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Our favourite gardens to visit in Devon’s heartland  

If you love your gardening and enjoy visiting special places for inspiration, now has never been a better time to come and stay with us and visit some of the best gardens nearby too.

Here are some of our favourites:

National Trust – Knightshayes

Knightshayes is very close to us here in Bampton and for those of you who like to grow the food you cook, it has a wonderful Victorian kitchen garden, which was finished in 1876, at the peak of the Victorian obsession with productive gardens.

Considered by many to be an art form, the Victorian vegetable and fruit growing that took place within its walls undoubtedly showcased the latest techniques. Today’s garden team aims to keep the Victorian spirit alive by embracing innovation and new varieties, while also preserving the gardens horticultural history, which includes growing 146 different tomatoes!

The garden was designed by architect William Burges at the same time as the house.

Like many similar properties of its size and ilk, it very sadly declined during and after World War I, as many of the young gardeners went off to fight. By World War II the team dwindled further, but the garden was still used to supply the house during both wars when it was used as a hospital.

By the 1970s, it had become overgrown and was abandoned as it was too expensive to run. The garden was used for grazing and even as an over flow carpark. Then in 1999, a project was undertaken to restore it to its former glory. By 2003 it was fully productive again. Restoration is still on-going with plans to rebuild one of the original Victorian glasshouses.

Marwood Hill Gardens

Created by Dr Jimmy Smart VMH in the late 1950s, this 20-acre garden has three lakes and is home to some top plant collections including Astilbes, Tulbaghia, Japanese Iris. It is located in a cosy North Devon valley near Barnstaple and has been featured on several garden radio and TV programmes down the years. It is an attraction for all ages, so represents a great day out for all the family. After you’ve had a good look round, if you need a traditional Devon cream tea, then there’s a tea room on-site and for a bit of green-fingered retail therapy, there’s a plant salesroom there too.

National Trust – Arlington Court

This gorgeous house and its lush grounds in North Devon is home to the National Trust’s carriage museum, which means family and friends who aren’t interested in gardening can see lots of other things here. The property has a fine Victorian garden, an abundant kitchen garden and lots of pleasure grounds to leisurely stroll around. There’s also an interesting house to explore if the weather is inclement and a café if you’re feeling in need of tea and cake. The team often hosts meet the gardeners’ days and, also, do guided tours too.

RHS Garden Rosemoor

This is a plant lovers paradise and also perfect for families as it has an award-winning café/restaurant and two play areas. During the summer months it hosts a series of events and activities as well as outdoor theatre and musical events. The gardens, which are near Torrington, are spectacular and have great all-year-round interest. You’ll easily be able to spend the day there as there is so much to see and do.

Bampton in Blooms Hidden Gardens Weekend – Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1

Approximately 20 beautiful gardens around the village will be open for people to visit. Some kind owners have even offered plants and cuttings for free or for a small donation to Bampton in Bloom funds. Tickets are £4.50 per person (children under 14 are free) and are valid for both days so why not make a weekend of it! The gardens are open from 11am until 5pm each day. Tickets are available on the day from Bampton Fruit & Veg, Costcutters or at Riverside Hall.

Delicious Devon cream teas will be available on both days together with other tasty refreshments from 10.30am until 5pm at the Riverside Hall. Exmoor Rotary Club will also be holding their popular Duck Race so there will be something to amuse the children too.


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