has recently been remodelled by acclaimed garden designer Luciano Giubbilei with a design that builds on its iconic yew hedges and central pond. The remodel is part of a development called The Rising, which also encompasses extensive restoration of historic buildings on the estate, and will be opening to visitors in spring this year.
Tip for your trip: If they’re on a lead, dogs can join you on your visit to Raby’s gardens and grounds as well as being welcome in the Yurt Café.

Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens York

Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens York

Stewart Lane, Stillingfleet, York YO19 6HP
01904 728506 
This wildlife-friendly, family garden close to York is a peaceful spot with a courtyard tearoom and an art space which hosts workshops and special events. Lovingly planted over 40 years, it also encourages wildlife to thrive. Find unique sculptures in the Rill Garden, see the countless wildflowers in the meadow, and whilst Stillingfleet Lodge is not a rose garden, over the winter of 2022 all the roses here were named and listed and there are more than 50 stunning species to see across the courtyard garden, in the wood and meadow. The garden, plant nursery and tearoom will open from 1st April.
Tip for your trip: Don’t miss the plant nursery which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. For 40 years they have been selling unusual herbaceous plants, most of which are grown here. See one of the largest ranges of hardy geraniums in the UK as well as an impressive selection of plants that thrive in the shade, such as Pulmonaria and Brunnera.

Scampston Walled Garden

Malton YO17 8NG
01944 759111
Designed by the renowned plantsman Piet Oudolf, Scampston Walled Garden reopens in April. This gorgeous garden had been derelict for nearly 50 years when Sir Charles and Lady Legard began renovating and since opening to the public in 2005, the now internationally-acclaimed garden is definitely one to visit. Set within the 18th century walls of the original kitchen garden for Scampston Hall, it still complements the adjacent Capability Brown parkland.
Tip for your trip: A garden guide is available on arrival and visitors will want to refuel in The Pantry where tea is served within the walled garden. 

RHS Garden Harlow Carr RHS Garden Harlow Carr

RHS Garden Harlow Carr 

Harrogate HG3 1QB
01423 565418
Ornamental herbaceous borders, wildflower meadows and streamside plants make up the most northerly of all the RHS gardens – Harlow Carr. Among the original features here, the main borders see Narcissus and Camassia bloom in spring, container displays bursting with spring colour appear in the lakeside gardens, and the wildflower meadow (the quietest part of the garden) comes alive, attracting a variety of insects.
Tip for your trip: Various events, courses, talks, tours and workshops entertain visitors throughout the year – don’t miss their Spring Garden Weekend from 12th–14th April.

Parcevall Hall Gardens

Skyreholme, Skipton BD23 6DE
01756 720311
Open to visitors from 29th March, the 24 acres of formal and woodland gardens here are a hidden treasure. They were created by the late Sir William Milner, and feature interesting plants from Western China, the Himalayas and around the world. Visitors can wander the woodland walks and around the beautiful rose garden. The gardens are so beautiful they’ve been the backdrop to programmes such as Songs of Praise, Escape to the Country, and the Hairy Bikers.
Tip for your trip: The head gardener (when available) and members of the team are always keen to take pre-booked groups on tours of the gardens here.

Sledmere House & Gardens Sledmere House & Gardens

Sledmere House & Gardens

Sledmere, Driffield YO25 3XG
01377 236637
The walled gardens at Sledmere are continually evolving to provide visitors with beautiful displays that add a contemporary twist to the formal style of these historic gardens. In order to achieve this, the gardeners at Sledmere draw from some eclectic sources for inspiration; the curves and soft colour palette of The Angel Garden were inspired by Sarah McLachlan’s 1997 hit; the Lark Ascending Garden uses the same colour palette as the Angel but was inspired by the music of Vaughan Williams; while the dark water and muted design of the Reflection Garden is intended to invite soulful contemplation. Elsewhere, apple and pear trees have been expertly trained into unusual shapes in the formal fruit garden, the Ornamental Potager provides a feast for the eyes and the kitchen, and the Exotic Borders are an explosion of tropical colour.
Tip for your trip: Explore beyond the gardens and take a stroll around the estate to see buttery carpets of wild primroses.

Thorp Perrow 

Bedale DL8 2PS
01677 425323 
Thorp Perrow is the most important arboretum in the North and was created by just one man – Colonel Sir Leonard Ropner. His wife and son developed it into the attraction it is today, covering 100 acres and home to some of the largest and rarest trees and shrubs in England, and five National Plant Collections.
Tip for your trip: At the entrance to the arboretum, head to Thorp Perrow Homes & Gardens where you’ll find a curated selection of outdoor and indoor products from plants to gifts. 

Studley Royal Water Garden

Ripon HG4 3DY
01765 608888 
One of the best surviving examples of a Georgian water garden in England (designed by John and William Aislabie in the 18th century), think ornamental lakes, canals, temples and cascades – Studley Royal Water Garden is a real sight to behold. Not only do 300 red, sika and fallow deer call the parkland home but it’s also home to one of the finest examples of high Victorian gothic revival architecture in England (the truly stunning St Mary’s Church).
Tip for your trip: Take to the High Ride path through the Serpentine Tunnel for beautiful views through the trees.

