The Best Botanical Gardens to Visit in the UK

22 February 2024

Step into Spring with Glorious Gardens near Macdonald Hotels

Celebrate the arrival of spring with a visit to one of Britain's best botanical gardens. See flowers budding, blossom bursting from the trees, and take in all the fresh air and sweet scents of the season as part of a luxurious stay at a nearby Macdonald Hotel.

There'll be camellias near Craxton Wood, snowdrops in Surrey, Birmingham in bloom - and the daffs will be out near Drumossie, too. So, if you're saying it with flowers, leave those crysanths in their cellophane wrap and enjoy all those budding spring blooms in a selection of stunning outdoor environments.

But which British botanical gardens will be best to visit this year?
Here's our pick of the bunch.

Ness Botanic Gardens, Cheshire

Part of the University of Liverpool, Ness Botanic Gardens casts itself across 64 acres with glorious views of North Wales and the River Dee. Boasting huge diversity in both plants and habitats, you can expect year-round colour and outstanding collections of rhododendrons, camellias, snowdrops and sorbus. If the weather stays mild, you may even be lucky enough to see the first of this year's azaleas, as well as the magnolia bursting into bloom.


Once you've taken in the sweet scent of spring, enjoy the Sunday Lunch of your dreams at nearby Macdonald Craxton Wood, which is just under 10 minutes' drive away.

Magnolia blossom

Brodie Castle Gardens, Moray

If you're daft about daffs, Brodie Castle has to be the very best place to see them in the UK. From 1899 to 1942, Major Ian Brodie, the 24th Laird of Brodie, cultivated tens of thousands of these exquisite flowers within the protective walls of the stunning Morayshire estate. As a result, each spring the grounds are painted yellow courtesy of 116 distinct varieties of daffodil.


Walk these fields of gold, tour the castle, then take a short drive to Macdonald Drumossie Hotel in nearby Inverness, where a delicious Afternoon Tea awaits.

Multiple varieties of daffodil on a grass bank

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens invites you to bask in the beauty of nature's reawakening. This historic garden hosts over 7000 plants, four Victorian glasshouses, as well as the National Bonsai Collection within the Japanese Garden. Expect to enjoy spring-flowering cherries such as Autumnalis Rosea, and to see the beautifully delicate pink blossom of Prunus hirtipes in full force too. 


Right in the heart of Birmingham's vibrant city centre, the elegant Macdonald Burlington Hotel is ready to welcome you for a splendid overnight spring stay.

Pink cherry blossom

RHS Wisley

The jewel in the crown of the Royal Horticultural Society, Wisley is renowned for its beauty and tranquillity - and its sheer size means that, whatever the season, there's always something putting on a great show. The snowdrops will be at their most spectacular, crocuses will certainly be out in force, and make sure you make a beeline for the Alpine House which always offers colour galore.


Our four-star country house spa hotel, Frimley Hall, is set within its own mature and beautifully-landscaped gardens, which are truly not to be missed.

A clump of snowdrops

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Hampshire

A world-renowned garden and arboretum, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens is celebrated for its rich botanical diversity, horticultural planning, and breathtaking landscapes, making it a popular destination for plant enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Forsythias will signal that spring is well on the way, plus Taiwanese dwarf camellias, cherry plum blossom and a cavalcade of crocuses will offer plenty of interest.


The spacious and comfortable 4-star Macdonald Botley Park is around 25 minutes' drive away. Our luxurious spa and superbly-equipped leisure facilities offer the perfect opportunity to relax after a busy day of exploring the outdoors.

A field of purple crocuses

Botanical Gardens at Victoria Park, Bath

To the west of Royal Victoria Park, the nine acres of Bath Botanical Gardens are a true springtime oasis. With a fine collection of conifers, shrubs and herbaceous borders, you can wander their winding walkways and discover bursts of colour from camellias as well as a beautiful tropical glasshouse. An aerial walkway also provides breathtaking views of the city.


From the walkway you may spot Macdonald Bath Spa, a five-star luxury retreat with fine dining and a world-class spa. It's the perfect place for those combining indoor and outdoor pursuits this March.

Pink camellias

Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum

Spring brings a sprinkle of magic to Oxford Botanic Garden, with snowdrops, aconites, hellebores, and crocuses galore. Their lovely glasshouses offer fragrant displays of citrus, hyacinth, bougainvillaea, and primula, while in the Lower Garden you'll see delicate daffodils nodding in the spring breeze. In the Walled Garden, you may even discover early scilla peeping through under the unmissable dawn redwood.


A former 13th century coaching inn, The Bear Hotel sits at the centre of the charismatic market town of Woodstock, a short drive north. Enjoy spectacular Afternoon Teas, superb dining, or just a warming drink in our cosy bar.

Bee on flower

Howick Hall Gardens & Arboretum, Northumberland

Open daily from mid-February, Howick Hall is renowned for its stunning array of spring bulbs, including their famous snowdrops. Originally planted between the first and second World Wars by Lady Grey, the garden's snowdrops begin to peep out in February and soon display across the garden in large drifts, full of spring promise. Additionally, the Silverwood woodland garden in Howick is a haven for nature enthusiasts, where you'll also see dark blue scillas appearing a little later into March.


Combine your garden visit with a slightly different kind of outdoor greenery, with a round of golf at nearby Macdonald Linden Hall. Our pub, The Linden Tree, is sure to satisfy the appetites of hungry horticulturalists too.

Drifts of snowdrops

Holehird Gardens, Windermere

Situated in a spectacular setting overlooking Windermere, Holehird Gardens is a rewarding visit at any time of year. This 10 acre fellside space, managed by the Lakeland Horticultural Society, is an award-winning RHS Partner Garden and includes a walled garden brimming with herbaceous borders, spring bulbs including tulips and martagon lilies, and the hellebores should still be putting on a dazzling display in March.


Combine your visit with a stay at Old England, one of our laps of luxury in the Lakes.

Dark pink hellebores

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders

A charming outpost of Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden, Dawyck has some truly green credentials - and we're not just talking about the plants, as this carbon-neutral botanical haven harnesses the brisk flow of a babbling stream for hydroelectric power. At this time of year, delicate snowdrops create an ethereal veil over the softly rolling slopes. Wander through a trail highlighting rare Scottish flora including the woolly willow, and discover plants from further afield including Chinese dawn redwoods, Serbian spruce, and Chilean plum yews.


Situated in nearby Scottish Borders countryside, there’s nothing but nature between our four-star Macdonald Cardrona Hotel and the world-famous River Tweed and Glentress Forest. It's the perfect spot for lovers of the great outdoors.

A drift of snowdrops