Discover the finest gardens in Yorkshire holiday cottages

Discover the finest gardens in Yorkshire

Kate Atkin 09 June 2023

There is something so calming about spending an afternoon immersed in nature – and you don’t have to go far to find an incredible garden in Yorkshire. Discover potagers of herbs and vegetables, wander vibrant parterres, and gain inspiration from award-winning herbaceous borders.

From flower-filled National Trust gardens to one of the leading RHS gardens in the UK, we’ve picked a selection of some of the best Yorkshire gardens to visit this year. We’ve even included the glorious grounds that were the iconic filming location for the 2020 adaptation of The Secret Garden.

And if you’d like to combine a visit with a relaxing stay in one of our local Yorkshire holiday cottages, just click the button below to browse our collection of self-catering accommodation.

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RHS Garden Harlow Carr

RHS Garden Harlow Carr: montage of garden, single yellow flower and carpet of red flowers

Flaunting an impressive 58 acres of gardens and 15 acres of park and woodland, RHS Garden Harlow Carr is a showcase of horticultural excellence. Find year-round inspiration along the dramatic Main Borders, pick up the latest tips and growing techniques in the bountiful Kitchen Garden, and look out for wildlife along the lush Streamside Garden – one of the longest gardens of its type in the country, providing a home for many moisture-loving plants, including the Himalayan blue poppy in spring.

Must see: The Hedgehog Street Garden is a place where you can catch a glimpse of our prickly pals as they wander along the ‘hedgehog highway’ and learn how to encourage these declining animals into your own garden.

Need to know

Address: Crag Ln, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate, HG3 1QB

Opening times: Open daily (closed Christmas Day) 9.30am-6pm

Facilities: Bettys Café Tea Rooms, garden centre, gift shop, WCs

Dogs: Only assistance dogs are allowed in the garden

The Yorkshire Arboretum

The Yorkshire Arboretum: close ups of tree trunk and red leaf

Sitting on the Castle Howard Estate near York is The Yorkshire Arboretum, a spectacular 120-acre landscape of parkland, lakes and ponds peppered with more than 7,000 trees from around the world. In spring, this Yorkshire arboretum is ablaze with blossoming trees and flowering bulbs, giving way to drifts of wildflower meadows in the summer, and then a firework display of colour in the autumn as the leaves transform into vivid reds, oranges and golds.

Must see: A visit to the Red Squirrel Enclosure can be booked in advance, which has been built to protect a small breeding group of these endangered native mammals, which have sadly been lost from most of our woodland in the UK.

Need to know

Address: Castle Howard, York, YO60 7BY

Opening times: Open daily 10am-4pm from 1 February to 30 November

Facilities: Café, WCs

Dogs: Welcome on a lead

York Museum Gardens

York Museum Gardens: poppies near the city wall ruins, a robin and ruins of monastery

Established in the 1830s by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, the Museum Gardens in York stretch for 10 acres along the north bank of the River Ouse between Museum Street and Marygate. These botanical gardens take their name from the Yorkshire Museum, which stands at their heart. They also encompass an extraordinary wealth of historic artefacts, including parts of the earliest Roman fort in York, a medieval hospital and monastery, and the medieval city walls. A Prairie Border showcases plants from North America, while the Observatory Border features plants with intriguing star-shaped flowers.

Must see: Join one of the free weekly tours around the gardens – run on Sundays by local experts – and learn more about the fascinating history of the gardens, the plants and the buildings.

Need to know

Address: Museum St, York, YO1 7FR

Opening times: Daily 9am-6pm

Facilities: Pop-up plant shop on selected days, café at nearby York Art Gallery, nearest WCs at Bootham Bar or within the city centre at Silver Street

Dogs: Welcome on a lead

Helmsley Walled Garden

Helmsley Walled Garden: walkway covered in yellow and purple blooms

One of the finest gardens in North Yorkshire, Helmsley Walled Garden was originally built as the kitchen garden for Duncombe Park and is more than 250 years old. Framed by a high brick wall, these 5-acre gardens are constantly evolving, with showstopping displays of flowers, fruit and vegetables. The gardens are so enchanting that they were used in the 2020 remake of The Secret Garden. Follow the meandering pathways and be transported to the world of Mary Lennox from Francis Hodgson Burnett’s classic novel.

Must see: The magnificent Clematis Garden flourishes with more than 150 varieties in the spring, buzzing with bees and butterflies, its floral perfumes wafting on the breeze.

Need to know

Address: Cleveland Way, Helmsley, York, YO62 5AH

Opening times: Weds to Sun 10am-5pm from March to October, and Weds to Sun 10am-4pm November, December and March

Facilities: Café, gift shop, plant centre, WCs

Dogs: Welcome in the garden – drinking bowls are available

Studley Royal Water Garden

Views across the lawns and water at Studley Royal Water Garden

One of our favourite National Trust gardens in Yorkshire is Studley Royal Water Garden. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was created in the 18th century around the romantic ruins of the 12th-century Fountains Abbey – it’s one of the best-surviving examples of a Georgian water garden in England. Designed by John Aislabie, a series of ornamental lakes, glassy ponds and follies sweep down to the riverside, entwined with rustic bridges, classical temples and statues.

Must see: Wander along the riverside paths to the deer park, home to more than 500 red, fallow and sika deer.

Need to know

Address: Fountains Abbey, Ripon, HG4 3DY

Opening times: Open daily 10am-5.30pm

Facilities: Restaurant, gift shop, plant centre, WCs

Dogs: Welcome on short leads

Newby Hall and Gardens

Steps leading to another level at Newby Hall and Gardens

Regarded as one of the best Yorkshire gardens for all seasons, Newby Hall is an award-winning masterpiece boasting 14 stunning garden rooms, two heritage orchards and 30 acres of woodland. Taking centre stage is the 172-metre-long double border which slopes down to the River Ure – and is celebrated for being the longest herbaceous border in a private garden in the UK. Flanked by double yew hedges, this triumph of colour and texture teems with wildlife in the spring and summer months.

