The best National Trust gardens around the UK to get your nature hit

With coronavirus-related travel restrictions and anxiety around holiday crowds, lots of people in the UK have opted for staycations this year.

Thankfully, the British countryside is home to some truly magnificent beauty spots, including the historic gardens of National Trust properties.

These gardens often boast beautiful flower gardens, well-kept lawns and impressive water features – so are great for a day trip out.

Data collected by Rated People has has revealed some of the most highly-rated National Trust gardens in the UK. Tatton Park, in Cheshire, has come out on top as the best National Trust garden to visit, followed by Corfe Castle in Dorest and Stourhead Landscape Garden in Wiltshire in third position.

Below are the top 10 gardens, which have been ranked by the number of Instagram hashtags and quality of Google reviews.

1. Tatton Park, Cheshire

This historical estate – which stretches more than fifty acres – features a neo-classical mansion and landscaped gardens. The house’s Victorian grandeur is also reflected in the grounds with glasshouses, formal gardens, Italian and Japanese gardens. Past the gardens, there’s 1,000 more acres of parkland to explore with wild grazing deer, a farm and a medieval Old Hall.

2. Corfe Castle, Dorset 

Built by William the Conqueror, the castle dates back to the 11th century and boasts breathtaking views across Purbeck. The royal palace and fortress has more than 1,000 years of history and all sorts of interesting nuggets can be found around the castle ruins, including the ‘murder holes’ and arrow loops.

3. Stourhead Landscape Garden, Wiltshire 

When it first opened in the 1740s, Stourhead was described as ‘a living work of art’ – and it’s not hard to see why. The landscape garden features classical temples, mystical grottoes, rare and exotic trees as well as a magnificent lake – which acts as the centrepiece. The grounds stretch 2,650 acres in total and are perfect for lakeside walks and picnics.

4. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

This opulent abbey was first established by devout monks and is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England. The garden is the brainchild of John Aislabie who inherited the land in 1693 and installed a water garden, statues, follies and more. The climax of the garden is, in many ways, the ‘The Surprise View’ also known as ‘Anne Boleyn’s Seat,’ which gives an incredible view of the Abbey ruins.

5. Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

Once the country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle, Clumber Park is made up of parkland, heath, lake and woods covering more than 3,800 acres. It also nods to its historical past with features such as its Gothic-style chapel – often referred to as a ‘Cathedral in miniature’ – and the Walled Kitchen Garden. It’s also home to a variety of wildlife which are easy to spot on a visit.

6. Lyme Park, Cheshire

Located on the edge of the Peak District, this estate is known for its medieval herd of red deer, fantastic walks and stunning views. Jane Austen fans might even recognise the lake from when Mr Darcy meets Miss Bennet in the BBC production of ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

7. Waddesdon Gardens, Buckinghamshire 

The gardens of Waddesdon Manor have plenty to offer, but perhaps the most iconic part is The Parterre, with nearly 19,000 plants which make up the flower bed display. There’s also a working aviary, fountains and Silent Space benches designed for guests to relax and time a minute to themselves with nature.

8. Calke Gardens and Parklands, Derbyshire

Some of the best things to discover in the gardens and parklands at Calke Abbey are the faded walled gardens, the orangery, the auricula theatre, the red and fallow deer and the ‘Old Man of Calke’ – a 1,200 year old oak tree.

9. Hardwick Gardens and Parkland, Derbyshire 

This spectacular Elizabethan house offers some lovely countryside walks and woodland trails. There’s more than 300 acres of historic parkland to explore around Hardwick Hall, including a fishing lake and walled courtyards which enclose herb gardens, orchards and some spectacular plants.

10. Chartwell Garden, Kent  

This spot was once the family home of Sir Winston Churchill. Chartwell’s hillside gardens reflect Winston’s love of landscape and nature and feature lakes (that he created himself), a kitchen garden and a playhouse designed for his youngest daughter, Mary.

For those looking for something a little more ‘off-the-beaten track’, Rated People also formed a list of the ‘best hidden gems gardens’ – which were the least reviewed but the most highly rated.

Rowallane Garden in County Down, Northern Ireland scooped the top spot for this list, followed by Felbrigg Hall Parkland and Gardens in Norfolk.

Best ‘hidden gem’ National Trust gardens

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