Posted by: marymarthatours | March 28, 2013

Our 2014 Tour – Spring Gardens of Cornwall and Devon

Have you heard this story about Abraham Lincoln?  One day Lincoln asked his cabinet to vote “aye or nay” on a proposal.  After every cabinet member had voted “aye”, Lincoln said, “Well, I’m voting nay, so the nays have it”.

Martha and I are being a bit like Lincoln.  After asking for our readers’ opinion on which tour to plan for 2014, we picked the one that got fewer votes.  Although lots of folks said they liked both options, we had fallen in love with the idea of going to England in the spring.  So our choice for the M&M tour in 2014 is Spring Gardens of Cornwall and Devon.

savill gdn, paul leitch

Savill Garden

Upon arrival on April 27, 2014, we’ll stop for lunch at Savill Gardens outside of Windsor.  Then on to Salisbury where we’ll stay for two nights.  We’ll definitely plan to visit Stourhead, one of the most outstanding gardens of the English Landscape design style.  This garden, with its walk around the lake, classical temples, and breathtaking views, will be full of blooming rhododendrons and flowering trees.  Another garden, or perhaps a tour of Salisbury Cathedral, will round out an amazing day.

Stourhead, mwpostcard

Stourhead garden in spring

From Salisbury, we drive to the Falmouth area for three nights at the incredible Meudon Hotel.  My husband and I stayed at the Meudon many years ago and still talk about the delightful garden that stretches down a ravine from the hotel to a private beach.  That, and the great food.


Part of the upper garden at the Meudon Hotel, Mawnan Smith, Cornwall

While in Cornwall, we plan to visit three important gardens:  Trebah; the Lost Garden of Heligan; and the Eden Project.  We’ll also spend part of a day in the atmospheric seaside town of St. Ives, where our travelers can stroll, shop, visit the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden, or just sit by the sea.

eden, Jurgen Matern, cca3.0

The Eden Project, Cornwall

On the way to our three-night stay in Exeter, we’ll have a chance to soak up the bleak and beautiful scenery of Dartmoor and stop at Castle Drogo, the last castle build in England.  A day off for our driver in Exeter means free time to explore the exquisite Exeter Cathedral, several city gardens, or the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.  We’ll spend another day visiting gardens and garden centers in the area.

roos tor, Nilfanion, ccasa3.0

Roos Tor, Dartmoor

After Exeter we move on to Bath, where we’ll stay for four nights, stopping en route at Glastonbury to visit the garden of the Chalice Well and the haunting Glastonbury Abbey.  From Bath, we’ll spend a day at the Great Malvern Flower Show.  This show is similar to the better known Chelsea Flower Show, but without the mobs and congestion.  We’re planning on visiting several more gardens in the Bath area, and are working on a huge SURPRISE visit to a very special country home.  And there will be free time in Bath for exploring, enjoying the new Thermae Spa, or just relaxing.

Glastonbury Abbey, PD

Glastonbury Abbey

All too soon, our spring gardens adventure will come to an end with one night near Heathrow Airport before our departure home on Saturday, May 10, 2014.  This will be a convenient location for anyone who wishes to make plans to extend their stay in London.

While the tour will focus on spring gardens of various landscape styles, there will also be opportunities to view the interiors of stately homes, see major English gothic cathedrals, and enjoy seaside and inland scenery.  I haven’t mentioned all the locations that we hope to visit, as some sites are not yet confirmed.  We expect the brochure for this tour to be ready in June.  We will send the brochure first to people on the M&M mailing list.  If you would like to receive a brochure in the mail, please contact us and let us know your mailing address.

Looking forward to spring – both this year AND next.

(by Mary)

Photo credits:  Savill Gardens – Paul Leitch;  Meudon Hotel – Meudon Hotel website, used by permission;  Eden Project – copyright Jurgen Matern and licensed for reuse by Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license;   Dartmoor – copyright Nilfanion and licensed for reuse by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license;  Glastonbury Abbey– copyright Nilfanion and licensed for reuse by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.



  1. Terrific! I’m one of the few who voted for spring when so many flowers are in bloom. I sure hope I’m able to come on that tour. Ginny

  2. Please can you send me the brochure when you get prices etc worked out. I am most interested in coming along on this tour in 2014. Many thanks, Claudette Wren, Asheville NC

    • Hi Claudette, I would be delighted to mail you a brochure for the 2014 Spring Gardens of Cornwall & Devon tour when it is ready. Please send me your complete mailing address. I’m hoping that the brochures will be done in the next couple of weeks. Looking forward to having you with us next spring, Cheers, Mary

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