To celebrate Gardeners' World 50th anniversary join expert gardener and author Alan Titchmarsh as you tour the magnificent gardens of the Isle of Wight.
Friday 8 September 2017
We depart from our designated pick up points and head for Portsmouth where we will board a late morning ferry to Fishbourne. We arrive on the Isle of Wight and journey to Shanklin to visit the world famous gorge entered from Shanklin Old Village. Dropping 105ft from the top of the cliff to sea level, Shanklin Chine is a natural fissure in the cliff, formed by water cutting through sandstone to the sea. The chine walk leads through a deeply shaded path winding down beside waterfalls to the shore and along the way there are more than 150 varieties of wild plants and many species of moss to discover. Following this we will have some free time to wander through the Old Village with its picturesque thatched cottages, traditional craft shops, tea rooms and public gardens. Lunch is by own arrangement today.
We then travel to our hotel, the 4-star Royal Hotel in Ventnor, where dinner will be served in the evening.
Saturday 9 September 2017
This morning after breakfast we travel to the Ventnor Botanic Gardens a must for garden lovers with a head-turning collection of familiar favourites and rare plants. Set on a 22-acre site abutting the southern coast, the sub-tropical Undercliff area in which the Botanic Garden is located makes it an ideal environment for a collection of rare trees, plants and shrubs which are hard to grow elsewhere in the UK, including the sweet-smelling clerodendron. There is also a temperate house with a selection of exotic plants. The garden's newest draw is a lottery-funded visitor centre with facilities that include interactive exhibition areas. There are plants for sale here too.
We continue with a visit to The Garlic Farm at Newchurch, where we will be taken through the fields by tractor and trailer, with a member of staff telling us all about garlic growing on the way. We will then enjoy a light lunch (included), which will of course feature some of the farm’s own garlic in one form or another.
We conclude this afternoon with a visit to the privately-owned gardens at Nunwell House. The gardens were first documented by Sir John Oglander around 1640 when he recorded that the parlour garden had ‘all sorts of French flowers and tulips as well as a vine’. Over the centuries the gardens have developed - a walled garden was added in 1750, the front lawns enhanced in 1896 and the lower garden planted about 1930. After the Second World War the long shrub border was created on land used as a wartime home guard ammunition dump and the steps leading to the old tennis court were bordered with lavender. In 1998 Mrs Shaunagh Aylmer converted the inside of the walled garden to its present layout of lawns and herbaceous borders. The whole garden is in a very tranquil setting with lovely views across the Solent.
We return to our hotel where dinner will be served once again this evening.
Sunday 10 September 2017
Following breakfast this morning, we begin our day at the award-winning gardens at Morton Manor - it has won the “Isle of Wight In Bloom” competition several times in recent years and has been twice winner of “Southern England in Bloom”. Dating back to 1249, the manor boasts a huge collection of Japanese Acers and an Elizabethan sunken garden within a handsomely landscaped garden of mature specimen trees. White, red and rosé wines are produced in adjacent grounds and visitors can tour the vineyards as well tasting the wine in the manor's gift shop.
Lunch is included here today.
This afternoon we continue to the gardens of Mottistone Manor, near the quaint village of Brook. The gardens were laid out in the 1960s and 70s by Sir John and Lady Nicholson, who brought a Mediterranean influence to the styling. Its key attractions include colourful herbaceous borders, shrubs, flowering fruit trees, a rose garden and sea views.
We return to the hotel where we will enjoy our final dinner together this evening.
Monday 11 September 2017
This morning after breakfast, we check out of our hotel. Saving the best for last, we travel to East Cowes for a visit to Osborne House & Gardens. With views onto the Solent, this was Queen Victoria’s favourite home, which boasts the most impressive formal gardens on the island. These include a recently restored walled garden and an attractive tree-lined walk to the Swiss Cottage, built as a spectacular Wendy House for the Royal children. Here we will be joined by Alan Titchmarsh, who will accompany us as we enjoy a guided tour of the Gardens, conducted by the Head Gardener. After lunch in the Terrace Restaurant (included) Alan will give us a talk followed by a Question and Answer session.
In the afternoon we continue with a guided tour of the House. Here we will see the sumptuous state rooms, whose furnishings reflect the passions, taste and style of Victoria and Albert, and the family rooms, including the bedroom where Queen Victoria passed away on 22 January 1901. We continue back to Fishbourne to catch a late-afternoon ferry returning us to Portsmouth. We will return to our original pick-up points in the evening.
- Three nights’ dinner, bed and full breakfast at the 4-star Royal Hotel, Ventnor. All rooms have private facilities
- Three lunches
- Return ferry crossings between Portsmouth and Fishbourne
- Comfortable coaching throughout
- Guided tour of Osborne House & Gardens and visits to Shanklin Village & Gorge, Ventnor Botanic Gardens, The Garlic Farm, the gardens of Nunwell House, Morton Manor and Mottistone Manor
- Special appearance by Alan Titchmarsh at Osborne House, including talk and Q&A session
- Services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager
- Single room supplement £150.00
- Insurance £21.00 (under 65); £42.00 (65-74); £63.00 (75-90)
- Rail/air connections and/or overnight accommodation in London are available on request
London (Tothill St, Westminster) 0800 2030
Portsmouth (Wightlink Ferry Terminal) 1030 1800
Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.