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Classic Trips: England's Heritage Gardens and Stately Homes

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Fly into: London Fly out of: London
Total Duration: 12 Days

If there's one thing that England does best, it's splendid homes and the gardens that surround them. This itinerary starts in London's parks and palaces, moves through the suburb of Royal Tunbridge Wells for nearby treasure houses, heads to the cathedral of Salisbury and the magnificent manors of the Cotswolds, before finishing in the grand gardens and estates of the Peak District.

    This Trip's Top Experiences:

  • Architecture
  • Natural Beauty
  • Great Drive
Days 1-2
Edyta Pawlowska/shutterstock

1 London

Parks and Recreation

  • Let things get rosy at Regent's Park, where the flowers bloom in the summer
  • Also known as the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Kew Gardens has 19th-century greenhouses that are a flower fan's favorite
  • London homes don't get much statelier than Buckingham Palace. Match your visit with a day trip to the baroque Hampton Court Palace
  • Natural Beauty
  • Architecture
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Days 3-4
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MARKABOND/shutterstock

2 Royal Tunbridge Wells

A Posh Suburb near Historic Treasures

  • Visit Sissinghust, possibly England's finest garden
  • At Knole, see the grand, beloved home of the Sackvilles for the past 400 years
  • Hever Castle is the archetype of a medieval fortress
  • History
  • Architecture
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Days 5-6
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3 Salisbury

Cathedrals and Country Houses

  • Salisbury Cathedral is justly famous; it's also home to one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta
  • Mompesson House dates from 1701; behind the Cathedral is one of the nation's most beautiful Queen Anne houses
  • See Wilton House (owned by the 17th Earl of Pembroke) and the fabulous garden at Stourhead—it's a must.
  • History
  • Architecture
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Days 7-8
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4 Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon

Shakespeare's Birthplace and Splendid Gardens

  • The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the main site of interest in Statford; if you'd like to see Anne Hathaway's Cottage and the Bard's Birthplace, invest in a combination ticket
  • Hidcote Manor Gardens is one of Britain's best and most influential historic gardens
  • Sudeley Castle, the home of Henry VII's last wife, is famous for the roses in its Queens Garden
  • History
  • Natural Beauty
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Days 9-10
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MichaelMaggs/wikipedia.org

5 Peak District

Stunning Landscapes, Magnificent Manors

  • The stone mansion at Hardwick Hall evokes Elizabethan England
  • Haddon Hall is thought of as the prototypical English manor house, with marble monuments and intricate plasterwork
  • Chatsworth House is no slouch either—this Palladian manor is known as the Palace of the Peak
  • History
  • Architecture
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