South West Classic English Gardens & their Manor Houses

South West Classic English Gardens & their Manor Houses



The picturesque South West of England is home to a veritable treasure trove of impressive stately homes and atmospheric manors. These magnificent properties boast extraordinary interiors and often feature fascinating garden styles and parkland too, many of which were created by 18th century garden design trendsetters such as
‘Capability’ Brown. On this tour, we uncover some of these classic and sometimes hidden gems, from the Elizabethan Longleat House to the tranquil Heale House Gardens and Italianate Peto Garden.

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Trip Type
Individual Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
Departure Dates
Aug 2, 2020 - Aug 11, 2020


Nights One and Nine – Macdonald Windsor Hotel
The Macdonald Windsor Hotel is situated in the heart of the historic town of Windsor, opposite the famous Windsor Castle. The classic interiors, with a contemporary edge, fit perfectly with the Georgian elegance of this townhouse hotel. The luxury bedrooms are individually-designed and the hotel also offers a stylish bar and restaurant.

Nights Two to Eight – Bailbrook House Hotel, Bath


Free private transfers to/from London Heathrow


SW English Gardens map


  • day 1

    August 2: Arrival (depart U.S. on 8/1)

    On arrival at Heathrow airport, a private transfer will take you to our overnight hotel, the Macdonald Windsor Hotel. In the evening you are invited to join the group for a welcome drink, followed by dinner.

  • day 2

    August 3: Highclere Castle and Lacock Abbey

    Today we journey to the world-famous Highclere Castle, residence of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and filming location for the much loved Downton Abbey television series. Entrance includes access to the Egyptian Exhibition, which explores the achievements of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922. We then head to Lacock Abbey, which sits at the heart of Lacock village with golden stone cloisters and a Great Hall. Once a medieval nunnery, the abbey was turned into a family home by William Henry Fox Talbot who invented the first photographic negative. Later we check in to the Bailbrook House Hotel where we stay for seven nights.

  • day 3

    August 4: Tyntesfield and Georgian House Museum

    We visit the once loved family home of Tyntesfield, a fabulous Gothic Revival house of turrets and ornate stonework. Here we discover the largest recorded collection of unique possessions cared for by the National Trust, accumulated by four generations of the Gibbs family. Afterwards take a step back in time at the Georgian House Museum in Bristol. This 18th-century townhouse provides us with a fascinating insight into what life would have been like for sugar merchant John Pinney and his servants above and below stairs. This evening we enjoy dinner together at a restaurant in Bristol.

  • day 4

    August 5: Bath – Victoria Park, Herschel Museum of Astronomy, Roman Baths and Pump Rooms

    The day begins with a guided walking tour of Bath, an elegant Regency town. We enjoy a visit to Victoria Park, first opened in 1830 by the 11-yearold Princess Victoria, which is overlooked by the iconic Royal Crescent. We continue to the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, located in the former home of astronomer William Herschel. We visit the museum’s garden, which is a re-creation of the garden as it might have appeared during Herschel’s discovery of the planet Uranus, laid to recreate a typical planting scheme for a Georgian town house. Next, we are transported back to Roman times as we enjoy a guided tour of the town’s ancient Roman Baths. We explore the extensive bathing complex, one of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world, which still flows with natural hot water before we finish with afternoon tea at the elegant Georgian Bath Pump Rooms. After dinner back at the hotel, we are treated to a fascinating talk by a guest speaker.

  • day 5

    August 6: Wells, Bishop’s Palace & Gardens and Stourhead

    Our day starts in the cathedral city of Wells, with its eclectic mix of historic buildings and quaint narrow streets. Here we discover the Bishop’s Palace & Gardens, a unique medieval palace which has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for 800 years. We enjoy an expert-led tour of highlights such as the private Chapel and the beautiful Royal Horticultural Society partner gardens. We continue to Stourhead, renowned for its 18th-century landscaped garden, a delight of classical temples, exotic trees, hidden grottos and a magnificent lake. The grand Palladian house is no less of a draw, with its Chippendale furniture and one of the finest Regency libraries left in existence. Later, we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant.

  • day 6

    August 7: Bradford-on-Avon, The Peto Garden, Great Chalfield Manor and Prior Park Landscape Garden

    We travel first to Bradford-on-Avon, an enchanting town full of historic buildings and quaint streets to explore. Next we enjoy a guided tour of The Peto Garden at Ilford Manor, designed by the distinguished British garden designer Harold Peto. Evoking Peto’s love of Italy, the gardens are characterised by colonnades, pools and ancient statues. Our next visit is Great Chalfield Manor, a charming moated manor built in the 15th century for Thomas Tropenell, a modest member of the landed gentry who made his fortune as a clothier. Outside, the romantic gardens offer terraces, topiary houses, colorful borders and delightful views. Finally we head to Prior Park Landscape Garden, an intimate garden created in the 18th century
    and influenced by the poet Alexander Pope and ‘Capability’ Brown. Set in a sweeping valley with fantastic views of Bath, the garden features a rare Palladian bridge, Cascade and Serpentine Lake.

  • day 7

    August 8: Bowood House and The Courts Garden

    This morning we travel to Bowood House where we enjoy a guided tour followed by lunch. Family home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, Bowood houses a unique collection of historical artifacts, from Queen Victoria’s wedding chair to Napoleon’s death mask. Outside are 100 acres of beautiful parkland, designed by ‘Capability’ Brown.
    We continue on to The Courts Garden, a quintessentially English country garden superbly planted and maintained with seven acres of colorful plants, herbaceous borders and peaceful water gardens.

  • day 8

    August 9: Longleat House

    Today we head to Longleat House, widely regarded as one of Britain’s finest examples of Elizabethan architecture. Substantially completed by 1580, Longleat House is set within 900 acres of stunning ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped parkland featuring a fine lawn, serpentine river, wooded hills and meandering pathways. We enjoy a guided tour of the impressive house with its priceless antiques and ornate painted ceilings, followed by lunch.

  • day 9

    August 10: Heale House Gardens, Winchester and Winchester Cathedral

    Winchester and Winchester Cathedral The day begins at Heale House Gardens, a beautiful garden designed by Harold Peto in both Edwardian and Tudor styles. Set in the grounds of historic Heale House, mostly unchanged since King Charles II hid there in 1651, these eight acres of beautiful gardens include a delightful mixture of styles including a walled garden and Japanese water garden with its authentic Japanese tea house and red Nikko bridge. We then head to the cathedral city of Winchester, England’s ancient capital, where we enjoy lunch. We then enjoy a guided tour of the awe-inspiring Winchester Cathedral where we discover its hidden treasures, including the tomb of Jane Austen and the Winchester Bible, one of the finest 12th-century bibles to have survived. From here we return to the Macdonald Windsor Hotel where we enjoy a farewell dinner together.

  • day 10

    August 11: Departure

    A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home.

Everything you need to know about the tour

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