22577
England

Britain’s Beautiful Blooms at the Hampton Court Flower Show

Stop to smell the roses as you join us for the Royal Horticultural Society Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and explore some of England’s best-loved gardens with experts!
Rating (5)
Program No. 22577RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
3,599
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12 days
11 nights
26 meals
10 B 6 L 10 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive London, To Canterbury, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Canterbury
L,D
Best Western Abbots Barton

Activity note: Hotel check in from 3:00 p.m.

Morning: If you arrive before rooms are available, you may leave your luggage with the concierge and go out for a walk into Central Canterbury or relax in the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel, we’ll have a light lunch of soup and sandwiches with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After checking in to the hotel we’ll have some time to relax and unpack before our Orientation meeting at 5:00 p.m. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This program is staffed with both a Group Leader, who will accompany us throughout the program and deal primarily with logistics, and a Study Leader who will lecture, conduct field trips and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel we’ll have a 3-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Canterbury Cathedral & Dean’s Garden, The Salutation
Canterbury
B,L,D
Best Western Abbots Barton

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, the breakfast buffet features a variety of locally sourced eggs, bacon, sausages, hash brown, tomatoes, mushrooms, make-your-own muesli, cereals, pastries, toast, milk, juices, tea, coffee, water.

Morning: At the hotel, we’ll gather for a multi-media lecture by our Study Leader presenting a brief history of English gardens. We’ll then set out on foot for a field trip to Canterbury Cathedral, including a special opening exclusively for our Road Scholar group of the Dean's Garden. We’ll learn about the history of this secret part of the Cathedral precincts (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) from one of the gardeners, then venture into one of the earliest Gothic buildings in England to explore at our own pace, perhaps paying homage at the shrine of Thomas Becket, who was murdered in the Cathedral in 1170.

Lunch: In central Canterbury.

Afternoon: After lunch we’ll board a motorcoach and head for the ancient town of Sandwich, one of the original Cinque Ports (a medieval confederation of five ports in south-eastern England). Situated behind the town walls is a manor house known as The Salutation, home to 3.5 acres of glorious gardens reclaimed from floods and neglect. Originally a pub and market garden, it was transformed from 1911-12 by the noted architect Sir Edward Lutyens with input from legendary English garden expert Gertrude Jekyll. The property and its gardens went through periods of great success, terrible neglect, and natural disaster. We will meet members of the current team of gardeners who restored the framework of the Lutyens design, and explore the eclectic mix of plants and garden “rooms” to appreciate the fusion of old and new ideas.

Dinner: At The Salutation, we’ll have a 2-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water and one glass of wine included; other beverages available for purchase. The Salutation’s chefs take great pride in making full use of all the vegetables, fruits and herbs grown in the kitchen garden, many of which are unusual heritage varieties.

Evening: We'll return to the hotel by motorcoach after dinner, and the remainder of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
4
Lullingstone Castle
Canterbury
B,L,D
Best Western Abbots Barton

Activity note: Walking and standing for up to 2 hours.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We’ll depart by motorcoach for a field trip to Lullingstone Castle, the ancestral home of Tom Hart Dyke. It is the UK's first “World Garden” and has been featured on BBC TV. Designed and cultivated by Tom himself, plants from around the globe are arranged by their respective countries of origination. We will meet Tom and hear him describe his vision and work as a modern day plant hunter. The idea for this “World Garden” developed when Tom and a companion were kidnapped by guerrillas while searching for rare orchids in the Darién Gap between Colombia and Panama. They were held captive for nine months, often threatened with death. To keep his sanity, Tom began imagining a garden designed to display plants he had collected in his travels, to be laid out in the shape of a world map.

Lunch: We’ll have a light lunch at Lullingstone Castle.

