Gardens and Landscapes of England and the Channel Islands
Discover the unique horticultural heritage of England and the Channel Islands, from elaborate gardens bursting with spring colours to well-preserved cultural and historic sites.
Experience the botanical oasis of Tregrehan Gardens, one of Cornwall’s Great Gardens, and explore the Lost Gardens of Heligan, a network of immaculate gardens, woodland walks and farmland stretching over 200 acres.
On the island of Guernsey, wander through the award-winning walled garden of La Seigneurie Estate, showcasing the incredible variety of flora and fauna of the English Channel Islands. Uncover Jersey’s history with visits to significant landmarks, including the Jersey War Tunnels and La Hougue Bie Neolithic ritual site.
Arrive in London on suggested flights and make your way to the hotel. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including travel insurance (a condition of travel), accommodation before or after the tour and a room category upgrade.
Join your tour leader Julie Kinney and fellow travellers for a late-afternoon tea before enjoying the remainder of the evening at leisure.
After breakfast, depart London for Exeter, an ancient city located on the River Exe, known for its rich history, imposing Roman wall and striking Gothic cathedral. En route, visit Killerton House, an 18th-century home and the focal point of a substantial estate given to the National Trust in 1944 by Sir Richard Acland. Wander through the estate’s 18-acre hillside garden, boasting a series of terraced beds filled with dwarf shrubs and copious rhododendrons.
In the late afternoon, check in to the hotel and enjoy some time at leisure before dinner.
This morning, enjoy a private tour of Plaz Metaxu garden with art historian and owner Alasdair Forbes. The garden, influenced by Greek mythology, consists of three linked walled gardens, various water features and panoramic views of spacious fields.
Following lunch, visit a 17th-century cob and thatch farmstead and walled garden, brimming with a collection of tree peonies, wild climbing roses and mature wisteria in both purple and white.
Then, enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at leisure to explore the city at your own pace. You may wish to visit the 900-year-old Norman cathedral or stroll along the historic quayside.
In the morning, depart for Tregrehan Gardens, one of Cornwall’s Great Gardens, located in a temperate rainforest. The botanical oasis, protected by hills, massive trees and parkland, has been owned by the Carlyon family since 1565. The estate and garden are known for its impressive collection of camellias planted by Gillian Carlyon in the mid-20th century.
In the afternoon, wander through the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Europe’s largest garden restoration project. The magnificent garden and estate were lost to brambles during the outbreak of World War I, but today boasts a network of immaculate gardens, woodland walks and farmland stretching over 200 acres.
This morning, visit a private garden tucked away from the bustle of the town. The quaint 18th-century house and garden, destroyed during World War II, now houses over 300 varieties of climber plants, a pond, a conservatory covered in wisteria and a small courtyard.
Continue to the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. One of the most influential sculptors of the twentieth century, the museum presents almost five decades of Hepworth’s sculptures, paintings, drawings, prints and designs.
In the evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Today, explore the Caerhays Castle and Spring Garden, a 200-year-old estate with an international reputation for camellias and rhododendrons and home to the renowned National Magnolia Collection.
In the afternoon, enjoy a picturesque ferry ride from St Mawes to Falmouth. Famous for its deep harbour, enjoy a walking tour of the seaside town with its scenic beaches, charming shops and vibrant arts scene.
Return to Truro and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure.
This morning, visit a country garden designed by renowned English garden designer Arne Maynard. The garden, growing around a thatched farmhouse, showcases herbaceous borders, yew topiary, wildflower meadows, orchards and a kitchen garden.
After lunch, explore Farrs, a contemporary and country garden created by well-known furniture designer John Makepeace and his wife Jenny. Tucked away in the centre of a vibrant town, the garden is an escape from the bustling streets with its sprawling yew topiary, walled gardens and rolling lawns. The garden also features a unique grass garden, straw bale house and geese paddock.
Arrive in Dorchester and check in to the hotel. Enjoy some time at leisure before dinner.
Today, delight in morning tea at the Minterne Gardens, known for its unique collection of Himalayan Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Enjoy a peaceful stroll along the garden’s mile-long trail, passing a chain of secluded lakes, waterfalls and streams.
Continue to Cerne Abbas to view the Cerne Giant geoglyph, a 55-metre-tall ancient chalk figure carved into the hillside.
Then, enjoy the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure to relax or to explore Dorchester at your own pace.
Today, take a ferry across the English Channel to Guernsey, the second largest island of the Channel Islands, known for its scenic coastal cliffs, picturesque villages and famous Guernsey dairy cows.
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to explore the island at your own pace. You may wish to visit locations near the hotel, including the Candie Garden, Victoria Tower or the Guernsey Museum and Art gallery.
This morning, explore the Sausmarez Manor, the Channel Islands’ only stately home, occupied by the same family for over 800 years. After centuries of renovations, today the impressive structure is designed in the Queen Anne Colonial style, with parts still dating back to the 12th century. Enjoy time to wander through the manor’s garden, overflowing with tree ferns, 40 species of bamboo and flowering camellias, hydrangeas and myrtle trees.
