From glorious gardens set in the grounds of castles and priories, to historic parks, woodland walks and private gardens that open on specific days for charity, there is a wealth of opportunity for days out on Mother’s Day.

Here are just a few of the horticultural gems on offer.

Castle Howard, North Yorkshire

If you’re short on gift ideas, there’s a floral basket workshop on Mother’s Day where you can take away your own hand-crafted basket (tickets £65 inc hot drink and ground entry), or alternatively treat your mum to afternoon tea served in the historic Grecian Hall. This could follow a stroll through the majestic gardens, where you’ll see spring flowers in the woodlands and plenty of wildlife around the lakes.

Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, Northumberland

Explore 30 acres of stunning gardens, through ravines cut out of rock to the Jurassic-feeling Quarry Garden, which has is own microclimate and features a variety of exotic plants. Year-round seasonal interest is featured in the formal Yew Garden and Magnolia Terrace, and if you want a pit stop, there’s a new café in the old stables of the castle. There’s also a recently opened art installation by Turner-nominated artist Ingrid Pollard, which runs until July.

Stourhead, near Mere, Wiltshire

Drifts of glorious daffodils will be on view in the gardens surrounding this Palladian house, set in 2,650 acres of countryside. On the weekend of Mother’s Day, visitors can make Mother’s Day bouquets (£10) with spring flowers, to make as a gift or simply do as a family activity. Alternatively, just explore the world-famous landscape garden and lake, admire the various classical temples surrounded by trees and take in the view from Alfred’s Tower, a 160ft-tall folly which offers views across three counties.


Great British Life: Down HouseDown House (Image: Georgie Scott/English Heritage/PA)

Down House (home of Charles Darwin), Kent

This idyllic spot is not only a place of international scientific importance, but a wonderful place for a Mother’s Day outing with plenty to explore both inside and out. After admiring Darwin’s study, where he wrote On The Origin Of Species, take a walk around the gardens and greenhouse – Darwin’s ‘outdoor laboratory’ – where he made observations and conducted experiments. Visitors can also follow in Darwin’s footsteps along his ‘thinking path’, past bountiful vegetable patches and fragrant flower beds.

Tal-Y-Fan, Kirkcudbrightshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

This quirky one-acre garden features great swathes of daffodils and The Secret Path, which leads to Acer Valley and the Won-Kei Parterre. There’s a bluebell wood and great views across the Fleet Valley, as well as a substantial pond. You may even see a red squirrel or two.

Powis Castle and Garden, Powys

Look out for a new daffodil called National Trust ‘Joy’ which will be blooming in spring, among the many thousands in the garden at this medieval castle built by Welsh prince Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn. In March, naturalised daffodils bloom across the lawn and flood the aptly named Daffodil Paddock with vivid yellow. The Grade 1 listed garden features huge clipped yews, dramatic terraces, an Edwardian formal garden and a peaceful wooded landscape, perfect for blowing the cobwebs away on Mother’s Day.


Great British Life: Bluebells at Home FarmBluebells at Home Farm (Image: National Garden Scheme/PA)

Home Farm, Gloucestershire

Opening for the National Garden Scheme on March 10, this is a perfect woodland walk setting featuring carpets of spring flowers over around a mile. It’s set in an elevated position with terrific views, while there’s also an enclosed garden with a fern border, a heather bed, white and mixed shrub borders and a sundial.

Boscobel House and The Royal Oak, Staffordshire

Once a picturesque hunting lodge, this beautiful property has in the past been used as a farmhouse and holiday home until it was taken over by English Heritage. It is most famous for hiding Charles II from Parliamentarians during the Civil War, allowing him to flee to France, which led to one of the greatest adventure stories of all time, and a pivotal point in the history of England, celebrated to this day by more than 500 pubs named Royal Oak. The quaint tea room, housed in the old stables, was revamped in 2020 – ideal for a sit-down and a snack.

Wind In The Willows, Higher Denham, Buckinghamshire

Wander around three acres of wildlife-friendly planting and landscape, which features an informal woodland and wild gardens separated by streams lined with iris, astilbe and primulas. Be inspired by the myriad planting of more than 350 shrubs and trees, many of which are variegated and uncommon, while hosta fans can admire 80 of their favourites, as well as other marginal and bog plantings on Mother’s Day.


Great British Life: Bere Mill, HampshireBere Mill, Hampshire (Image: Lee Clapp/National Garden Scheme/PA)

Bere Mill, Hampshire

Another private garden opening for the National Garden Scheme on Mother’s Day, this one is built around an early 18th century mill on a remote stretch of the River Test. The garden has evolved over 30 years and highlights include extensive drifts of bulbs, herbaceous and Mediterranean borders with magnolias, peonies and irises. Later on in the year, the summer borders come into their own and there is also a traditional orchard and an arboretum which specialises in Japanese shrubs and trees.