Elsham Hall

Elsham DN20 0QZ
01652 688698
At Elsham Hall, landscape architect Ian Stubbs has transformed what was once a private garden into a contemporary walled garden within which is a distinct Sensory Garden, as well as a seated patio area and enclosures for some of Elsham Hall’s many animals including alpacas, sheep, hedgehogs and guinea pigs. Two 14th century lakes predate the Hall itself and are all that remain of a priory that was destroyed during the Reformation.
Tip for your trip: On sunny days, you can find shade in The Arboretum, or younger visitors may prefer to seek out the resident fairy in the Enchanted Woods.

Newby Hall & Gardens Newby Hall & Gardens

Newby Hall & Gardens

Ripon HG4 5AE
01423 322583
With 15 individual gardens to explore, from the National Cornus Collection to the Tropical Garden and Orchard, there’s lots to see at Newby Hall. The Water Garden has a stunning display of primulas in a myriad of pastel shades around the stream that winds downwards into a large pool. The Rock Garden and its waterfall are a fascinating example of Edwardian garden design, but be sure to take time to admire the Curving Pergola where yellow Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossii’ form a spectacular curtain of gold around May. Geometric arrangements of quince, apple and crab apple trees are the centrepiece of the Orchard Garden, while at an impressive 172 metres-long the Herbaceous Border is one of the longest in the country and forms a vibrant path from the house down to the river. Newby Hall will be reopening on Thursday 28th March (opening days vary so check the website before your visit).
Tip for your trip: See the gardens from a different perspective and enjoy regular sightings of wildlife on one of their boat trips along the River Ure.

Newburgh Priory

Coxwold, York YO61 4AS
01347 868372
There are approximately 30 acres of picturesque grounds to be explored at Newburgh Priory. Nestled within the sprawling grounds you can find a woodland Water Garden with an enchanting display of waterfalls and cascades, and a Walled Garden complete with stunning herbaceous borders, and brimming with the produce of its carefully tended fruit trees and vegetable plots. Beyond these gardens, visitors can look forward to lawns lined with rows of delicate blossom in spring, immaculate yew topiary, atmospheric ruins and even historic trees planted by royalty.
Tip for your trip: Make sure to look out beyond the grounds for iconic views of the White Horse of Kilburn.

Castle Howard Castle Howard

Castle Howard

York YO60 7DA
01653 648333 
With 1,000 acres of parkland and woodland walks, temples, lakes and fountains to discover, you can spend the whole day at Castle Howard. In spring visitors can marvel at nearly 800 species of rhododendrons, see bluebells in the ornamental Ray Wood with its serpentine paths, and visit the walled garden where a garden of roses is dedicated to the memory of Lady Cecilia Howard. Ornamental water features make for Instagrammable memories here (the most recognisable is the Atlas Fountain at the centre of the South Parterre). Dogs on leads are welcome too.
Tip for your trip: At the garden centre visitors can browse the ‘pick of the crop’ in plants,  and forestry and hedging plants are available from the Tree Nursery.

York Gate

Back Church Lane, Leeds LS16 8DW
0113 267 8240
Created by the Spencer family between 1951 and 1994, this one-acre gem of a garden in Leeds is now owned by the gardening charity Perennial. The intriguing design was heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement and features a series of 14 meticulously designed ‘rooms’ connected by equally beautiful vistas. Expect stunning examples of topiary (particularly the impressive box spirals in the herb garden), beehives, a traditional hay meadow and an overall impression of whimsy at every turn of this Grade II national heritage status garden.
Tip for your trip: Try their café for afternoon tea on the sun terrace overlooking the newly created sunken Mediterranean Garden.

Sutton Park

Sutton-on-the-Forest, York YO61 1DP
01347 810249
Sutton Park House may date from the 1750s, but its award-winning terraced gardens are a much more recent development having been laid out in their current style by garden designer Percy Cane in the 1960s. The gardens are comprised of three terraces, with beautiful herbaceous rose borders, a herb and vegetable garden, a tranquil pond brimming lilies and bullrushes unusual features like a fernery and stumpery. Keep checking their website for this year’s opening dates, and to discover why they were awarded a Gold medal at the 2023 RHS Yorkshire in Bloom Campaign.
Tip for your trip: Make sure to take a stroll to see the Ice House, a fascinating remnant from the time of pre-refrigeration.

Yorkshire Lavender Yorkshire Lavender

Yorkshire Lavender

Terrington, York YO60 6PB
01653 609228
The gardens at Yorkshire Lavender showcase the whole spectrum of the eponymous herb, which flourishes in shades of white, blue, deep purple and – of course – lilac. Although it is the focus, lavender is not all they grow, with The Bog Garden making the most of the stream to grow moisture-loving plants, The Purple Patch showcasing perennials that mimic the colours of lavender in bloom, and The Wildflower Meadow leaning in an altogether more naturalistic direction.
Tip for your trip: Take the opportunity to get lost in the floral aromas of The Lavender Maze.

Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam Road, Leeds LS15 0AE
0113 336 7460
The Rhododendron Walk is the first thing to greet you in the gardens at Temple Newsam, but there is plenty more to see. There are 800 yards of herbaceous borders, as well as rose beds and plenty of herbs growing within the 18th century Walled Garden but, perhaps most excitingly, they have recently begun to grow their own vegetables again. Visitors can discover a formal garden packed with 17th century design including beech and box hedges, trained laburnum arches and a pleached hornbeam walk and three lakes in the grounds, all of which have been individually planted.
Tip for your trip: Explore all three lakes, from the largest which is bordered by beds of perennials including candelabra primulas and hosta, to a second surrounded by a grass and bamboo garden, and the third set in simple naturalistic parkland.

For opening dates, admission times and prices please visit the individual garden’s website.

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