Chelsea and the
EnglishGardens of the
A Pacific Horticulture Society tour
May 14-24, 2018

Escorted by Linda McKendry

This tour is sold out, to join our waiting list please click HERE

Join Pacific Horticulture and discover the extraordinary gardens of England’s bohemians, the artistic
set of writers, philosophers, intellectuals, and artists in the early 20th century. Explore the masterful
gardens at Sissinghurst Castle created by Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicolson, and
Charleston’s walled garden.  Visit Nymans, Virginia Wolfe’s home and garden, and Great Dixter,
designed by Sir Christopher Lloyd.  Enjoy a special lunch and garden tour at Gravetye Manor and
walking tour of London's Bloomsbury with high tea. Visit the Chelsea Flower Show on “members only”
day. Escorted by PHS board member, Linda McKendry.

May 14, Monday    Depart the USA

May 15, Tuesday
  London Heathrow-Royal Tunbridge Wells                                                
Arrival London Heathrow Airport. A group transfer will be provided for guests on flights arriving by 3:
30pm. Our accommodations are at the Spa Hotel situated in 14 acres of picturesque grounds on the
edge of Royal Tunbridge Wells.   The Spa is a family run hotel offering a restaurant, bar and
Brasserie with swimming pool, spa, and free WiFi. Join Linda, your guide Jane, and traveling
companions for a welcome dinner at the hotel this evening.  

May 16, Wednesday    East and West Sussex                                                             
This morning we will visit Nymans, formerly a country retreat for the creative Messel family, with views
stretching out across the Sussex Weald. We will explore this beautiful place, discovering hidden
corners, walking along tree-lined avenues while surrounded by lush green countryside. From vibrantly
colourful summer borders, to the tranquillity of ancient woodland, Nymans is a place of
experimentation with constantly evolving planting designs and a rare and unusual plant collection.
The comfortable yet elegant house, a partial ruin, reflects the personalities and stories of the talented
Messel family, from the Countess of Rosse to Oliver Messel and photographer Lord Snowdon.      
Next we'll stroll through Sheffield Park, a landscape garden,
bordered by historic parkland and woodland. It is a
horticultural work of art formed through centuries of
landscape design, with influences of 'Capability' Brown and
Humphry Repton. Four lakes form the heart of the garden,
with paths circulating through the glades and wooded
areas surrounding them There are falls, a Palm Walk and
many different tree and shrub species from around the
world. The River Ouse runs across the parkland and the
meadows have been transformed into a wildlife haven.

Lunch will be at Gravetye Manor, a quintessential English Country Manor, surrounded by gardens
with a Michelin starred restaurant. After our "farm-to-table" luncheon we will have a private tour of the
gardens.  We return to Tunbridge Wells with the late afternoon and evening at leisure.  
Breakfast, Lunch

May 17, Thursday    East Sussex                                                                                  
Ater breakfast we depart for a private visit to Charleston House,
favored by the Bloomsbury Group. In 1916, on Virginia Woolf’s
recommendation, the painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant,
his friend David Garnett, and Vanessa's sons, Julian and
Quentin, moved to Charleston, an ordinary farmhouse in East
Sussex. Dating from the late sixteenth century and altered in
the nineteenth century, it was to be occupied by the family and
their friends for the next sixty-four years. Today the house
appears as it was in the 1950s, representing a way of life in which
lovely surroundings and harmonious objects and paintings were
of more importance than creature comforts. Charleston has
become, as Quentin Bell wrote, "a kind of time capsule in which
the public can examine a world which has vanished". We'll have
a special tour of the gardens with Sue Snell, author of The Garden at Charleston. The 1950s saw the
full flowering of the garden under Vanessa Bell’s direction. Quentin said "the garden flourished, as
though the exuberant decoration of the interior had spilled through the doors”.  After lunch we will visit
Monk's House, Leonard and Virginia Woolf's 17th-century country retreat and Farley Farm, formerly
the residence of the photographer Lee Miller and the Surrealist artist Roland Penrose. Here they built
a collection of contemporary art treasures. Many of these were made by their friends and visitors,
including Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Max Ernst and Joan Miró.The house is surrounded by a sculpture
garden and Lee Miller’s vegetable patches. Later we will drive through charming Rodnell Village.
Virginia Woolf loved the peaceful village with its thatched roofs and riverbank.   
Breakfast, Lunch

May 18, Friday    Kent                                                                                           
Today we visit Sissinghurst, a magnificent garden with profuse bloom. Historic, poetic, iconic; a refuge
dedicated to beauty. Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson fell in love with Sissinghurst Castle and
created a world -renowned garden. Vita, the poet and writer, began transforming Sissinghurst Castle
in the 1930s with her diplomat and author husband, Harold Nicolson. Harold's architectural planning of
the garden rooms, and the colourful, abundant planting in the gardens by Vita, reflect the romance
and intimacy of her poems and writings.     
Our next stop is Scotney Castle where we will enjoy a picnic lunch in the woodland before we explore
the Victorian Country house, romantic garden, and 14th century moated castle - all in a beautiful
wooded estate of 770 acres.  We return to the Spa Hotel with the evening at leisure.
Breakfast, Lunch                                                                                

