British Garden Design & Horticulture Tour
with P. Allen SmithJuly 5-12, 2020
Join P. Allen Smith for a private tour of some of the finest
examples of gardens in Cheshire and Derbyshire.
The works of the greatest garden designers both past and present will be presented first hand by the estate owners, designers, and head gardeners. Insights into to creation and maintenance of these gardens will be explored.
The tour will begin by staying in Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, a property created by the Tollemache family, now a country house hotel. Allen’s talented friend, garden designer and Chelsea gold medal winner at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show, Lady Alexandra (Xa) Tollemache will be with the group for part of a very full itinerary.
Arrangements have been made to see the gardens of the late Marchioness of Cholmondeley. Lavinia was a friend of Allen’s and a great patron of the art of the garden. Barry Grains, the head gardener for the Cholmondeley family, and Lady Tollemache will provide commentary on this magical garden set against the 19th-century iconic and picturesque castle.
Lady Tollemache has also made arrangements for the group to see the gardens at Eaton Hall and a recent work of Lady Arabella Lennox Boyd. Eaton is the seat of the Duke of Westminster and the estate is rarely open.
Viscount and Viscountess Ashbrook have graciously invited the group for a full day at Arley Hall. Long time friends of Allen’s, Lord and Lady Ashbrook, will share the glorious gardens of Arley with special focus on the great herbaceous border, the oldest in Britain (1846). A Cheshire farm-to-table supper in Arley Hall has been arranged by the Ashbrook’s culinary team.
A visit has been arranged to Haddon Hall in the adjoining county of Derbyshire. The spirit of Robert Smythson’s Elizabethan garden of 1565 remains intact. Celebrated and talented garden designer, Arne Maynard was recently commissioned by the present Duke and Duchess of Rutland. The visit to Haddon will be bookended by calling into Lyme Hall, often called the ‘Palace of the Peak’ and a family home to Lord Ashbrook by descent from his maternal side. Additionally, that day the group will see Hardwick Hall, built by Bess of Hardwick in 1587, a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth I. The gardens have been painstakingly restored by the National Trust into a fine Elizabethan garden. Hardwick serves as the perfect segue into the delights of the next day.
Allen has many happy memories of Chatsworth, having known the 11th Duke and Duchess. ‘Debo’ was one of the famous Mitford sisters and she loved chickens and Elvis Presley. These interests ‘set the table’ for a fun and satisfying friendship with Allen over the years. Chatsworth is one of the great estates of England, layered in history and incomparable beauty.
The present Duke and Duchess have commissioned the great talent, Tom Stuart Smith, one of Britain’s best-known and visionary garden designers. Time is dedicated to seeing Chatsworth’s gardens, the house, and the broader landscape.
From left to right: Chatsworth, Derbyshire;The herbaceous borders Arley Hall, Cheshire, Bodnant, Wales
As the group will be based near the ancient Roman city of Chester and the Welsh border, time in Chester and Wales is planned.
Powis Castle was built by a wealthy prince into what became a formidable and handsome 13th-century border castle. In 1912, the Earl of Powis embarked on the creation of a sublime garden of terraces wrapping the base of the castle. Today, these terraces are full of inspiring plant combinations with creative use of color and texture. While in Wales, the gardens of Bodnant are a must-see. Sublime views of Snowdonia are a hallmark of the current seat of Lord and Lady Aberconway. Former president of the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS), Lord Aberconway continues the family tradition of horticulture at Bodnant started by his grandfather in 1901.
The RHS was founded in 1804 and continues to remain relevant. With many exciting projects throughout Britain, one of the most exciting recent projects is the Brightwater Estate. Formerly the 18th-century home of the Dukes of Bridgewater, instrumental in the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, the property is now being transformed into a new visionary garden, an example of the ‘Greening of Britain’. Its curator will be on hand for a private tour as they prepare to officially open later this summer.
A tour of Northwest of England would not be complete without a tour of Knowsley Hall, the seat of the Earls of Derby. The present earl and countess have made arrangements for us to see the hall and gardens. 19th-century author, Lewis Carroll was a friend of the 14th Earl Derby and much of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was written and inspired, in part, at Knowsley.
The tour will end with an urban experience in the city center of Manchester. Opportunities for shopping, dining, and entertainment will be outlined for tour participants.
From left to right: Powis Castle and Garden, Wales;The herbaceous border, Arley Hall, Cheshire; Knowsley Hall, Cheshire
Things to consider:
• Participants will gather and the tour will begin at Peckforton Castle with drinks and dinner at 6:30 pm, Sunday 5th of July and end in Manchester 12 July. We advise you to fly into Manchester International Airport, which is 32 miles away from Peckforton Castle. Attendees on the tour are responsible for international flights to the UK and transportation from Manchester International to Peckforton Castle, Tarporley
• Tours of venues cited in the itinerary will proceed regardless of weather conditions unless otherwise indicated by the itinerary venue manager.
• Sensible and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
• We welcome all guests, but please note that there are uneven floors and steps, and most, but not all gardens are handicapped accessible.
From left to right: Antique Rose Collection at Arley Hall, Cheshire; Haddon Hall, Derbyshire
P. Allen Smith as private escort to all tour venues on the itinerary.
Admission to all properties and gardens on the itinerary
7 nights’ accommodation in twin rooms with private en-suite facilities.
Single travelers have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room.
Breakfasts and Lunches at designated venues over the course of 7 days
Drinks and Dinners 3 evenings on the tour
Transportation to and from gardens and hotels during the itinerary
Porters will help with luggage to and from hotels
Optional free day in the city of Cheshire
Year Membership to the Royal Oak Foundation (1 membership per couple)
A detailed and final itinerary will be distributed to participants by the 1st of April
Double Occupancy: $6,850 per person
Single Room Occupancy: $7,400 per person
Limited availability. Reservations are secured on a first come first served basis with payment of the full deposit.
Deposit of 50% is due by 15th March 2020. Remainder balance due on or before 1st May 2020.
From left to right: Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire; Bodnant, Wales