RHS Garden Rosemoor: The perfect family day out

RHS Garden Rosemoor - Rhododendron 'Arneson Gem' and Cornus kousa 'Summer Fun' in Lady Anne's Arbore

Rhododendron and cornus kousa in Lady Anne's Arboretum at RHS Garden Rosemoor - Credit: RHS

Spring is here, and a visit to the Royal Horticultural Society's Rosemoor Garden in Great Torrington, Devon, is the perfect day out to celebrate post-lockdown freedom and welcome the warmer months ahead.  

We spoke to garden curator Jonathan Webster about Rosemoor's spring highlights and why it’s the perfect family day out. 

Q: What makes this garden unique?

Rosemoor is a hub of inspiration for garden ideas – the blending of formal and informal planting creates a stunning landscape to explore. The variety of plantings we offer provides year-round interest, and our seasonal trails mean you can make the most out of your experience whenever you’d like to visit us. Our garden rooms and landscape are something we’re really proud of, and we aim to make it enjoyable for all ages, whether you’re a horticulture enthusiast or just looking for a fun day out with your family.  

RHS Garden Rosemoor - rhododendrons in The Woodland Garden

Rhododendrons in The Woodland Garden - Credit: RHS

Q: What are the spring highlights?

Under the dappled shade of the mature oaks in our Woodland Garden, mats of evergreen azaleas create a carpet of colour and the rhododendron 'hatsu-giri' with crimson-purple flowers is truly enchanting. Within Lady Anne’s Arboretum we have planted different deciduous azaleas – these are taller in stature but still deliver on the ‘wow’ factor. Rhododendron 'klondyke' makes a real statement with its bright orange-scented flowers, flanking the path to the Croquet Lawn. 

One plant gem I always look forward to seeing is our dramatic wisterias. An old survivor, trained on the wall of Rosemoor House, is wisteria sinensis 'prolific' with its soft blue-violet flowers in dense, hanging racemes up to 30cm long. 

Blossom at this time moves from the drama of the Japanese cherries to the apples; in the orchards the edible apples in their manicured and shaped forms provide a great spectacle. Across the garden there are ornamental apples, both cultivars and species from across the world such as malus transitoria, a Chinese native with pure white blossom-covered branches that brightens the fruit field. 

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Q: What makes it a good family day out?

With various activities and facilities available, there’s plenty of opportunity to accommodate family fun at Rosemoor. Hidden amongst the woodland, the natural play area set includes a green ship, stepping logs, bug magnifiers, climbing frames and living willow structures for the kids to spend the day enjoying. 

The arboretum lawn provides the perfect setting for a family picnic in the sun after an afternoon of exploring. Kids can discover ‘Mr McGregor’s Garden’ and the flower pot people in the Fruit and Vegetable Garden, helping make gardening fun for the whole family.  

Wysteria on Rosemoor House at RHS Rosemoor Garden

Wysteria on Rosemoor House - Credit: RHS

Q: Is there anything people need to know before they visit?

To ensure everyone’s safety, we are only taking pre-bookings at this current time, with your booking confirmation required to be shown upon arrival to gain access. Time slots are available for booking between 10am and 5pm, with the last admission at 5pm and the garden closing at 6pm. We do ask that face coverings are worn in buildings or enclosed spaces, unless exempt. You may arrive at any time within your slot, staying as long as you like within opening hours. 

We still have a wide range of food and refreshments available, with the Courtyard Café (open 10am-5:30pm) and the Shepherd’s Rest Takeaway both serving a range of hot and cold takeaway food and drink. We are also providing a takeaway picnic lunch bag service for pre-order online, including ploughman’s, pork pies, sandwiches and pasties.  

Q: What are the benefits of RHS membership?

RHS membership offers a bounty of benefits for any kind of garden lover all year round. It includes unlimited pre-booked visits to RHS gardens for the member and a family guest or two children, a monthly subscription to The Garden magazine, expert horticultural advice and exclusive access to RHS Flower Shows. 

RHS membership also supports our charitable work in finding solutions to environmental issues, whilst training and inspiring the next generation of gardeners to grow. 

For more information, visit the RHS website: rhs.org.uk/rosemoor. You can also email rosemooradmin@rhs.org.uk or call 01805 624067.