May 19, Saturday    East Sussex- Kent                                                            
Today we have a private opening at Great Dixter, an outstanding garden and the family home of
gardener and gardening writer Christopher Lloyd – it was the focus of his energy and enthusiasm and
the subject of over 40 years of books and articles. Now under the stewardship of Fergus Garrett,
Great Dixter is an historic house, a garden, a center of education, and a place that attracts
horticulturists from all over the world. If Fergus is at home when we visit, he will lead our tour. We will
also explore the house which was started in the 15th-century.  The afternoon is free to sample the
great shopping in Tunbridge Wells or to relax and enjoy the ammenities the Spa has to offer.  

May 20, Sunday    Kent- Surrey- London                                                                               
We depart Tunbridge Wells for the Royal Horticultural Scoiety
test gardens at Wisley. One of the great gardens of the world,
Wisley,  is home to some of the largest plant collections any-
where on the globe. We'll find everything from grand borders
to a wonderful woodland and beautiful wild garden. The garden
was created to inspire and educate. We will have free time for
lunch and a visit to the amazing gift shop which houses a large
collection of gardening books and related gift items.

Upon arrival London, we will check in to our hotel, the Edwardian Kenilworth, located in the heart of
Bloomsbury, ideally positioned in London’s famous West End. It is situated one block from the British
Museum, walking distance to Covent Gardens and Oxford Street. The hotel has a restaurant, bar,
fitness center and free internet. Full English breakfast is included.  Later today or tomorrow we'll have
a tour of a public garden at the Barbican created by Nigel Dunnett. Nigel is a Gold Medal winner at the
Chelsea Flower Show and Professor of Planting Design, Urban Horticulture and Vegetation
Technology at Sheffield University. He has pioneered the use of innovative approaches to landscape
planting, and the multi-functional use of vegetation in the built environment. Dinner is included at the
hotel this evening.  
Breakfast, Dinner

May 21, Monday    London                                                                                 
This morning we will have a guided walking tour of Bloomsbury,
an enclave of attractive garden squares and Georgian brick
buildings long favored by avant-garde artists, writers and
intellectuals. The Bloomsbury Group began meeting at a
house in Bloomsbury and soon gained a reputation for their
Bohemian lifestyle. Virginia Woolf, EM Forster, Vita Sackville-
West and JM Keynes visited. As we discovered in Sussex,
Charleston became an outpost for the group when Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell moved there in
1916. After the walking tour, our lunch today will be a champane high tea at the lovely Charlotte
Street Hotel. We have reserved the Vanessa Bell room!  
Breakfast, Tea

May 22, Tuesday    London                                                                             
Today as members of the Royal Horticultural Society we
will attend the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show on
"Members only Day". The grounds of the Royal Hospital
Chelsea will be transformed with stunning horticultural
displays.  World-renowned garden designers, plant
specialists, florists and nurseries come together every
year to one of London's most charming and affluent

May 23, Wednesday  London-Hertfordshire                                                                                      
This morning we travel to Hertforshire to visit Serge Hill, Tom Stuart-Smith' garden. Tom is a
landscape architect and garden designer and winner of 8 Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show.
He specializes in gardens that combine naturalism and modernity. Four generations of his family have
lived at Serge Hill. In 1986 Tom renovated a
dilapidated barn and field which he turned into
his new home and garden. Next, we visit Tom's
sister at The Barn. Her garden has two   
contrasting areas with a wide range of
herbaceous perennials and shrubs tolerant of
generally dry conditions. There is an area of
naturalistic planting, wild flower meadows and
exotic meadow. We will have lunch at the Barn before returning to London mid afternoon. Our tour
concludes with a farewell dinner.  
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

May 24, Thursday   Independent departures or additional nights in London  Breakfast

Based on a minimum of 16 guests: $3985 per person for members of Pacific Horticulture Society. We
suggest non-members join before registering for the tour. Single supplement  $828

•         9 night’s accommodation, all rooms with private bathrooms
•         All hotel taxes and service charges
•         Breakfast daily/ lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
•         Deluxe transportation by private motor coach
•         Arrival airport transfer (If arriving by 3:30pm)
•         Special horticulture guide, Jane Brand
•         Membership in the Royal Horticultural Society (for those who sign up by Nov. 2017)
•         All sightseeing and entrances as per the itinerary
•         Escorted by Linda McKendry
•         Tax-deductible donation of $350 to Pacific Horticulture Society

•         Airfare
•         Tips to your guide and driver
•         Travel insurance
•         Transfer back to the airport

This tour is sold out, to join our waiting list please click HERE

To view or print the Terms & Conditions and Booking Form, please click HERE

To view or print the itinerary, please click HERE

For further information, please contact:
Sterling Tours, Ltd            
2907 Shelter Island Drive Suite #105-262    
San Diego, CA 92106      Tel: 619 299-3010 ext 10     800-976-9497
sterling tours, ltd