Afternoon: Continuing our field trip to Lullingstone Castle, a local expert will lead us around the manor house that dates back to 1497. We’ll return to the hotel by motorcoach, and the remainder of the afternoon is free time.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Canterbury
B,D
Best Western Abbots Barton

Activity note: Sissinghurst has 450 acres. Explorations may be from a 1-mile walk passing two lakes to a more adventurous 3-mile walk taking in all of the estate.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This morning we’ll board a motorcoach and head for Sissinghurst Castle Garden, which we’ll explore at our own pace. En route, our Study Leader will deliver a lecture on the story of Sissinghurst — a tale of the aristocracy, sexual intrigue and gardening! From its beginnings as a Saxon pig farm, the place we know as Sissinghurst has become a “poetical refuge” dedicated to beauty and one of the most famous gardens in England. Its modern history began in the 1930s when it was purchased as a derelict by poet and author Vita Sackville-West and her husband, poet and diplomat Harold Nicolson. They began building up the surrounding farm and developing the garden, inspired by the examples of Sir Edward Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. The garden design consists of a series of interconnected “rooms” — each with its own character, color, and theme — and some enchanting lakeside and woodland walks. Sackville-West and Nicolson opened the garden to the public in 1938. After Sackville-West’s death in 1962, Nicolson gave it to the National Trust, who have been its guardians ever since.

Lunch: In Sissinghurst, on your own to enjoy what you like at the café.

Afternoon: We’ll begin our afternoon with some free time to continue our independent explorations at Sissinghurst, then return to Canterbury by motorcoach for some more free time there.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Great Dixter, Rye
Canterbury
B,L,D
Best Western Abbots Barton

Activity note: Garden: hardened paths, slopes with some ramps. Steps at a number of points may be difficult. Rye is very hilly.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach and ride to Great Dixter, the family home of gardener and gardening writer Christopher Lloyd (1921-2006), who made it famous. The Tudor house is surrounded by a famous Arts and Crafts garden. The gardens are profuse with contrasting colours and a wild area. In Lloyd’s own words: “Most of the garden design was by Lutyens; it always seems fluid, never stodgy… I have no segregated colour schemes. In fact, I take it as a challenge to combine every sort of colour effectively… if I think a yellow candelabrum of mullein will look good rising from the middle of a quilt of pink phlox, I’ll put it there – or let it put itself there. Many plants in this garden are self-sown and they often provide me with excellent ideas. But I do also have some of my own!” Back aboard the motorcoach, we’ll make a short journey to Rye, a small picturesque town close to the East Sussex coast.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like in Rye.

Afternoon: We’ll begin the afternoon with a walk through Rye led by our Study Leader. Charming and picturesque with steep cobblestoned streets, half-timbered cottages, elegant town houses, and even a Norman church, Rye was the 18th-century smuggling capital of England! We’ll return to the hotel by motorcoach mid-afternoon, and the rest of the afternoon is free time.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
7
Transfer to Cheltenham, RHS Garden Wisley
Cheltenham.
B,D
Queens Hotel Cheltenham

Activity note: The motorcoach trip to Chelthenham is about 175 miles, approximately 3.5 hours.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel, board our motorcoach, and begin our transfer to Cheltenham. En route, our Study Leader will deliver a lecture on the first 200 years of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). We’ll stop at RHS Wisley along the way. Wisley is the flagship garden of the RHS, and one of the best loved in Britain. Its more than 230 acres offer a beautifully cultivated blend of practical and innovative techniques as well as one of the largest plant collections in the world. It includes decorative gardens, arboretums, and interesting “model gardens” offered as a guideline on what home gardeners can expect to achieve on their own land. Another highlight is the Glasshouse, 40 feet (12 meters) high and the size of 10 tennis courts. We will explore some of the highlights with our Study Leader.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like at the various eateries at Wisley. These include the Food Hall, Glasshouse Café and Restaurant.

Afternoon: We will have time for independent exploration until mid-afternoon, when we will continue on our way to Cheltenham. There will then be time to freshen up and relax after checking in at the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel, enjoy a 3-course plated and served dinner with tea, coffee, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to stroll around the Imperial Gardens outside hotel.

DAY
8
Hidcote Manor Gardens, Kiftsgate, Chipping Campden
Cheltenham.
B,L,D
Queens Hotel Cheltenham

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We’ll board the motorcoach and set out on a full-day exploration of the Cotswolds, beginning in the north Cotswolds at Hidcote Manor, a celebrated 20th-century garden surrounded by beautiful countryside. Hidcote, created by the talented Anglo-American horticulturist and noted plantsman Major Lawrence Johnston, is considered to be one of the top ten gardens in Britain. This garden also explores the concept of “rooms” within a garden that we have seen elsewhere. It is famous for rare shrubs and trees, as well as its outstanding design with wild flower areas, pools and water features, and long avenues bordered by imaginative and colorful plantings. We’ll then proceed to nearby Kiftsgate.

