Every year the National Garden Scheme organise open garden events throughout England and Wales to raise money for various nursing charities. Recipients of this fabulous event include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, The Queen’s Nursing Institute and other similar charities. Last year in 2017, the NGS raised £175,000 just in Yorkshire alone. How amazing is that ? !
The National Garden Scheme help garden owners open their gardens to the public, sharing their passion for gardening. Delicious refreshments are often served and this all helps raise money for charity. What better way is there to spend a weekend, than appreciating someone’s beautiful garden while drinking tea washed down with a piece of homemade cake. This is what the British do best !
The National Garden Scheme was founded in 1927 and in its first year 609 gardens raised over £8000. This was a considerable amount of money in those days ! The Scheme has carried on since then and in 2017 in its 90th anniversary year 3 million pounds nationally was raised. This was then donated to the various charities associated with the scheme.
The gardens in the scheme range from small suburban gardens to large country house gardens. Each owner of the gardens works hard to ensure their own garden looks its best in preparation for visitors. There are around 3700 gardens opening in England and Wales in 2018. For the purpose of this blog I will concentrate on Yorkshire gardens. However if you are reading this in another part of the UK, please look at the NGS website for gardens to visit in your area at https://www.ngs.org.uk/
Every year my husband and I try visit as many gardens as we can in the National Garden Scheme. We always have a fabulous time pottering round different gardens, appreciating the hard work that goes into each one. Many of the gardens serve refreshments, and we have enjoyed many fabulous afternoon teas relaxing in someones else’s garden. This is wonderful when it is warm and sunny, although it is still enjoyable even in less favourable weather. This is the UK after all, so we are used to the changeable weather !
Many gardens are also dog friendly and our dog George enjoys our garden visits as much as we do. Dogs have to be kept on leads obviously, but we find gardens owners even provide water bowls for them which is so thoughtful.
There is usually a small admission charge to enter the garden, as obviously this is the way that the money is raised for the charities. But I promise you, it is well worth it. Every garden we have visited, whether it be a small rockery garden or a large landscaped garden has been such an enjoyable visit. We look forward to visiting new gardens every year.
Each area within the UK produces a booklet that details all the gardens involved. This will also give you further information about admission charges, refreshments and whether a garden is dog friendly. I picked up my booklet at my local garden centre in Knaresborough, but they are distributed in various public places. You can also access this information on the National Garden Scheme website if you have difficulty locating a booklet.
So onto the first garden we visited this year as part of this scheme. Just two weeks ago we visited Goldsborough Hall just outside Knaresborough, which is just ten minutes drive from my home. So not too far to travel ! We love to visit Goldsborough Hall as we find it so peaceful walking through the beautiful woodland and the stunning gardens. AND the lunches and cream teas are AMAZING ! Best of all, our dog George is made welcome and the three of us always have an enjoyable time at this wonderful venue.
Goldsborough Hall is a stunning 17th century house with a 12 acre garden and formal landscaped grounds in a parkland setting. The house was the former residence of the late HRH Princess Mary, daughter of George V and Queen Mary and so has strong historical links with the British monarchy. I love the quarter mile Lime Tree Walk, where the trees have been planted by various members of the British Royal family since 1922. The gardens at Goldsborough were first shared with the public on July 4th 1928 when Princess Mary opened them for the National Garden Scheme. Goldsborough Hall is now a stunning luxury hotel AA 5 stars and is a popular wedding venue. You can also just book in for dinner or afternoon tea during which time you can view and experience the wonderful gardens.
The gardens at Goldsborough Hall are not generally open to the public, which is why it is so exciting to enjoy the gardens as part of the National Garden Scheme. And the good news is, that Goldsborough actually open the gardens to the public twice a year for the Scheme. We visited in April but there is another date this summer where you can visit this beautiful place. If you missed the April date then why not visit on Sunday July 22nd when the gardens will be open once more. Opening times are from 12pm – 5pm. Admission is £5 and children are free.
Did I mention that you can also enjoy fabulous light lunches and cream teas at Goldsborough Hall during the National Garden Scheme opening times ? We even managed to sit out on the lovely terrace this April for our lunch which was a delicious crayfish sandwich, a jam and cream scone and tea. We love to finish our visit with a walk through the Woodland area taking in the beautiful countryside views. There are usually plant stalls at the event with a fabulous variety of stunning plants for sale.
There is just something so relaxing about pottering around beautiful gardens, admiring the work that the home owners put into creating such stunning environments. If you haven’t experienced the National Garden Scheme before, then why not check it out and try it one weekend. I guarantee you will love it and you will find yourself planning your next visit to the next garden.
Don’t forget Goldsborough Hall next opens its gardens for the National Garden Scheme on Sunday July 22nd 2018 from 12 noon till 5pm. We will be visiting again with George our dog, so if you see us please say Hi !
Until next time dear friends