Better weather in spring and summer heralds the return of colourful, blooming gardens to the UK, especially in the South West. The Isle of Wight’s southerly position affords it some of the best conditions for growing wonderful forests and estates.
Part of the Isle of Wight scenery is lush rolling hills and blooming gardens. You can easily spend most of your holiday outside in the fresh air. Many of the gardens on the Isle of Wight are attached to stately homes, an integral part of the island’s heritage and history. There have been influences from the Romans right through to Queen Victoria on some of these fun places to visit.
The Isle of Wight gardens trust are a great charity to speak to if you’re looking for ways to make your holiday extra special. They run garden visits, talks, study days, workshops and special tours to public and private gardens on the island. All events would inspire garden lovers to get growing as soon as you get home.
Before you get started, browse through our collection of Isle of Wight cottages.
The house was built by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as their summer home - seems extravagant even for Royalty, but they did spend quite a lot of time there. The Italian architecture was inspired by the view from the plot, which was claimed to resemble the bay of Naples. With a private beach, walled garden, acres of land and a Swiss cottage on the grounds, there’s plenty to see and do before you even enter the house itself. The walled garden is a great example of a beautifully curated garden, a green haven in early spring that then bursts into colourful blooms of all shapes and sizes.
The Princess Beatrice garden has recently been created in the grounds of Carisbrooke castle. It’s a sensory garden that reaches its peak in late summer with florals and grasses to fill your nostrils with fresh scents. Of course, you’ve also got the whole of the castle to explore if the heavens decide to open during your visit.
With themes from Japan to France, each section of this garden transports you to a new part of the world. Wander along the paths through the carefully curated beds and avenues for a day out in the fresh air. Ventnor Botanic Garden used to be a Victorian lung hospital because of the cleanliness of air so it’s perfect for clearing your head on a peaceful, sunny afternoon.
The vast grounds at Appeldurcombe welcome dogs and there’s plenty of room for them to have a good run while you follow close behind. The house is a ruined leftover from more prosperous times but sections of it are open to the public where you can see mosaics and reliefs on the floors and walls. The grounds surrounding the house continue to grow and flower year in, year out but have more of a wildflower meadow vibe than formal gardens.
Mottistone Manor Gardens
The gardens are tended to by the National Trust, open to visitors daily. The manor has a limited opening period so well worth a look around if you happen to be visiting at the same time as a tour. The garden has a huge range of plants and styles to fill your lungs with fresh spring scents as you walk on the estate and beyond – there are a number of walks that lead you out into the Isle of Wight countryside.
One of the main places to spot red squirrels, a native to the Isle of Wight, Parkhurst Forest has plenty of paths through the trees for walks. The miles of space and wild landscape are great for introducing little ones to the wonders of the Great Outdoors. Tread carefully and you may spot a red squirrel or two at the tops of the trees whilst practicing your Shinrin-Yoku.
On top of these options, look out for the Open Gardens Isle of Wight event. Open Gardens encourages private gardens to open up their spaces for a limited amount of time in the year, it’s all about sharing the beauty that people take the time to carefully curate and grow all year round.