Garden Travel: Past Trips & Tours - 2023

2023 Trips & Tours

Gardens of Scotland: From the Border to the Highlands
May 25 - June 9, 2023
This 13-night tour will included some areas of Scotland that HPSO had not visited since 2000.  The tour commenced in Glasgow and then traveled up the western side of Scotland (across many famous Lochs) up to the highlands.  While up near the top of the country, we saw the famous Inverewe Garden where blue meconopsis (Himalayan Blue Poppies) thrive in the cool maritime climate.  [Palm trees even grow way up here because of the influence of the Atlantic Gulf Stream.]  Included on our journey were visits to castles, famous battlefields and museums, and a distillery or two!  Of course, we also saw fabulous gardens all along the way!  We dropped in at Balmoral Castle, too, but we probably weren't able to see the King.  He doesn't arrive until later in the summer.  Our journey continued across to the eastern side of Scotland and down to Edinburgh where we had some free time to visit its famous castle and historical downtown area as well as wander down the Royal Mile.  On our way back to Glasgow, we dipped down into the "borders" region as some very good gardens are there. 
Inverary Castle, ScotlandMeconopsis sheldonii Piper in Scotland Cawdor Castle, Scotland


Northern England: The Borders, The Lake District, and Yorkshire gardens

June 10-23, 2023
Subsequent to the Scotland tour (above) was this 13-night tour of the gardens of southern Scotland and northern England.  The tour commenced in Glasgow, proceeded down the west coast to the English Lake District, then crossed east over the Yorkshire Dales to the city of York.  The tour then proceeded southwest and ended in Manchester.   Highlights included three days in the English Lake District, three days in Yorkshire, a visit to the RHS (Royal Horticulture Society) Harlow Carr garden, a cruise on Lake Windemere, and a day at the new RHS regional flagship garden, Bridgewater, near Manchester.   While in the English Lake District, we stayed in the quintessentially quaint English town of Langsdale and made excursions to Rydal Mount (the last home and garden of William Wordsworth).  With more than 30 gardens (from small ones to grand castle estates, from modern to traditional to historical), this was a tour for garden lovers!  
HPSO at Newby Hall in Yorkshire
 Peter Rabbit shop in Windemere, UK Old Town York at night Gresgarth Garden, UK



June 23-July 4, 2023
HPSO has had three previous tours of Wales (or tours that included parts of Wales).  This fourth tour, 11 nights, had many new features not previously included.  Our tour commenced after the conclusion of the northern England tour (above) in Manchester.  We then began our tour of Wales from top to bottom - from north to south.  We stayed several days in Llandudno, a seaside resort town on the north Welsh coast.  Nearby was the justly famous Bodnant Garden, a half day visit, plus Conwy Castle and the unique Portmerion.   Next, we traveled to the central part of Wales, visiting more fantastic gardens along the way, to stay in a lakeside mountain resort as our next home base for the next few days.  Nearby, we visited another famous garden, Powis Castle, followed by several visits to private gardens, and then enjoyed free time in Shrewsbury.  Our next home base was on the south Welsh coast.  En route, we stopped in Haymarket, made famous for its many quaint bookshops, and then crossed the Brecon Beacons to our resort hotel in Pembrokeshire.   There were many fine gardens on the southwest Welsh coast, and we saw the very best of those!  Our tour included an afternoon (and night) in Cardiff where we visited the highlights and museums.  Finally, we continued east along the Welsh southern border, crossed over into England and ended our tour in the wonderful city of Bath.  Naturally, we saw more fine gardens on our way - many that had not been included on past tours to this area.   
Bodnant Garden, Wales  Powis Castle, Wales Bookstore in Hay-on-Wye, Wales Bodnant Garden, Wales Queen Victoria Bodysgallen Hall, Wales Bryan's Ground Garden, Wales


Australia: Sydney & the Blue Mountains plus Melbourne & Victoria State
October 24 - November 10, 2023 
(Australia mainland tour)
Australia is a big country.  It can't be seen all on one tour.  [Plus, it would be essentially impossible to time the tour to see all parts of Australia at the best time from a gardening standpoint!]  So, this tour concentrated on two areas: Sydney and its adjacent Blue Mountains (in New South Wales State) plus Melbourne and its surrounding area (in Victoria State).

Our 18-day tour commenced in Sydney and ended in Melbourne.  [We flew between the two cities rather than rode a coach/bus.]  Our tour included must-see tourist sites (Sydney Opera House, a harbor cruise, Royal Botanic Garden, etc) as well as numerous public and private gardens only open to groups.   We had 7 nights in the Sydney/Blue Mtns area (Sydney, Leura, & Wollongong) and 10 nights in the Melbourne/Victoria State area (Melbourne, Ballarat, Flinders).   Among Australian gardeners, Victoria State (Melbourne) is known as "garden central" and had many fine gardens for us to see!   We also enjoyed visiting local wineries, a wildlife park (Koala bears, wallabies, etc.), and a chocolate walking tour of Melbourne! 

Attila Kapitani garden near Melbourne   Sydney Harbor Bridge 

The Three Sisters, Katoomba, NSW Australian native plant Royal Botanic Garden Cranbourne, Victoria State


November 10-20, 2023 
(following the Australia mainland tour)
The tour commenced in Melbourne and then flew to Tasmania's second largest city of Launceston (in the north part of the island) and ended in Hobart (on the southern coast).  

Tasmania is a land of contrasts, from lush mountainous rainforest on the west coast to gentle rolling hills and temperate climate on the north and south coasts, to dry central inland grassland, to an arid eastern rugged coast. Our tour included visits to the very best public and private gardens plus visits to local wineries, interesting geological sites, and even to a Seahorse hatchery/preserve/museum! We spent a day at Cradle Mountain, Tasmania's most famous national park, and visited a Tasmanian Devil wildlife sanctuary. We even had boat cruise on the Gordon River through lush Eucalyptus rainforest on the wild west coast. We visited gardens in fascinating places such as Eggs & Bacon Bay and saw the highlights of Hobart.

Tasmanian Devil   Cradle Mountain



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