England Garden Tour plus Transatlantic Sailing on the Queen Mary 2
It’s no secret that garden lovers are drawn to England like a magnet: is there any country that is so obsessed and so in love with everything green?
And what better way to see England than in the company of fellow garden lovers from across Canada, and with your own expert gardener, horticulturist Denis Flanagan, along for the experience!
Even better, Vision Travel has combined a visit to the legendary Chelsea Flower Show with tours of some delightful and surprising gardens in England with getting there in the most stylish way possible: on board the classic and classy Cunard Queen Mary 2.
This special departure, departing May 17, 2018, is timed to coincide with English gardens at their peak, says Vision Travel’s Betty Shukster, herself a garden enthusiast who will be hosting the group.
You’ll depart from New York City on the Queen Mary and spend an idyllic week on board being as active and social as you wish – or enjoying a quiet relaxation: your choice! At sea there will be garden lectures and chats with Denis, exclusive to the group, or you can join the myriad activities including photography lessons, fencing and watercolour instruction. Or maybe you’ll be most at home in the 6,000 volume library, the largest library at sea.
On arrival in Southampton, England (with no jet lag!) the group will be met and taken on a tour of the green and lovely New Forest, and to a Hilliers Garden Centre, the byword for all things horticultural in southern England and the oldest nursery in the country. Then you will be transferred to London, to your hotel for two nights, the central and 4-star Copthorne Tara in the heart of fashionable Kensington.
On Friday May 25 the group will leave early for the Chelsea Flower Show to give you a full day there to wander as you wish, to admire, be inspired and learn and share.
The following day everyone will depart for the charming market town of Haslemere in Surrey, south of London, for a four night stay at the Georgian Hotel. This will be your base from which the group will tour RHS Wisley (“one of the world’s great gardens”); experience Guildford Castle and Gardens where the castle ruins make a dramatic backdrop for the landscaping; visit private gardens with tea and a chat with the owners, and – the grand finish! – enjoy legendary Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens. Then it’s back to London for a farewell dinner before leaving for London’s Heathrow Airport the next day.
“So many Canadians are entranced by the garden scene in England, but would find it so time consuming to organize an immersive trip such as this one – not to mention deal with the logistics of getting around,” says Shukster. “Not only have we taken care of all of that, but you get to travel and meet with other garden buffs who share your passion.”
The group tour, available exclusively from Vison Travel, will be from Thursday May 17 to Wednesday May 30, and is limited to 35 participants. It is priced from $5,310 Cdn per person, double occupancy, including the transatlantic sailing and all components in England (including daily breakfast and farewell dinner). Airfare to New York and from London Heathrow is not included however Vision Travel advisor Betty Shukster will provide you with special pricing departing from your closest airport.
Special guest British-born Denis Flanagan, who has himself won a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show, has taught at several community colleges including Humber and Seneca in Toronto, has hosted his own gardening shows on HGTV and currently works for Landscapes Ontario.