Visit the Little Chapel, the smallest chapel in the world. Measuring only 16 feet by 9 feet, the miniature church can fit no more than eight people at once. Marvel at the chapel’s ornate mosaic-style designs created from colourful seashells, pebbles and broken china pieces.
Today, visit Sark Island, known as the jewel of the Channel Islands with its lush green landscapes, rugged cliffs and charming town.
Explore the award-winning walled garden of La Seigneurie Estate, showcasing the Channel Islands’ diverse flora and fauna, and discover the estate’s historic homestead. Originally built in 1565, the home has undergone multiple renovations and additions throughout the centuries.
In the late afternoon, return to Guernsey and enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure.
This morning, visit the eccentric 18th-century Hauteville House, where French author Victor Hugo lived for 14 years during his exile from France. The structure’s intricately ornate interior was entirely furnished and decorated by Hugo himself and is referred to as a work of art.
Continue to the Guernsey Tapestry Gallery, housing The Bailiwick of Guernsey Millennium Tapestry. A project involving the entire community, the 10-panel embroidered canvas was stitched by residents of the Bailiwick and illustrates 1,000 years of local history, with each panel representing one century.
Then, enjoy the afternoon at leisure to explore the island at your own pace.
After breakfast, depart Guernsey and take a ferry to Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands. Enjoy a guided walking tour of Saint Helier, Jersey’s capital and largest parish, and marvel at its interesting assortment of museums, forts and markets.
Visit the Maritime Museum, housed in five 19th-century warehouses and boasting collections of artefacts from the island’s maritime history, piracy and the 1692 Battles of Barfleur and La Hougue. The museum also features the Occupation Tapestry Gallery, woven by Islanders to celebrate the 50th anniversary of liberation from the German armed forces’ occupation during World War II. The tapestry depicts the hardships the Islanders faced during those five years of occupation.
Today, visit La Hougue Bie Museum and explore the Neolithic passage grave, one of the 10 oldest buildings in the world, dating from 4000 to 3500 BC. Then, visit Mont Orgueil Castle, an impressive medieval structure overlooking the Gorey harbour on Jersey’s east coast.
In the afternoon, transfer to the Samarès Manor and Botanic Gardens. The gardens, created in the 1920s by millionaire philanthropist Sir James Knott, offer a distinctive plant collection due to the fertile soil from the surrounding coastal marshes. Enjoy a tour of the medieval manor, originally built in the 15th century, and free time to wander through the adjoined Agricultural and Rural Life Museum.
In the morning, visit the Jersey War Tunnels, built during the five-year occupation of the German armed forces in World War II. The underground tunnels, dug by more than 5,000 slave labourers and spanning over 1,000 metres, were designed as a shelter for the German occupying infantry to withstand Allied air raids.
Enjoy a picturesque drive to the island’s west coast, stopping en route for lunch at a local restaurant. Visit Domaine des Vaux, a traditional farmhouse surrounded by extensive gardens and woodland. Wander through the garden’s manicured hedges and marvel at the profusion of spring colours.
Enjoy the morning at leisure to explore the market shops at your own pace.
In the afternoon, transfer to Judith Quérée Garden, a quaint garden containing a wide variety of rare and unusual plants, herbaceous perennials from around the world, a large bog garden and an 18th-century country cottage. After a tour of the garden, enjoy a cup of tea at the Creux Baillot cottage.
Tonight, enjoy a special farewell dinner with Julie and fellow travellers.
Today, fly from Jersey to London (included in tour price). Tour arrangements conclude upon arrival at London’s Heathrow airport.
Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including private airport transfers, additional nights’ accommodation either before or after the tour and travel insurance (a condition of travel).
Note: At time of publication (August 2023), most but not all garden visits were confirmed. Private owners, in particular, are reluctant to commit more than two to three months prior to the visit. Therefore, while we undertake to operate the tour as published, there may be some changes to the itinerary.
Per person, twin-share
Deposit per person (at time of booking)
Final payment due
22 March 2024
Room category upgrade available on request; please enquire with us.
Tour price includes
- Accommodation in centrally-located 4-star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner), including wines with dinners
- Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
- One-way group flight from Jersey to London Heathrow on day of departure
- Transportation on comfortable air-conditioned coaches as per itinerary
- Expertise and insights of your tour leader, garden expert Julie Kinney
- Gratuities for local guides, drivers and wait staff
- Hotel porterage (one piece per person)
Tour price does not include
- International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
- Airport porterage
- Airport/hotel transfers on arrival and departure
- Flight from Jersey on day of departure if not using included group flight
- Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone, laundry, room service, mini-bar, taxis etc.)
- Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
London – The Rembrandt Hotel****
Exeter – Hotel Indigo ****
Truro – The Alverton ****
Dorchester – The King’s Arms ****
Guernsey – Duke of Richmond ****
Jersey – Pomme D’or Hotel ****
N.B. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.
Tour code: GD2402
Fitness level: Moderate
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness level definitions here.
Suggested airline: Qantas/British Airways
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.
Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to visit England.
Download booking form here.