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Formal gardens, floating gardens, island gardens, and even a poison garden: our holidays offer endless opportunities to immerse yourself in the botanical world.
Below we’ve picked out some of some favourite floral destinations…
Lovely but lethal
The Alnwick Garden, which can be visited on our Northumberland walking holiday, is unusual for a number of reasons. Firstly, this is no centuries-old park – the garden as you see it today only came into being in the early 2000s – and secondly, it is home to a rather deadly collection of plants, certainly not the kind of thing you can purchase in the gift shop at the end of your visit. Yet, such differences are what sets this award-winning attraction apart, and those seeking gorgeous roses, glorious water lilies or even a gargantuan cherry orchard can also rest easy – for the Alnwick Garden has these, too, and in abundance.
The floating garden
Rather than being home to just one standout garden, the entire island of Madeira goes by the nickname of ‘the floating garden’; hardly surprising, when you consider that this verdant paradise boasts a profusion of both exotic and indigenous plant species. Our single-centre walking holiday on Madeira explores the island’s traditional western side and offers ample opportunities to hike beside flower-lined levadas and through luxuriant forest, while our hotel-to-hotel Madeira walking holiday reveals some truly spectacular flora. This holiday includes a stay in the capital, Funchal, from where you can visit the vast Botanical Garden at Quinta do Bom Sucesso – a real treat for the senses.
A constant delight
With a dedicated ‘flower island’, a four-kilometre ‘green’ trail and various open garden evenings, Lake Constance’s botanic credentials are impressive. The best-known floral attraction on the lake is the tiny island of Mainau, which plays host to a striking variety of flowers and trees, while just across the waters the Überlingen Garden Culture Path – a 19th-century trail bordered by palm trees and colourful flowerbeds – connects some of the town's most beautiful natural sights. Be sure to visit both Mainau and Überlingen while enjoying easy hikes and far-reaching views on our Lake Constance walking holiday.
Although the Loire is rightly famed for its magnificent châteaux, in one corner of the region, at least, the gardens take centre stage. Choose our Loire cycling holiday and our detailed route notes will lead you to Villandry – a château which was constructed during the 16th century and laid out at the same time with magnificent formal gardens. As the years rolled by, the gardens were altered to suit different styles and tastes, but they have now been restored to their full Renaissance glory. They include a water garden, ornamental flower gardens and a delightful kitchen garden.
Portugal’s ‘garden capital’
Travel to the far north of Portugal, to the little-known Minho region, and you will find Ponte de Lima – a place with many accolades to its name. It is Portugal’s oldest town, with its iconic Roman bridge hinting at its venerable origins. It is also known as one of the country’s prettiest spots, as well as being its ‘garden capital’, with no fewer than 17 parks and gardens and an International Garden Festival held yearly between late May and the end of October. We offer a hotel-to-hotel walking holiday in the Minho, as well as a self-guided Minho cycling holiday – both of which give you the opportunity to visit the town and to tour its many green spaces.