RHS Hyde Hall: A family springtime adventure

The Dry Garden at RHS Garden Hyde Hall

The Dry Garden at RHS Garden Hyde Hall - Credit: RHS / Neil Hepworth

Situated in the heart of rural Essex, Royal Horticultural Society’s Hyde Hall is a hidden gem, burrowed in the Rettendon hills.

We speak to Hyde Hall’s curator Rob Brett about the spring highlights and why you should consider a visit to the gardens for your next family day out.

Q: What's looking good at the moment? 

Tulipa 'Kingsblood' in small containers and Tulipa 'Queen of Night' with Tulipa 'Dordogne' in large

The Cottage Garden at RHS Garden Hyde Hall - Credit: RHS / Neil Hepworth

Tulips line the entrance borders, welcoming you into the gardens in yellow, orange and purple. You can also find them adding splashes of colour to the pots and borders across the Cottage Garden and Hilltop Gardens. Be sure not to miss Birch Grove, home to the wild ‘tulipa sylvestris’, brightening the garden with their distinctive yellow hue. 

Birch Grove’s natural design allows its springtime flowers to shine. Lime green ‘smyrnium perfoliatum’ and the contrasting copper colour of euphorbia ‘fens ruby’ blends into the greenery. You’ll find a flurry of viburnums, lonicera and ribes in bloom amongst pockets of white daffodil narcissus ‘actaea’, surrounded by birches overhanging above. 

The Woodland Garden witnesses a wonderful mix of colours and textures during springtime. A colourful blend of camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons can be found flourishing in the bushes, while flowering cherries and crab apples add extra bursts of colour throughout the garden. 

Springtime in the Robinson Garden showcases rich colours of budding flowers, hidden amongst the thick foliage of plantation and trees growing around the paths – this garden is not to be missed. The delicate blossom of ‘amelanchier lamarckii’  dance around your head, and as we enter the late spring months, fern fronds can be seen unfurling to reveal a stunning display of greenery against the backdrop of blue skies as it bursts into leaf.  

The Dry Garden is full of colour in late spring, ranging from the yellows of sophora and oranges of the Californian poppy to the rich blues of ceanothus and the towering ‘echium pininana’ as they burst into bloom.

Q: What makes it a perfect family day out? 

Rhododendron Woodland Garden at RHS Garden Hyde Hall

Rhododendron Woodland Garden at RHS Garden Hyde Hall - Credit: RHS / Neil Hepworth

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Hyde Hall has a children’s play area for the kids to enjoy (socially distanced). The Island Beds are the perfect location to wander with the family, full of pathways hidden among plantation for an intimate experience with the natural surroundings, and the rolling grass slopes are a perfect place for kids to have their own fun as they roll down the hillside.  

Lunching out in the sky meadow or in one of our allocated picnic areas, wherever you choose to spend your afternoon after a day of exploring, Hyde Hall offers a collection of picturesque, tranquil settings to soak up the sunshine and enjoy a picnic with the family.

Q: What should you know before visiting RHS Hyde Hall? 

The gardens open from 10am to 6pm, with admission allowed via pre-booking only (booking confirmation must be shown upon arrival). Face masks are required in buildings or enclosed spaces, and we are practicing social distancing between support bubbles throughout the grounds. 

Takeaway refreshments are available from the Thatched Barn and the Gardeners Rest Restaurant between 10am and 4:45pm.

Q: What is an RHS Membership? 

The RHS membership includes unlimited visits to any of our RHS gardens throughout the year along with a guest or two children. You receive 25 per cent off your first year when you sign up with direct debit.  

Along with a monthly subscription to The Garden magazine, membership offers unlimited gardening support including expert advice, handy tips and exclusive content sent via regular emails. The RHS online coach My Garden is available at your leisure to inspire you to grow your garden at home. The membership aims to inspire the next generation of gardeners, supporting charitable work and working towards resolutions for environmental issues that impact our green spaces. 

 Visit rhs.org.uk/gardens/hyde-hall  for more information. Alternatively contact hydehall@rhs.org.uk or 01245 402019.