Roadtrip: Castles & Palace Grounds

From steamy greenhouses to twisting mazes take a roadtrip around some of the UK's most distinctive palace and castle gardens

By Google Arts & Culture

1. Floors Castle - Roxburgshire

Built in the 18th Century, Floors is the largest inhabited castle in Scotland and family home of the 11th Duke of Roxburghe.

The gardens are incredibly diverse, from the iconic Millenium garden to the star plantation of lime trees - definitely one to visit!

The Millenium Garden at Floors Castle in Scotland by Floors CastleHistoric Houses

A Millenium Legacy

This majestic formal garden combines calligraphy and gardening with its French-style parterre. It was created to commemorate the new millennium and features the intertwining initials of the 10th Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe.

At the top of the design are the Roman numerals MM in box hedging to signify the year 2000 and flank the ducal coronet. 


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2. Hampton Court Palace - Surrey

Hampton Court Palace was one of King Henry VIII's favourite palaces with beautiful gardens laid out in the 17th Century style. A new garden in the style of Henry VIII's Privy Gardens with flowers and herbs from the 16th century, has been created to celebrate the anniversary of that King's accession to the throne.  

View of maze and Wilderness (2015) by Aerial VueHistoric Royal Palaces

A Celebrity Garden

Hampton Court hosts some of the most iconic features of an English garden including the Hampton Court Maze which you can try to solve, or the world's oldest grape vine, which is an incredible 250+ years old!


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3. Hillsborough Castle -

Hillsborough Castle is the Royal residence in Northern Ireland with beautiful gardens that have sustainable practices at their core.

The gardens have undergone a recent restoration project but are blooming and ready for you to explore.

Lady Alice's Temple, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2018) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

Hidden Secrets

The Hillsborough grounds and gardens contain many hidden features like the Lady Alice temple, a statue of poet Ossian, a shady glen and a formal parterre as well as a vast lake inhabited by swans.


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4. Kenilworth Castle - Warwickshire

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, hoped to marry Queen Elizabeth I and created a garden for her at Kenilworth. Unfortunately this garden was lost for many years, but thanks to a letter of a contemporary witness, Robert Langham, has been restored for vistors to enjoy.

The formal gardens at Kenilworth CastleOriginal Source: KENILWORTH CASTLE, ENGLISH HERITAGE

An Elizabethan Paradise

No luxury was spared on this beautiful garden, which featured:

An aviary that contained birds from Europe and possibly even Africa, and  they were ‘delightsome in change of tunes, and harmony to the ear.’ 

A mighty fountain where the water erupts from the sphere held aloft by two ‘Athlants’ (Atlas-like figures), that discharges continual jets of water. 

Obelisks that may have been made from porphyry, a rare purple marble from Egypt, however they were more likely to have been made of painted timber, as now recreated.


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5. Picton Castle - Pembrokeshire

This iconic castle in West Wales is home for over forty acres of grounds and formal gardens to be explored and enjoyed.

The grounds and gardens of PictonPicton Castle & Gardens

A Welsh Paradise

Picton has an important collection of conifers, roses and Rhododendrons, some of which are unique to Picton!

You can explore the Walled Garden built around 1840 which have heating flues along their entire length to help plants flourish.


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