The days are longer, the weather more inviting, and nature is bursting into life. It’s time to get out and explore our county’s wonderful natural gifts and let’s face it – nothing shouts ‘Derbyshire’ quite like our magnificent gardens…

Belper River Gardens

As the saying goes, the best things in life are free and Belper River Gardens is a perfect place to explore without having to spend a penny.

Equally beautiful whatever the season, the area nevertheless comes alive during the warmer months, with a host of things to see and do on top of the wonderful display of plants, trees and flowerbeds – not to mention the beautiful River Derwent which nestles next to it.

These riverside gardens – adjacent to the historic Strutt’s North Mill - have provided peace and tranquillity to visitors for over a century, and it’s easy to see why it’s as popular today as it has ever been.


Great British Life: Renishaw Hall Renishaw Hall (Image: Gary Wallis)

Renishaw Hall

With a 4.5/5 rating from close to 500 reviews on Tripadvisor, it’s a safe bet that, should you visit the gardens at Renishaw Hall, you’ll come away happy.

Located in Eckington, North East Derbyshire, the gardens at Renishaw Hall are a personal passion of Alexandra Sitwell, whose family have resided here for almost 400 years.

With hidden woodland enclaves, romantic pathways, classical Greek statues and more, it’s arguably the famed Italianate Gardens which provides the jewel in Renishaw Hall’s crown.

‘The garden evolves each year,’ Lady Sitwell tells Derbyshire Life. ‘They’re breathtaking and very unusual with an Italian-based design and huge English herbaceous borders, they are wonderful.’

Great British Life: The maze at Chatsworth The maze at Chatsworth (Image: Simon Broadhead/Chatsworth House Trust)


The gardens at Chatsworth need little introduction, but that’s not to say they wouldn’t be highly conspicuous by their absence if they didn’t appear on this list.

The product of close to 500 years of cultivation, the vast 105-acre garden truly has something for everyone, with surprises around every corner.

Influenced by the famous architect, engineer and gardener Joseph Paxton, who produced some of his finest work here in the 19th century, expect fine sculptures, rare plants, beautiful ponds, a Victorian Rock Garden, maze, permanent and temporary features, and so much more.

What’s more, no matter how many times you visit, you’ll always find something new to explore.


Great British Life: Calke Abbey Calke Abbey (Image: Gary Wallis)

Calke Abbey

There’s something wonderfully paradoxical about seeing the grounds of Calke Abbey burst into life at this time of year against the backdrop of a stately home where time stands still.

These National Trust-run gardens are a sight to behold. Faded glasshouses and outbuildings – such as the Gardener’s Bothy – fit perfectly into the ‘un-stately home’ aesthetic but there’s also an array of wonderful features to explore.

These include, but are not limited to, blossom, the Auricula Theatre, Walled Kitchen Garden, 50 varieties of rare and local apples and so much more.

It’s also the perfect base to explore further – don’t miss the sensational woodland that surrounds this truly unique part of Derbyshire.


Great British Life: Cascade Gardens, Bonsal Cascade Gardens, Bonsal (Image: Cascade Gardens)

Cascade Gardens

For those who want a slightly different experience, Cascade Gardens, in Bonsall, could be the answer.

Affiliated to the National Garden Scheme, Japanese Garden Society, and an RHS partner garden, this public meditation garden and bonsai centre is inspired by Japanese gardens and Buddhist philosophy.

Interestingly, the grounds were originally home to a 19th-century quarry, mine and corn mill, but they’re completely transformed now.

‘This garden takes you on a spiritual journey,’ says RHS herbaceous plant committee member Pilar Medrano Dell.

‘A place where you connect with the natural world and they in turn help you connect with yourself. You can feel a magic spirituality in every garden seat. Pure magic.’

Great British Life: Kedleston Park Kedleston Park (Image: Gary Wallis)

Kedleston Hall

Described as ‘one of the best surviving examples of an 18th-century informal landscape’, Kedleston Hall’s surrounding parkland is truly impressive – spanning around 800 acres. Indeed, parts of the parkland are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

You don’t have to cover the expansive grounds though to enjoy the delightful flora and fauna and idiosyncrasies on Kedleston Hall’s doorstep.

Largely influenced by the famed architect Robert Adam in the 1700s, Kedleston’s pleasure grounds have changed little, relatively speaking, in the centuries that have followed, and that’s no bad thing.

