Year of the English Garden: Year of Opportunity


During September, many of your garden club contacts will be reconvening after their summer holiday which makes this a good time for finalizing and presenting a really eye catching, value added customized UK tour at their next meeting.

In the months ahead, your customer’s specialist gardening magazines will be carrying details and images of the 2016 Year of the English Garden and the Tercentenary of Capability Brown, our most famous Master Gardener so get ahead of the game, capture this interest by offering them a program that they won’t see in any tour operator’s brochure which combines large and spectacular castles and stately homes with privately owned homes and gardens rarely open to the general public.

As you read on, I’m going to invite you to think out of the box and look for untapped potential from other sources like Rose, Orchid and Herb Societies and even the team that decorates your church for Sunday Worship!

A Celebration of English Gardens

Use Chelsea (24th-28th May), the world’s greatest flower show as the focal point for a series of visits to castles and stately homes where the garden was the winner of the fiercely contested Christies/Historic Houses Association ‘Garden of the Year’ award. With careful planning these horticultural masterpieces can also be customized into a memorable pre or post cruise extension

Chelsea in London and Bloom in Dublin

The closer you look, the more you find. Did you know that you can now offer your gardening contacts a tour that starts with the Chelsea Flower Show in London, meanders through some fabulous gardens in the Cotswolds and among the misty mountains of North Wales and finishes with a rewarding day at Bloom in Dublin, Ireland’s largest gardening and food event.

Rose Tinted Gardens

The Hampton Court Flower Show, a perennial favorite takes place from 5th-10th July in the 60 acre garden at King Henry VIII’s majestic palace. Perfect for your Rose Club/Society, you can precede or follow it with 5-6 days of special visits to stunning gardens, at their peak for fragrance and color. This RHS show will appeal to clients who were too busy in their own garden during May!

It’s all about Orchids

Take a look at this website which will reveal whether or not there’s an Orchid Society near you. Click on Affiliated Societies and then on Affiliated Societies Near You and you might be pleasantly surprised by what and who you see listed. Offer them a tailor made tour with the RHS Orchid Show (7th-9th April).

A Herbal Remedy

If you have a look at the Herb Society of America and click on About Us, you’ll see that there are 46 ‘units’ across the country.  Clients of yours may be members and having successfully organized cruises for them, they’ll be delighted to introduce your proven expertise to their colleagues.  Ahead of that conversation, let me arm you with an itinerary that will bring a big smile to their face!

Say it with Flowers

Are you on the flower rota at your church? If so your fellow flower arrangers will be very happy to follow you on an unusual garden tour which includes the Chelsea Flower Show, 5 of England’s finest gardens and the Festival of Flowers in Chichester Cathedral. With a few additional touches, they and their husbands will be reaching for their passports.

A Cornucopia of Garden Festivals This isn’t quite a ‘Tuesday it must be Belgium’ itinerary but with careful timing it’s possible to put together a tour that includes the 2016 Dublin Rose Festival, the Belfast Rose Week and the Royal Horticultural Society show at Tatton Park near Chester. With value added visits to some stunning gardens in Ireland, North Wales and the Cotswolds, this July 2016 tour fills 9 nights/10 days.

And One for the Back Burner

With the Royal Horticultural Society confirming that they will be staging a brand new Garden Show between 7th – 11th June 2017 at Chatsworth House. Start thinking about a Grand Houses and Great Gardens tour that includes special visits to Blenheim Palace, the Cotswolds, Castle Howard and Burghley House.

233f540Paull Tickner, UK based member of the Travel Institute is an expert in developing customized special interest travel programs for the United Kingdom and Ireland. Check out his website at and email him at