Chirk Castle

This rugged border fortress stands impressively at the top of a hill with commanding views over the Ceiriog Valley and surrounding countryside, near Wrexham in North Wales. Chirk Castle was built over seven hundred years ago and its external appearance has changed little since then, apart from replacement of the medieval arrow slits in the walls with mullioned windows. Held by a series of prominent noblemen for over three hundred years, including the Earls of Arundel and Queen Elizabeth's favourite the Earl of Leicester, Chirk has been owned by the same family, the Myddeltons, since it was bought for £5,000 in 1595.The massive stone walls provide a backdrop to the magnificent gardens which are laid out on the gentle slopes below the castle.

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Powis Castle

Here in the Welsh Marches, the ancient battleground of the English and Welsh, Powis Castle was built as a fortress. Its thirteenth century battlemented outline of mellow red stone is a statement of its position as a military stronghold, and it was home to a dynasty of Welsh princes. The Castle crowns a rocky ridge, with far-reaching views across the Severn Valley towards England, as it has done for eight hundred years. Climbing up here today, the views from the seventeenth century terraces across the gardens to Long Mountain and the Breidden Hills are spectacular, and hold memories of the castle's long past.

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Hestercombe Gardens

A fascinating historical garden, situated on the southern slopes of the Quantock Hills, Hestercombe has been carefully restored to display its long history in a way which allows its visitors to appreciate the age and importance of its gardens. The garden is in two parts: the eighteenth century Landscape Park and the Formal Gardens, which are Victorian and Edwardian. Both are fascinating historically and immensely enjoyable, though contrasting experiences. It is worth taking a day out to spend here in order to enjoy both to their full extent.

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Hidden Valley Gardens

This intimate 3 acre award-winning cottage style garden and specialist plant nursery, lies nestled in a secluded hidden valley in Cornwall. It is a wonderfully peaceful place to sit and dream amongst the colourful borders and beds set with herbaceous perennials, shrubs and grasses, and collections of Crocosmia, Agapanthus and Dahlias.

 

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High Glanau Manor

The first thing that strikes a visitor arriving at High Glanau Manor are the truly spectacular views towards the distant Brecon Beacons. This comes as a breathtaking surprise − after ascending the hill to the house by a road enclosed with trees, the visitor enters through the red brick gate posts, and is greeted with the realisation that High Glanau is, as its name suggests, on a hilltop. The town of Monmouth and river Wye are only a short distance away down in the valley, but up here, on top of this hill, is another world.

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