A Subtropical Adventure in the UK
Ready for an island experience or exotic garden adventure but lacking the funds to go further afield? Fear not! visitengland.com’s Katie Rowe picks England’s best subtropical spots in the UK. All accessible by train or ferry…
Take a stroll through the oasis that is the 18th century Harewood House, just a few miles from Leeds city centre. The gardens within the Capability Brown-designed grounds are home to birds from around the world. You’ll see Chilean flamingos, snowy owls and penguins. Once you’ve had a closer look during their daily feed, spend some time in the Himalayan Garden, which blooms with orchids, cobra lilies and blue poppies.
Set in its own microclimate, the award-winning Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens flourish with rare and exotic greenery, including eucalyptus and banana plants. Bring your dog along on a lead for a stroll along palm tree-lined pathways before admiring blissful views of the Jurassic Coast from the Gardens’ Magnolia Walk.
Isle of Wight
The South Coast oasis is one of the finest and most accessible spots for an escape from the mainland, with catamarans capable of whizzing you across the Solent in just 22 minutes. About half of the island is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the southern tip, where you will find Ventnor Botanic Gardens. Here you can stumble upon eucalyptus and tea trees in the Australian Garden, spot wall lizards in the Mediterranean Terrance, and meander through a mini South American Jungle.
Isles of Scilly
With clear, warm waters, palm trees and golden sands, the Isles of Scilly – an archipelago of more than 100 islands located just 30 miles from Cornwall – are England’s answer to a tropical paradise. Hedgerows and fields blaze with pink proteas come May, but the island’s flower power is most obvious at Tresco Abbey Gardens, where you’ll discover giant bright-red flame trees, burnt-orange birds of paradise flowers and hot-pink drifts of pelargonium.
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Georgian House Cushion Cover