Lunch: At the Kiftsgate Tearoom, we’ll have a light lunch.

Afternoon: We’ll begin the afternoon by exploring Kiftsgate Court Gardens, a spectacular set of outdoor rooms created by three generations of women gardeners: Heather Muir (a close friend of her neighbour Lawrence Johnston), Diany Binny, and Anne Chambers. Throughout almost a century, each has made individual, highly personal contributions that have made Kiftsgate world renowned. It has been named the Historic Houses Association garden of the year, featured in England’s Thousand Best Houses. From Kiftsgate, we’ll set out on a field trip by motorcoach to explore picturesque Chipping Campden, renowned as the “jewel of the Cotswolds.” On the way to this small market town we’ll pass through the surrounding landscape of undulating valleys, quiet rivers and idyllic villages. Noted for its elegant High Street dating back to the 14th century, Chipping Campden is lined with traditional Cotswold honey-coloured limestone buildings housing some delightful specialist traders and inns.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Painswick Rococo Garden
Cheltenham.
B,D
Queens Hotel Cheltenham

Activity note: Painswick Garden is set in a valley, access is not ideal. A suggested restricted route is available.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This morning we will journey by motorcoach to the beautiful Cotswold town of Painswick, where we will have an opportunity to admire the honey stone architecture before stepping back in time at the flamboyant Painswick Rococo Garden. The only complete Rococo garden surviving in Britain, it was originally laid out in the 1740s, designed as a pleasure garden and place for garden parties, almost like a theatrical set. By the 1970s, it had become terribly overgrown but renewed interest on the part of garden historians led to its restoration. We will return to Chelthenham at the conclusion of our field trip.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like in Cheltenham.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for early check out and transfer to London in the morning.

DAY
10
Transfer to London, Rousham Gardens, Oxford
London, England
B,L,D
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Activity note: The motorcoach trip to Rousham Gardens is about 45 miles.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll board our motorcoach to begin our transfer to London. Our first stop on the journey will be Rousham Gardens, just north of Oxford. The gardens are the purest example of an Augustan landscape garden, designed by William Kent. We’ll walk amongst the statues paying homage to Imperial games, wander into the woods, and venture through a glade leading to a Temple overlooking the River Cherwell. Next, we’ll make the short journey to Oxford where we will be dropped off at the central Martyr's Memorial, with some time for personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will point out some of the main areas and sites to see in this “City of Dreaming Spires.”

Lunch: In Oxford, we’ll have packed lunches with sandwich, snack, fruit, and beverage.

Afternoon: We’ll have some more time for independent exploration in Oxford, before we rendezvous at a predetermined spot for a mid-afternoon resumption of our transfer to London. We’ll arrive at our hotel in the late afternoon, and after checking in we’ll have some time to relax and unpack before dinner.

Dinner: In the hotel, we’ll have a 3-course served dinner with tea, coffee, water included; other beverages available for purchase at the bar.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
The Hampton Court Flower Show
London, England
B,D
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Activity note: All marquees are accessible, and all gardens and floral exhibits can be viewed from ground level. Where possible, gardens are adjacent to trackway. Areas around the gardens are often busy.

Breakfast: Early in the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, bacon, sausages, hash brown, tomatoes, mushrooms, make-your-own muesli, cereals, pastries, toast, milk, juices, tea, coffee, water.

Morning: Our horticultural adventure culminates in a field trip by motorcoach to the Hampton Court Flower Show, the RHS's largest event and the biggest show in the world. We’ll depart early to avoid the crowds, then explore and be inspired by the many Show Gardens presenting themed designs and spectacular plantings and the Rose Marquee. There are various talks, demonstrations and exhibits. We will spend the day here; there is ample free time at the show for those visit Hampton Court Palace to do so (excluded from the program cost).

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like at the Flower Show. The Village Fête offers a variety of hot and cold food with covered and open air seating.

Afternoon: We will rendezvous at a predetermined spot and depart late afternoon, returning to the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel, enjoy our farewell dinner and share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and departure in the morning.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: In the hotel depending on departure times. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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