Must see: The gardens hold the National Collection of Cornus. Featuring over 100 different specimens, they fill the gardens with incredible white and pink clouds of blossom in late spring to early summer.

Need to know

Address: Skelton-on-Ure, Ripon, HG4 5AE

Opening times: Weds-Sun 11am-5.30pm on non-event days, plus daily in the North Yorkshire school holidays

Facilities: Restaurant, gift shop, plant centre, miniature railway, children’s play area, pedalo boats, WCs

Dogs: Not allowed in the gardens or woodland, however, there is a small, designated dog exercise area next to the picnic area

Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park

Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park: close up of blue flowers

Experience 45 acres of gardens and woodland bursting with colourful blooms and over 80 striking sculptures, all inspired by the Himalayas, at the Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park. The microclimate of its tranquil valley setting makes it fertile ground for the rare blue poppy (meconopsis), alongside the North’s largest collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias, with nearly 20,000 plants in total. Amble over the bridges, stroll along the lakeside paths and admire works by internationally renowned artists.

Must see: There are several charming structures and resting places dotted around the gardens, including a Pagoda, Norse Hut, and Contemplation Circle.

Need to know

Address: Hutts Lane, Ripon, HG4 3DA

Opening times: 4 April to 29 October 10am-4pm, see website for specific days

Facilities: Tearoom, plant centre, WCs

Dogs: Welcome on a lead, except in the tearoom

The Walled Garden at Scampston

The Walled Garden at Scampston: wild flowers and a cabbage white butterfly resting on pink flowers

Designed by the renowned Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf and residing in a notable park designed by Capability Brown, The Walled Garden at Scampston is an awe-inspiring sight, quite unlike any other garden in Yorkshire. Cubes of box, pleached limes, adventurous topiary and formal hedges form distinctive garden rooms, each with a character of its own. Wander through swathes of amber-tipped Molinia grasses, enjoy the calm of the contemplative Silent Garden, and be captivated by the butterflies as they flit between plants in the perennial meadow.

Must see: The best viewpoint for admiring the garden is the Mount: a vast pyramid-like structure from where the whole, outstanding design can be appreciated.

Need to know

Address: Scampston, Malton, YO17 8NG

Opening times: 29 March to 5 November, Weds to Sun 10am-5pm

Facilities: Café, gift shop, plant centre, WCs

Dogs: Assistance dogs only in the gardens, however, there are routes through the parkland where dogs are allowed on leads

Burton Agnes Hall and Garden

Burton Agnes Hall and Garden: views of the hall, giant outdoor chess set and sculpture of man in veg garden

Built in 1598, Burton Agnes Hall is a masterpiece of Elizabethan architecture, and its gardens are equally as extraordinary. As well as a traditional potager, a herb garden and dazzling herbaceous borders, there are some horticultural surprises, including a giant games board for chess, draughts and snakes-and-ladders, a jungle garden and a maze. The walled garden holds more than 4,000 species of plants, including a National Collection of Campanulas, and there is also a serene woodland filled with wildlife sculptures.

Must see: Every February, millions of snowdrops push through the cold winter ground to create a breathtaking white carpet across the woodland floor.

Need to know

Address: Rudston Rd, Burton Agnes, Driffield, YO25 4NB

Opening times: Daily 11am-5pm

Facilities: Café, gift shop, plant centre, WCs

Dogs: Welcome on leads

Sewerby Hall and Gardens

Sewerby Hall and Gardens: views of hall, walkway leading to gazebo and close up of butterfly

There are over 50 glorious acres of award-winning gardens and woodland at Sewerby Hall, an early Georgian house with spectacular views over the East Yorkshire coast from its dramatic cliff-top position. Follow the winding paths of the Pleasure Garden and peruse intricate wood carvings, admire a kaleidoscope of colour in the Walled Garden, and take in the sweet scents of the Rose Garden. There is even a zoo to keep the children entertained.

Must see: In spring, there is a Marie Curie Daffodil Trail, a wonderful opportunity to admire the early signs of the season.

Need to know

Address: Sewerby, Bridlington, YO15 1ED

Opening times: Daily 25 March to 24 September 9.30am-5pm

Facilities: Café, gift shop, zoo, pitch ‘n’ putt, WCs

Dogs: Welcome on leads in the garden and a section of the cafe, but not in any of the other areas

Discover the best Yorkshire gardens with a map of where to find them

Find these gorgeous gardens in Yorkshire on our handy map.

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Open Gardens in Yorkshire

Open Gardens in Yorkshire: garden bench surrounded by purple and white blooms

While many of us are familiar with the above public Yorkshire gardens that open their gates to everyone throughout the year, there are also some hidden gems waiting to be discovered too.

Thanks to the National Garden Scheme, there are more than 100 Open Gardens in Yorkshire to visit during set times throughout the year. These exquisite private gardens include a wide range of spaces, including traditional cottages, compact townhouses, sprawling stately homes and even community allotments.

Some have specific open days, while others are available to explore by arrangement. And all help to raise money through admissions, teas, and cakes, for nursing and health charities around the country.

Here is a selection of Yorkshire Open Gardens to include on your day out (please visit the National Open Garden Scheme website for specific opening times):

Plan your next Yorkshire getaway

Whether you’d like to admire the setting for The Secret Garden in Yorkshire or find some inspirational RHS gardens in Yorkshire, you’re sure to find a great base to stay nearby within our collection of holiday cottages.

From romantic retreats to fun-filled family houses, just click the button below to discover a memorable setting for your next Yorkshire getaway.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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