England is perhaps one of the biggest garden-loving countries in the world, with more gardens to visit by the public than anywhere else. Public gardens offer a welcome tranquil escape for those looking for a well-needed break. In some of the UK’s biggest cities, public gardens are becoming increasingly well-known, particularly in bustling urban surroundings.
Things to Do in Manchester
Manchester, in the northwest of the UK, is home to a wide range of stately homes, protected landscapes and public gardens for locals and visitors to enjoy. Whether you want to time-travel back to the Tudor era, discover a secret walled garden or just relax on a large lawn in the center of a busy town, there’s a garden to suit everyone’s tastes when you visit Manchester.
Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens, Didsbury
What was once the home of a local botanist, Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens was donated to the city of Manchester in 1915 by a local alderman, Fletcher Moss. Originally known as the Croft, the home was the location of the first meeting of the charity RSPB, so the focus on the local wild and nature life has been huge throughout the property’s history.
This 21-acre park is renowned for its botanical beauty and the sloping gardens contain many unusual plants and flowers, many of which are rarely seen anymore. Since its handover to Fletcher Moss, the park and gardens have retained many of the original features set out by Robert Williamson, the park’s original owner, such as the rock and heather gardens.
The park forms a tranquil haven for local visitors and provides a paved floral gateway into areas of the surrounding town, Didsbury, which has become a huge attraction for those looking to escape the city life of nearby Manchester. The park has a house and cafe which is open most days of the week, but take a short walk through the park and you will find some of the best places to eat in Manchester just a stone’s throw away.
Lyme Park, Disley
Used as the backdrop for the tv adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Lyme Park has over 1,400 acres of green land to explore. Nestled in the heart of the 18th-century house lies the Edwardian Rose Garden, complete with an orangery, bedding displays and a magnificent lake.
For a tranquil walk, a stroll around the garden lake will transport you from one corner of the gardens to the other where you can admire the beautiful immaculate rose beds and preened lawns. There is a huge variety of bedded plants, as well as ivies and trees, that make up the 19-century gardens. The orangerie is home to water features and greenery and provides the chance to enjoy some plants and flowers that you may not have seen before.
As well as the walled house gardens, you can also explore the park’s natural woodlands to take a look at the wildflowers which grow across the land. A medieval herd of fallow and red deer call Lyme Park home, so there is plenty of wildlife to admire during your visit, too.
If, after your walk across the grounds, you’re in need of some refreshment, be sure to visit the on-site cafe and plant shops. You can pick up a great scone and pot of tea, as well as packs of seeds and potted plants from one of the various stores which you can plant in your own gardens at home.
The Hive Gardens, Moss Bank Park, Bolton
A popular park with the locals of Manchester, in the hubbub of Moss Bank Park lies The Hive Garden, a series of unique outdoor and garden spaces. Accessible by footpaths winding through the area, the park includes a terraced section and sensory garden, as well as a wildlife-friendly garden and community food growing space.
The show gardens are designed primarily as a public attraction, enticing visitors from all over the North West, however one of the biggest draws of The Hive is the wildlife-friendly gardens and community growing space. The Hive is designed with wildlife in mind, and the growing beds are full of pollinator-friendly plants, whilst the show gardens and polytunnels are all linked together by meadows, nettle and thistle beds and fruit trees. The gardens have their own resident beehives, meaning that bees can explore and flourish within the area.
Produce grown in community gardens is used in the cafe, which is harvested and distributed by a team of volunteers. Any leftovers are shared among the volunteers and offered to local schools for food-tasting workshops and the public at regular events.
Featured image – Lyme Park Home and Lake / Lyme Park
Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer who lives in Manchester, England.