Blithewold Travel Program: English Houses and Gardens

Learn more about the great trip we have planned.

May 24 through 31, 2020

Total of eight touring days: Four days based in London; Four days based in Bath

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Lecturer: John Tschirch, Architectural Historian, Honorary Member of the Garden Club of America

John Tschirch is an award-winning architectural historian and an honorary member of the Garden Club of America for his work on the research and interpretation of historic buildings and landscapes. His career in historic preservation has led him on treks across the globe to study historic sites from the chateaux of the Loire Valley and the villas and gardens of Lake Como and the country houses of Britain. He attended the prestigious Royal Collections Study Program at Windsor Castle and has lectured for Yale University’s Mellon Center in London. He has walked the English countryside, floated on barges down its canals and photographed its treasures giving him an intimate view onto the sites we will visit.

Day 1:

Buckingham Palace Garden: The grounds of the palace feature trees from across the United Kingdom.

Fulham Palace Gardens: The historic seat of the Bishops of London, the gardens have been subject to major restoration from 2004 to 2019. Among its treasures is Holm Oak believed to be 500 years old.
Kew, The royal botanical garden begun by George III and developed through the Victorian Age.

Day 2:

Chelsea Physic Garden: Established in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, this is one of the oldest physic gardens in Britain, and Europe, featuring over 5,000 different medicinal, herbal, edible and useful plants.

Hampton Court, A Tudor palace and Baroque court combined. Cardinal Wolsely’s palatial home on the river Thames, offered to King Henry VIII when the cardinal realized the monarch might want it for himself. The King’s Privy Garden of the 1680s has been restored, a tour-de-force of Baroque landscape planning.

Day 3:

Sissinghurst. During the 1930s, Vita-Sackville West and Harold Nicholson created this extraordinary garden in the remains of a Tudor manor house. With literary and classical references, the garden rooms evoke both ancient and Medieval gardens combining both formal and rural features.

Train from London to Sevenoaks….about a 45 minute journey each way. And a 5 minute taxi ride from the train station to Sissinghurst.

Day 4:

Day trip to Stonor Park, Oxfordshire. Seat of the Stonor family for 800 years, the house and landscape are a time capsule of English country life.
1 hour and 17 minute drive from London

Day 5:

Morning Ride to Bath, A UNESCO World Heritage City. The ancient Romans came to Bath, know to them as “Sarum” to take the healing waters. During the 18th century, the Wood family developed the classical plan of the city which integrated views of the country and garden squares into the urban design.
Free for Lunch
Afternoon Walking of Bath with John Tschirch

Day: 6

Stourhead, the picturesque 18th century garden with a superb collection of architectural follies.
24 miles from Bath…est 43-minute drive

Bowood House and Garden, the 18th-century landscape masterpiece by Capablity Brown.
1 hour and 38 minutes from Bath.

Day 7:

Wilton, the seat of the Earls of Pembroke. An Elizabethan house with Baroque additions and the first Palladian Bridge in England.
63 miles from Bath..est 1hour and a 30-minute drive from Bath
Stop in nearby Salisbury for lunch and to visit the Cathedral and the Cathedral green, known as the “Close,” immortalized in the landscape painting by John Constable.

Day: 8

Ilford Manor, A complex garden of layered history with an Elizabethan manor, a Georgian house and classical gardens laid out by Harold Peto between 1899 and 1930. Quintessentially English and romantic.
8 miles from Bath…est 23-minute drive

Blaise Hamlet, a village of picturesque cottages in 1811 by John Nash, the creator of Regent’s Park in London.
Est 1 hour and 38 minutes from Bath.



Smaller hotels in Belgravia:
The Lime Tree Hotel, 670 pounds for four nights
The Belgravia B & B, $200 to $250 per night


Francis Hotel. Queens Square, $160 per night in May 2020