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The Peak District National Park encompasses the southern reaches of the Pennines, a range of ancient hills that form the backbone of England. The White Peak is typified by steep limestone valleys like Dovedale, whereas the northern part is called the Dark Peak area as it has dramatic gritstone ridges and stark moorland plateaus. From our welcoming base in a 4-star hotel in Hope Valley, we venture out to visit a specially selected collection of gardens in and around the National Park.
Helen Yemm is probably best-known for her weekly THORNY PROBLEMS page that has been a fixture for nearly twenty years in the Saturday’s Daily Telegraph. In ‘real life’ she is a hands-on, self-taught, keen-as-mustard gardener and lecturer with a garden in East Sussex that she occasionally opens for small groups.
Helen is a sometime television presenter (GARDENING FROM SCRATCH and GARDENING WEEK for BBC-2) and is the author of several gardening books (the latest being GARDENING IN PYJAMAS). She is also a regular feature writer for THE ENGLISH GARDEN magazine. However, hosting garden tours is, she says, the icing on the cake – she gets enormous pleasure from discovering gardens in the company of others who share her passion.
To use our NEW itinerary, simply click a day below and a detailed overview will appear.
**Please note:** This tour starts at Chesterfield Railway Station at 11:00. If arriving by car you can park at the station, or this can be arranged at the hotel.
We travel to the private gardens of Snitterton Hall, beautifully situated on the edge of the Peak District above Matlock, with its unique underground swimming pool cleverly disguised as a lean-to glasshouse. Following lunch, we visit an Elizabethan manor house with fine gardens developed by a leading designer. We arrive at Losehill House Hotel in the late afternoon with time to settle in before dining together.
We start with a tour of the famous gardens of Chatsworth House, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire. Here three of Britain’s leading garden designers, Tom Stuart-Smith, Dan Pearson, and James Hitchmough, have helped to redevelop the extensive grounds, including the remodelling of the large rock garden. After free time for lunch at the Chatsworth, we head on to Thornbridge Hall, a late Victorian garden with historical salvaged sculptural elements. Over the past 20 years the current owners have restored and developed the gardens, mostly by enriching the flower borders.
We take a step into Staffordshire to visit the gardens of an old hall and a grange, both once part of the same estate. The garden we find at Biddulph Old Hall is mostly set in the ruins of a 16th-century grand manor that was built next to an older 15th-century farmhouse. The Manor was destroyed during the Reformation, but the ruins remain, now romantically planted with predominantly white roses, inspired by Sleeping Beauty and the Italian garden of Ninfa. A light lunch will be included at Biddulph Old Hall. The garden at Biddulph Grange is one of the most exciting survivals of the great age of Victorian gardening. From 1841, James Bateman employed plant hunters to help amass an international collection of plants which were subsequently planted in geographically themed areas amidst rockwork, topiary, tree-stumps, and an extraordinary array of eclectic garden buildings.
We spend the morning lower down the Hope Valley in the village of Eyam. Next door to the museum is the colourful garden plot of small, local business Wild in the Country, which provides a whole range of seasonal cut flowers. Nearby, Hannah Bennett Sculpture Garden displays a variety of carefully curated artworks in a lovingly tended, lived-in setting. We go on to Renishaw Hall, home for over 400 years to the famous Sitwell family. Its garden shows a strong Italianate influence, enhanced by the truly British understanding of plantsmanship. We include a special tour of the garden and Hall to learn more of the literary associations of previous owners. Lunch is also included at Renishaw on arrival. Following the visit, we return to Chesterfield railway station for 17:00 or to collect cars from the hotel at 18:00.
Single Room Supplement from £295.00 (4 days).
Losehill House has been developed into the finest boutique hotel and spa in the Peak District. This 1914 Arts and Crafts gem redeveloped as a boutique country hotel and spa occupies a secluded spot on the side of Losehill with stunning views overlooking Win Hill. The hotel has 22 bedrooms and is beautifully situated near Hope, equidistant from the wonderful villages of Castleton and Edale, all in the midst of some of the best walking and outdoor activity countryside in England. Each bedroom features a flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi. Most rooms give extensive views over the National Park.
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