What better place to spend a few hours this weekend than out in the garden? Better still, someone else's perfectly tended, gloriously blooming garden.
As the National Garden Scheme (opens in new tab) holds its annual Festival Weekend (opens in new tab) from 2-3 June, hundreds of beautiful gardens across England and Wales will be opening their gates. In return for a small entrance fee, donated to the NGS's various beneficiary nursing charities (opens in new tab), visitors get to enjoy the results of other keen gardeners' hard work – and have a cup of tea and a slice of cake!
Take time out this weekend to smell the roses, admire billowing herbaceous borders, walled gardens, manicured lawns, wildflower meadows and well-trimmed topiary; there is at least one garden open in every county of England and Wales, and many more open on other weekends throughout the year. Here are some of our favourite NGS gardens open this weekend.
Don't miss these gardens this NGS Festival Weekend
Nevill Holt Hall
Nevill Holt Hall, (opens in new tab) near Market Harborough, Leicestershire, is full of colour and texture at this time of year, with two walled gardens creating sheltered conditions for an array of classic border plants which spill onto the paths round the garden.
Whitcombe House, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
Whitcombe House (opens in new tab)near Tewkesbury, is the archetypal English country cottage garden, with pastel coloured borders, roses and shrubs.
Hunmaby Grange, Yorkshire
Hunmaby Grange (opens in new tab) is a three-acre garden near the Yorkshire coastline, and has been created over 35 years, from an exposed open field. Hedges and fences now provide shelter for a series of gardens full of seasonal highlights.
Barton Bendish Hall, Norfolk
Barton Bendsih Hall (opens in new tab) in Norfolk is a traditional country estate garden set within 10 acres, and features an orchard, kitchen garden, walled herb and cut-flower garden and impressive glasshouse full of scented pelargoniums.
Rockfield Park, Monmouth
Rockfield Park (opens in new tab) is in a glorious setting, in the heart of Monmouthshire, Gwent. The park dates back to the 17th century and features a rose garden, formal gardens, pergolas, ponds and a steep water garden leading down to the River Monnow.
Cruckfield House, Shropshire
Cruckfield House (opens in new tab) near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, is a three-acre garden that includes a large lily pond, a romantic rose and peony walk and an ornamental kitchen and courtyard garden. Other highlights include an extensive clematis collection, rockery and topiary.
For more details of NGS gardens open near you, look out for the NGS' famous yellow book (opens in new tab), or visit the NGS website (opens in new tab)