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Question about Gardens in England in mid-October

Jean M

10+ Posts
After a glorious time in the Cotswolds in April 2018, we are now planning a trip to other parts of England in October of 2019. We are semi-retired hikers who now stroll and, for health reasons, have to remain on fairly level ground. My question is about gardens and what the state of gardens might be at that time of year.
There was much that we loved about the Cotswolds - the pubs, the lanes and the villages, and the hedgerows, the churches, gorgeous fields - all too much for words.
What we enjoyed most were the gardens - Westonbirt, Hidcote, and Buscot Park particularly. Because we stayed primarily in a National Trust Cottage (Woody's in Sheepscombe which was indescribably perfect for two people in their 70s who like quiet places and level walks. Here's the link: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/woodys-cottage-the-cotswolds), I'm again looking at National Trust cottages and am focusing on gardens in Kent/Sussex and Dorset/Devon. I've also considered Wales and the Midlands because it looks like there are some terrific gardens in those places. These might be more hilly for us than we can accomodate. Even the mild inclines in the Cotswolds were sometimes more than we could handle.
On our last trip we flew into Oxford which was easy to reach via the bus from Heathrow. This trip I'd like to go straight from the airport to Canterbury for a couple of nights. I'm thinking we would then rent a car for a one-way drive/drop off. We don't like to move around alot and typically stay in either a couple of places for a week each or, as we did at Sheepscombe, stay ten nights with a couple of brief stops on either end - in Oxford and London on that trip. Perhaps Canterbury at the beginning and somewhere else at the end this time.
There's a great National Trust cottage at Nymans in Sussex (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/woodlands-cottage-sussex) and, according to my guidebook, a good garden. And I've always wanted to see Sissinghurst, although it sounds like it is at its best in summer. I'm sure there are lots of other gardens in that part of the country - I'm early in my research still. If we don't take the train to more northern and westerly parts of the UK (e.g. Wales or the Midlands), then we'd drive west to Stourhead, whicih is supposed to be very nice in fall and spend most of our time in Dorset. Again, I know there are lots of gardens in that part of the world- narrowing down is always a problem. I try to focus on one or, in this case, two regions. That's hard to do in England where there is so much to see and do. I am trying to find gardens that in October would have color and interesting plants. Even in April, we were early for many gardens.

The point of this loosely structured and disjointed post is to ask two questions: first, for fall garden recommendations in Kent/Sussex, Dorset, Wales, and Midlands that might not be too hilly; secondly, to inquire if the weather in some or all of these regions might be more than tolerable in October. While I don't expect perfect and beautiful fall days, I'm hoping for not too much cold rain. We were blessed in April in Sheepscombe for the weather was nearly perfect every day.
 

Mom83

100+ Posts
The one garden that I very much enjoyed the last time we were in Wales visiting my family was Dyffryn Gardens....about an half hour drive west of Cardiff...not hilly as I recall. I cannot comment on the weather or condition of the gardens in October at Dyffryn Gardens as we have only visited there in late July.
We have often visited other parts of the UK in September and October...most recently 2018 in Oxford and London during 10 days of lovely, mild, sunny weather. During this last October visit, I did see some lovely roses still in bloom all over the Cotswolds, but I would say the remainder of the gardens I saw were fairly dormant.
 

Jean M

10+ Posts
Thank you for your reply and for the link to Dyffryn Gardens. The information on your visit in October was also helpful. Did you stay in Wales? And, if so, was it in the country by chance?
Many years ago, I was in southern England in September and the weather was splendid. When it does rain, it seems a sprinkle is more common rather than a downpour.
 

Mom83

100+ Posts
Yes, we do often stay in Wales...sometimes with my family who live in Llanelli just outside Swansea and in Miskin northwest of Cardiff. During our last visit, we rented cottages for ourselves. We spent one week in northern wales near Conwy in a lovely cottage and another week in southern Wales in St. Lythans to the west of Cardiff in another lovely home. Both homes were definitely out in the country.
 

Mom83

100+ Posts
I do want to stress that weather is so unpredictable in the UK. Our 2018 October visit to Oxford and London had unusually lovely cool, sunny, dry weather, but when we were in the UK in mid/late July one year, the north of Wales was very rainy and cold while our second week in southern Wales and Oxford was unusually hot and dry,
We will be going back to Oxford and Wales this year to spend Christmas with our son-in-law’s family in Oxford and my family in Wales, so hoping for decent weather.
 

Mom83

100+ Posts
If you would like any info on the home we rented near Conwy, Wales, please let me know. The home in St. Lythans may no longer be for rent, but I can check if you have interest in that one.
 

Jean M

10+ Posts
If you would like any info on the home we rented near Conwy, Wales, please let me know. The home in St. Lythans may no longer be for rent, but I can check if you have interest in that one.
Yes please. It’s always nice to have a recommendation.
I would like the info on either or both.
 

Jean M

10+ Posts
Sheffield Park Gardens and Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest (lots of good walks) are must sees. The gardens of Hever Castle are also pretty good!
Thank you, Eleanor. I loved reading your many comments and suggestions re: the Cotswolds. I will check these out. Do you have any idea of how these places might be in October?
 

Mom83

100+ Posts
Yes please. It’s always nice to have a recommendation.
I would like the info on either or both.
This is the place we rented in Capelulo..near Conwy in the north of Wales. Lovely home and a great area from which to take walks in the countryside. Jane and Laurence are the owners...lovely couple. Very nice pub a short walk up the road where we often had a very nice meal.
I am still searching to see if I can find the home in St. Lythans near Cardiff...I have a feeling it might no longer be rented, but I will keep looking.
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
Bedgebury has a lot of different conifers, so is a garden for all the year. In Hever and Sheffield Park the deciduous trees will be beginning to change colour so on a sunny autumn day both will be good too. None of them depend on displays of herbaceous plants to make their impact.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
I live in West Dorset and it is beautiful here, with great walking options, but not many gardens. Stourhead is beautiful and well worth visiting. Close to us is Mapperton House and Gardens with a lovely small garden.

In our area Lyme Regis is a beautiful town and would be a good base to see West Dorset and East Devon. The towns along the coast in this area are beautiful, especially the East Devon towns between Lyme and Exeter.

Into Devon, I remember visiting lovely gardens across the river from Dartmouth. All the towns along the eastern edge of Dartmoor are lovely.

I am writing a page with a walking tour of Lyme Regis, 5 mile flat walk, and will post here when done in case you come here. If you decide on West Dorset I can figure out some good flatter walks for you.
 

Jean M

10+ Posts
I look forward to your hike description and thank you the garden information. Dorset truly does sound lovely. And I hope to visit and stay awhile.
 

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