For anyone who loves the elegance of a classic English garden, Lincolnshire has some of the most historic and beautiful outdoor spaces to visit in the UK. Designed and tended by some of the most famous gardeners and landscape designers over the centuries, “Bomber County” has everything from walled gardens to wild meadows and stately homes.
Whether you are looking for quiet places to explore or a stroll in historic surroundings, the following gardens come especially highly recommended for the visitor. Here are five excellent choices for days out, including postcodes, opening hours and other visitor information:
1. Petwood Gardens (Woodhall Spa, LN10 6QG)
From the riot of colour afforded by a million spring Rhododendron flowers, to Victorian follies and secretive woodland paths, where else could we start than the grounds at Petwood House? All too few Lincolnshire visitors and locals realise just how many acres of accessible paths and gardens exist here, in the pretty village of Woodhall Spa. Perfect for short walks, while at selected times of year, we also run events including outdoor theatre.
Visitors are very welcome to look around too; although we should point out that the upkeep and access to the grounds depends entirely on the hotel itself. Do come in and enjoy a drink or something to eat. English Afternoon Tea on the terrace is an absolute delight on a sunny day. We are open all year round, however, and even on the coldest winter day you can come and enjoy AA-Rosette Awarded dining with elegant garden views, along with our unique Dam Busters history.
Perfect for: Afternoon tea, food, outdoor events
Facilities: Restaurant, bar.
Tickets/ price: Free
Website: Click here or more on the history of the gardens
Did you know? Legendary landscape designer Harold Peto worked on the gardens at Petwood. At one point there were sixteen full time gardeners in residence, catering for Lady Weigall and her illustrious guests, which included King George VI.
2. The Victorian Arboretum (Lincoln, LN5 7AY)
A nineteenth century marvel full of character, these beautifully restored gardens are a must visit for anyone visiting Lincoln City on a sunny afternoon. Complete with quaint little bridges, fountains and even a cute Victorian bandstand, this public space is a real treasure at any time of year, but especially with a backdrop of spring blossom or autumn leaves.
Perfect for: Families, picnics.
Facilities: Café, toilets, kids play area
Opening times: All year
Tickets/ price: Free
Did you know? Designed by legendary Victorian landscape gardener Edward Miller, this charming spot was Lincoln’s first public park. It contains no fewer than five grade 2 listed monuments.
3. Gunby Hall and Gardens
Stately splendour at Gunby (image: B Cantwell, Wikimedia commons)
Idyllically situated on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, Gunby is a historic site with a character all of its own. These days it is as well known for lively present events as much as the past, however, from family activities to open air theatre. The guided walks are an especially good way to get an intimate perspective on the site, while the collected art and rarities of the main house make fascinating viewing even on rainy days. All in all, it’s one of the best National Trust sites in Lincolnshire, not to mention a fine place to visit as part of a day out in the Wolds.
Perfect for: Gardeners, art & history lovers
Facilities: Café, toilets
Opening times: Mid February to late October, 11am- 5pm
Tickets/ price: £9.00 whole property, adult/ £6.50 gardens only (family and child concessions available)
Did you know? You can literally “smell the roses” here. Lots of them, because Gunby is well known for its many varieties of roses, apples and herbs. A certain botanist called Charles Darwin was no doubt impressed, and is among the list of famous past guests.
4. Doddington Hall Gardens (Near Lincoln, LN6 4RU)
Spring shoots at Doddington (Image: Doddington Hall FB)
Over four centuries of heritage and glorious gardens make this one of the most popular stately homes to visit in Lincolnshire. The walled -and wild- gardens are a unique place to take a walk, with rare plants and quirky features galore, including a turf maze, unicorn-shaped hedges and the so-called “Temple of the Winds”.
You can explore the grounds at most times of year, although April and May are especially vibrant for displays of incredible cultivated flowers. Of course, the house itself is also well worth a visit while you are here, not least of all for its amazing collection of art treasures and rare artefacts, including the remarkable Doddington Tapestries.
Perfect for: Family events, history fans, guided tours
Facilities: Café, farm shop, events venue
Opening times: 11th Feb to 30th sept
Tickets/ price: £11 (child and group discounts available)
Did you know? The atmospheric Elizabethan charm of the grounds at Doddington have made an ideal film and TV location on several occasions, including an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice.
5. Easton Walled Gardens & Estate (Grantham, NG33 5AP)
A delight right from snowdrop season through to autumn, these elegant gardens have a history of four and half centuries. Home to the Chomeley family, the site is of particular interest to gardeners, with literally hundreds of plant varieties across cultivated beds and wild meadows. Lovingly restored features, including bridges and decorative outbuildings, make this one of the most popular outdoor attractions to visit in Lincolnshire. A lot of fresh vegetables and herbs are also grown on site, making it a great place to go for lunch.
- Perfect for: Gardeners, workshops, gift shopping
- Facilities: Café, shop
- Opening times: 4th March to 28th October, 11am – 4pm daily
- Tickets/price: £7.50 adult /£3.50 child
- Website: https://www.visiteaston.co.uk
Did you know? It is a minor miracle, and testament to heroic efforts, that the Easton Estate exists at all today. The Cholmeley family lost six members in the Great War, while most of Easton Hall was demolished in WW2. The family have carried out remarkable restorations, however, and the site now flourishes once again.