Lindisfarne Castle Gardens, Northumberland

If you like your garden visiting to be a little magical, a little bit mysterious, to be something you want to go back to, to see if it was really real, go to Lindisfarne on Holy Island. Designed by the legendary Gertrude Jekyll over a century ago, it is no more than 30 x 50 metres inside a wall on a bare, North Sea headland. Owned by the National Trust the path to it across grassland is wholly unpromising. You may imagine it’s a broken down sheep fank until you go through its small gate. But I’m getting ahead...

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Alnwick Castle Gardens, Northumberland

You know that Alnwick Castle featured as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, right? (gulp, me neither) but in fact the most amazing thing about Alnwick is how absolutely wizard its gardens are. I know, I know, the heart of a keen gardener might sink a little at the prospect of a garden attached to such a global tourist attraction and in truth the frankly amazing water feature, zany mazes, talking trees and vast treehouse restaurant are a little as though Disneyworld had a baby with the Palace of Versailles, but believe me, it’s high calibre fun. Alnwick crouches just...

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Branklyn Garden, Perth

Branklyn Garden is surely one of Scotland’s national treasures. Its eccentricities start before you’ve even got there. For although it’s in Perth – a wonderfully central and connected city, it’s quite a tricky little number to locate even for your top notch Sat Nav. (Basically head over the river as though you’re going to Scone Palace but turn left instead of right and then it’s just off to the left.) You’ve got to work for it. Even when you’ve parked your car (for free) you still have another 70 metres or so to totter before you find this wonderful...

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Parham House Gardens

I defy anyone not feel happier after a visit to Parham House Gardens in Pulborough, West Sussex. The sense of well-being starts as soon as you pull off the A283, drive in through the main gates and weave your way down through the historic parkland, a mosaic of downland, bracken and veteran trees opening up to an uplifting view of the South Downs in which this Elizabethan house and garden nestle. The bonhomie continues with the welcome you get as you park on the springy turf (no trace of twentieth century tarmac here) and make your way through the...

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