Take in 18th century flowerbeds, admire the statues, marvel at the Orangery and Hermitage, enjoy unbeatable views and much more.


Great British Life: Melbourne Hall Melbourne Hall (Image: Gary Wallis)

Melbourne Hall

It’s hard to overstate how many stunning gardens are to be found in the south of our county, and Melbourne Hall is a shining example.

Like many stately homes in Derbyshire, these gardens benefit hugely from the influences of past generations.

This is one of the most treasured historical gardens in the country and is often regarded as the best surviving early 18th-century English garden in the manner of Le Notre.

Few can rival the number of eye-catching features Melbourne Hall boasts, not to mention its stunning vistas.

The Muniment Room, Yew Tunnel, Wishing Well, Birdcage, Statuary and various fountains and sweeping lawns offer a glimpse of the surprises that await.


Great British Life: Hopton HallHopton Hall (Image: Gary Wallis)

Hopton Hall

Located just a couple of miles from Wirksworth in the Derbyshire Dales, Hopton Hall nestles idyllically on the edge of the Peak District.

Described as a ‘true haven of natural beauty and serenity’, Hopton Hall’s gardens are superb.

This is a place which incorporates so many elements of what makes a garden truly great and immersive.

Manicured hedges, breathtaking, fragrant gardens, a rose garden, graceful ornamental shrubs, nature trails, formal landscapes and more, this is a place where passionate gardeners and those looking for a bit of peace can enjoy in equal measure.

Hopton Hall also offers accommodation on site for those really looking to indulge in some much-needed R&R.


Great British Life: Lea GardensLea Gardens (Image: Gary Wallis)

Lea Gardens

Featuring a unique collection of highly acclaimed rhododendrons, azaleas kalmias and other plants collected from the far corners of the world, Lea Gardens is proof that wonderful and inspiring gardens are not only to be found at our famed country estates in Derbyshire.

Situated just outside the pretty village of Lea, close to Cromford, visitors are welcome to browse the 500 or so varieties of plants which make for a spectacular sight.

Covering some three and a half acres within woodland, parking is free and well behaved dogs are also welcome. There’s also a teashop on-site.

A real hidden treasure and a must-see – especially if you’re a fan of rhododendrons!


Great British Life: Haddon Hall Haddon Hall (Image: Haddon Hall)

Haddon Hall

‘The gardens at Haddon Hall have long been known as one of the earliest Renaissance Italianate gardens in England’ proclaims garden designer extraordinaire Arne Maynard.

Indeed, Haddon’s beautiful Elizabethan gardens are a rare survival of the 16th century, whereas so many others have been lost over time.

Originally designed by Tudor architect Robert Smythson, he would no doubt be delighted to see the love and care that continues to go into this beautiful area.

The gardens’ close proximity to the hall means this is a perfect place to enjoy for those with mobility issues, while the medieval parklands are begging to be explored for those who wish to experience even more.


Great British Life: Hardwick Hall Hardwick Hall (Image: Gary Wallis)

Hardwick Hall

Another area of outstanding flora and fauna-related beauty with Tudor connections is Hardwick Hall.

The park, specifically, provides the visitor with opportunities for woodland walks with far-reaching views across picturesque former mill ponds towards a wooded hillside, topped by the impressive landmarks of the Hardwick Halls (old and new).

Closer to the hall, the Courtyard Gardens are particularly popular – four rectangular courtyards which contain their own unique features.

Hardwick’s Herb Garden is also widely regarded as one of the finest in the country, incorporating borders, orchards, lawns and formal hedges.

Don’t miss out on the wonderful display of wild snowdrops either, which adorn the east and west corners of the South Court.

Thornbridge Hall

An RHS partner garden, Thornbridge Hall benefits from 14 acres of delightful formal gardens in addition to 90 acres of parkland and woodland sat against a stunning backdrop.

Stand in awe at the multitude shades of green – part of a vision laid out over a century ago to create ‘a thousand shades of green’ – and marvel at the glorious Italianate gardens.

Spend time among the formal terrace, pool and rock garden and get inspired by the sculptures which range in origin from nearby Chatsworth to faraway Greece.

Don’t miss the Knot Garden or the striking Jaipur Garden, relatively recent editions, which add to the huge variety of features on offer here.