Gardens to Visit near Forest Glade

Our pick of the best gardens to visit in Devon and Somerset

This article was written on 27 August 2020
and is a 5 minute read

< Return to listing

The temperate climate of the south west makes for absolutely beautiful gardens. Visiting these local hidden gems is a wonderful way to spend a few relaxing hours. Most of the gardens below are now open, with certain obvious precautions in place. We’ve indicated where you need to make a prior booking.


Forde Abbey’s award-winning gardens provide a range of interest from the straight lines of the formal gardens to the winding paths that lead away from the house. Enjoy splendid views as you explore. Open lawns make Forde Abbey a great place for children to roam free and picnics are welcomed. Since the monks first tended the gardens 900 years ago, these gardens in Chard, Somerset, have evolved into the colourful family-run gardens you see today.

Forde Abbey Gardens

Forde Abbey Gardens – Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


Very popular and extensive gardens in the Torridge valley, with dozens of themed areas. There’s something of interest year-round and, being RHS gardens, there’s a focus on horticultural education. The cherry blossom in spring and the autumn colours are particularly charming.

Topiary at Rosemoor

Topiary at Rosemoor


This is less well-known, but a really special secret garden to discover. Set between Axminster and Honiton, this 13 acre garden has colour throughout the year. Their new Anniversary Garden has been added to celebrate their 50th year.

Hestercombe – OPEN Weds to Sun – BOOKING REQUIRED

A full day out, Hestercombe near Taunton invites you to “discover Somerset and lose yourself in fifty acres of lakes, temples, cascades, tranquil woodland walks, formal terraces, vivid colours and views that take your breath away…..” A really varied historic garden spanning three centuries of garden design.


Lillies at Hestercombe

Killerton – OPEN – BOOKING REQUIRED for main gardens and house, although wider parkland, accessed from Ellerhayes Bridge car park, is open without booking.

The National Trust’s Killerton House and Gardens near Exeter is currently promoting a Summer Walk. Stroll around the main garden and enjoy the spectacular colours and scents of their summer planting.  Explore the grassy paths to seek out the intriguing Bears Hut and Ice House.


A view across the park to the house at Killerton.


A National Trust property with formal terraces and woodland gardens, far reaching views towards Tiverton and an interesting walled kitchen garden.

Visitors in the garden in autumn at Knightshayes

Visitors in the garden in autumn at Knightshayes

Bicton – OPEN – BOOKING NOT REQUIRED (although preferred, with 10% online discount)

With more than 64 acres to explore, gardeners will be delighted by the many rare and beautiful species collected from around the world over the garden’s 300 year history. The famous Palm House is made from over 18,000 panes of glass and was build 20 years before the Key Gardens example. The park, near Budleigh Salterton, also has a range of family-focused attractions.

Bicton Palm House

Bicton Palm House

Connaught Gardens – OPEN – BOOKING NOT REQUIRED – free of charge.

Find Connaught Gardens at the bottom of Peak Hill in Sidmouth. Its sheltered location makes it the perfect garden for rare and tender plants. Enjoy fabulous views of the red-cliff fringed coastline and Sidmouth esplanade. You can enter the gardens either from the road, or via ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, Sidmouth’s iconic wooden staircase leading up to the gardens from the beach. It’s a municipal garden, free of charge to enter. On cooler days, find a bit of warmth in the cactus house!

View from Connaught Gardens

View of Sidmouth Esplanade from Connaught Gardens

Gardens Open for Charity

Kia-Ora Farm and Gardens – NOT OPEN THIS YEAR

An NGS garden, Kia-Ora hopes to be back up and running in 2021. Very close to Forest Glade are Kia-Ora Farm and Gardens in Cullompton, with 15 acres of extensively planted gardens and lakes in mid-Devon countryside. The gardens are open to the public in conjunction with The National Garden Scheme on a regular basis throughout the summer season, but please check opening times. They typically open alternate Sundays from Easter until mid September. Dates can be found on their website.

Many of the National Gardens Scheme’s gardens are now open. Try their website for some hidden gems All visitors have to pre-purchase tickets on their website for a timed slot at their garden of choice. All funds raised go to help support their Help Support Out Nurses Campaign.

Hospiscare Open Gardens – explore their website to find local gardens with entry by donation at the gate from 29 August to 24 October, 2020. All social distancing measures will be observed and one way systems may be in place, so that everyone can enjoy exploring these beautiful gardens safely.

We’d be delighted to hear about any gardens you’ve enjoyed during your holiday – just pop into reception and let us know, or email [email protected].