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Rose by Suzanne Parker
Photo by Suzanne Parker.
Sissinghust Castle Garden

Sissinghurst Castle Garden. Photo by Paul Coopersmith.

Dear Garden Enthusiast,

Welcome to COOPERSMITH'S, North America’s oldest and most trusted garden tour company. As we begin our 33rd year in the international garden tour business, I am pleased to report that we have put together a five-star collection of gardens and stately homes for 2017 that may be our best, ever.

In late May, and then again in mid-June, we’ll be returning to England’s most romantic area, on Springtime in the Lake District. Not only is this region one of the loveliest in the British Isles, and the landscape evocative of so much art and literature, but the gardens and houses here are among the most memorable in all of England. In addition to a number of unique private estates that seldom open to the public, we’ll be going to William Wordsworth’s Rydal Mount, where the gardens have been maintained just as he designed them in the early-to-mid-1800’s; Hill Top House, where Beatrix Potter lived, wrote, and gardened; and Levens Hall, a handsome Elizabethan manor with the world’s largest and most spectacular topiary garden.

Dovetailing with the Lake District is Springtime in Cornwall. Like both Lake tours, Cornwall is an Unpack-Only-Once trip, based entirely at one delightful country house hotel. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, gardens in Cornwall can accommodate a greater botanic diversity than anywhere else in the UK. World-famous Tresco Abbey Gardens in the Scilly Isles, with plants from over 80 countries, is home to more than 6,000 different species, many of them subtropical. Other notable gardens and manors include Caerhays Castle, designed by the legendary Regency architect John Nash, and featuring an exceptional array of camellias, rhododendrons, and azaleas; the Lost Gardens of Heligan, a secret garden that seemed to vanish for decades before being rediscovered and resurrected in the 1990’s; and the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden, showcasing the life’s work of one of Britain’s most ground-breaking 20th-century artists.

Not long after the summer solstice we’ll visit two of England’s most northerly counties, on Northumberland & North Yorkshire. In addition to several noteworthy private gardens, we’ll take in Alnwick Castle, the extravagant setting for the final episode of Downton Abbey and site of Europe’s most ambitious new garden since the Second World War. We’ll also tour Newby Hall, boasting 25 acres of award-winning gardens--including the heavenly double herbaceous borders—and Castle Howard, the palatial manor of Brideshead Revisited fame, with its classical temples, magnificent Great Hall, and abundance of old-fashioned and species roses.

On Wessex & the Isle of Wight, our best-selling tour the past two years, highlights include stately Bolehyde Manor, erstwhile residence of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, where it is believed that Prince Charles proposed to Lady Diana (something about that place!); Kingston Lacy, an elegant country mansion with a treasure trove of Old Masters paintings and the largest Japanese garden in England; Mottisfont Abbey, home to over 300 varieties of old-fashioned roses; and Osborne House, designed by Prince Albert as a summer home for him and Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight. It was reputed to be Victoria’s favorite residence. East Lambrook Manor, formerly the home of the late, much heralded plantswoman and garden writer, Margery Fish, stands as a testament to Ms Fish’s informal style of gardening, where old-fashioned plants combine with contemporary ones to produce a garden of great charm and beauty.

Finally, on Bordeaux, Perigord & the Dordogne, we’ll be visiting a number of world-class chateaux, some with superb gardens, others renowned for their Grand Cru wines. Among them are Chateau de Roquetaillade, where we’ll enjoy a gourmet lunch with Le Comte de Baritault, whose family has lived there for over 700 years; Chateau de Vayres, an 11th-century castle on the banks of the Dordogne River that is home to a flower garden of medieval design; and Chateau des Milandes, a gorgeous Renaissance villa overlooking the Dordogne, that was once the home of Josephine Baker, the American-born French dancer, jazz and pop singer, and actress, who at one point was believed to be the wealthiest woman in the world. The Jardin de Marqueyssac, one of France’s official “Remarkable Gardens,” known for its extraordinary hand-pruned boxwood hedges and topiary, overlooks the Dordogne Valley, affording incomparable views of the Perigord region.

Come join us in 2017. And see for yourself what makes our tours truly One-of-a-Kind!

Happy travels,

Please note: As of late July, two of our six 2017 tours were already being wait-listed, while a third had only two rooms left. To avoid disappointment, I urge you to make your bookings as soon as possible.

Paul at Borough Market, London. Borough has become one of the largest and finest open-air food markets in all of Europe. Photo by Suzanne Parker.
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"My wife recently had the good fortune to meet and speak with [famous English horticulturalist] Penelope Hobhouse, who recommended your garden tour as one of the two best in Europe..."
Collier Espy, Jr., Dothan, Alabama

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Book by October 31st &
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On Wessex & Isle of Wight
June 20-30, 2017

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