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7 secret gardens you can find in The Cotswolds

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Growing up you may have read the story of the Secret Garden and dreamed of finding your own leafy sanctuary full of awe-inspiring flowers and mystery.

Seeing as The Cotswolds is home to that beautiful storybook architecture and villages, it only makes sense that you can discover charming, magical gardens dotted throughout the countryside too. Here are seven of our favourite, not-so-secret gardens for a whimsical day out.

Hidcote, near Chipping Campden

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This arts and crafts-inspired garden was intricately designed by the talented American horticulturist Major Lawrence Johnston. Each space is a colourful outdoor ‘room’ full of surprises, interlinked by a maze of narrows paths leading into the next magnificent vista of plants.

Many of the plants were collected from Johnston’s plant hunting trips to far away places and it’s the perfect spot to wander if you’re in need of gardening inspiration. Like a dreamy escape in the countryside, it’s easy to find a quiet spot in the gardens, whether that’s on patches of grass or on the decadent benches, to while away an afternoon watching woodpeckers search for their lunch.

Find out more and book your ticket to Hidcote over on the National Trust website.

Sezincote

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When you think of The Cotswolds, you imagine adorable stone cottages. But Sezincote is a world away from the expected, rising from the English rolling hills as a grand, magnificent Indian house and gardens.

Built in 1810, the house is created in the Mughal style of Rajasthan, with a central dome, minarets, peacock-tail windows and pavilions. The gardens were neglected during the Second World War and restored in 1968 to their breathtaking beauty you see today. As part of this restoration work, canals, grottos, pools and Irish yews became a prominent feature to further emulate the Mughal Paradise Gardens. As you meander along the garden paths, you’ll also discover a beautiful conservatory and water garden that plays home to many rare plants.

Visitors can show up on the day to explore the gardens but for further details, check out Sezincote's website.

Trench Hill, Sheepscombe

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A garden grown on organic principles, Trench Hill is a beautiful, understated, three-acre flower and foliage wonderland, set in a small woodland with panoramic views of The Cotswolds countryside.

It has been lovingly developed from its origins as an open field by owners Cecil and Dave over 20 years, with no grand vision in place. Each area you explore, from the wildflower patches and rose gardens to the ponds and waterfall were added gradually over the years to create something truly wholesome and in balance with the wilderness of the surrounding area.

Part of the National Garden Scheme, Trench Hill is available to visit during open days or by arrangement with Cecil and Dave. There are open days coming up on the 29th August and 19th September and you can book your tickets over on the National Garden Scheme website.

East Court, Charlton Kings

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A garden with two distinct personalities, East Court is a real treat to explore. The upper garden that surrounds the 1806 house is traditionally styled with formal beds and lawns alongside three majestic purple beech trees that date back 200 years.

In contrast, the lower garden is four years old with no formal lawns. Its a gardener’s dream canvas and along the high, south-facing wall, owner Ben White has been experimenting successfully with less hardy plants, spiced up with a scattering of exotic flowers.

East Court is also part of the National Garden Scheme and access is only available through organised open days. The next ones are planned for the 29th and 30th August and you can pre-book your tickets online here.

Aston Pottery, Bampton

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Aston Pottery has developed some of the most innovative and spectacular gardens that can be seen anywhere in Britain today. These gardens haven’t been formed from great horticulture experts, instead they’ve arisen without the knowledge or concept of how a garden should look and feel and are therefore wholly unique.

All planting is done in response to the plants characteristics and the garden flowers from the middle of April through to September. Each plant has been carefully selected to maintain the vibrancy and longevity of the border throughout the year, meaning Aston Pottery is beautiful to visit all year-round.

Flowers planted along the Hornbeam Walk aim to offer a new experience to frequent visitors every month. If bees and butterflies are your thing, visit between July and August for a chance to see the rare Black Bumble Bee: ‘Bombus ruderatus.’

For more information and to plan your visit, head over to the Aston Pottery website.

Overbury Court, Overbury

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A 10-acre historic garden, at the centre of a picturesque Cotswold village, Overbury Court gardens is made up of vast formal lawns skirted by a series of rills and ponds that reflect the ancient plain trees dotted throughout the garden.

A visual highlight is the column garden designed by James Alexander-Sinclair in 2005 with its show-stopping wisteria that hangs effortlessly elegant in June.

Also part of the National Garden Scheme, Overbury Court is available to visit by arrangement in advance, otherwise you can stop by the open day on the 28th August for a glimpse into these grand gardens. Find out more here.

Broughton Grange Gardens

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Broughton Grange is set in over 400 acres of parkland, overlooking the beautiful Oxfordshire valley. Its history dates back to 1620 initially as a small farm cottage before it was developed into an estate in its own right. Over the last 25 years Broughton Grange and its gardens have been substantially transformed and are now recognised as one of the most significant private contemporary gardens in Britain.

The centrepiece is an extraordinary three-terraced walled garden, created by Chelsea gold medal-winning designer Tom Stuart-Smith and there are many other areas to see including a stumpery, woodland garden, knot garden, wildflower meadows, water meadow, parterre and rose garden, long borders and a large arboretum full of interesting trees.

Until the end of September, Broughton Grange Gardens are open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, find out more over on their website.

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