The Original Garden Visitor's Guide

Introduction

Welcome to the 2018 edition of Great Gardens to Visit, which is once again packed full of information and images on stunning gardens for you to visit during the forthcoming year.

Before I tell you a little about some of the amazing gardens included within these pages, let me say a heart-felt thanks to the thousands of you who have used the 2017 edition of Great Gardens to Visit to plan and organise your garden visits throughout this past year. We are blessed in having a wonderful collection of world-class gardens within Britain, but it is a big and costly job to keep these gardens in tip-top condition and - as with all things these days - budgets are tight, so the more we can support them by continuing to visit, the better.

It is of course a two-way thing, the gardens benefit financially when we visit, use their catering facilities, shops and plant centres and as visitors, we benefit in a whole host of ways. It is now widely recognised that visiting gardens improves our health, both mentally and physically, gives us a sense of well-being and helps to lower our stress levels. Which, given the current uncertainty in the country, must be a good thing!

Now to the gardens included within this book; well I am delighted to report that once again we are featuring over 120 of the very best gardens for you to enjoy. These range from your tried and tested favourites, such as the RHS Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, National Botanic Garden of Wales and the National Arboretum at Westonbirt, through to some lesser- known absolute gems, such as the fascinating gardens of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon- Avon, the Italianate flamboyance and grandeur of Drummond Castle's landscape in Scotland and the magical Arts & Crafts-inspired garden created by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis at Plas Brondanw, his ancestral home in Snowdonia.

Whichever gardens you choose to visit in 2018, may I take this opportunity to wish you a very enjoyable year of garden visiting.

My very best wishes
Tony Russell
December 2017

Tony Russell 2018
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