12 of York's Most Stunning Gardens
Summer months provide the ideal time for you to explore some of York’s gardens and parks.
York is blessed with a number of city centre green spaces to discover. These offer quiet from the hustle and bustle of the city, as well as somewhere to sit down and enjoy a picnic. Each one has their own special character and charm. We've put together this guide so you can find the perfect garden for your day out.
York Museum Gardens
The York Museum Gardens, with its botanical plants, is home to the Yorkshire Museum, Hospitium and the remains of St Marys Abbey. Here you might even spot an #OnlyinYork Tansy Beetle. This endangered species only lives in a 30km stretch of the River Ouse.
The remains of St Mary's Abbey offer some shade on hot sunny days and there's plenty of open space for children to run around. There are no ball games allowed in York Museum Gardens. If you're looking for something else to pass the time, pop into the Yorkshire Museum..
Another delightful space is Dean’s Park. Placed perfectly between the majestic York Minster and the grounds of the Treasurer’s House, you can sit here and take a break in between sightseeing. If you wait long enough, you'll be able to hear the bells of York Minster strike on the hour.
Popular with families, with its playgrounds and cosy Reading Café, Rowntree Park is a little further out from the city centre. It will take you about 25-minutes to walk there from the city centre.
The walk takes you along the river where you can watch the City Cruise and other boats sailing up and down the river. Once you arrive there is plenty to see and do. A lake, open fields and a garden offer a constant change in scenery as you wander around.
A little further out of town is Homestead Park. With glorious seasonal floral displays, it's around 1.5-miles from the city centre. The 14-acre garden is open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
There is a popular play area for children and a pop-up café run by Explore. You'll also be able to buy plants from its plant sale and there is plenty of seating for picnics.
Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens
Venture out of the city to explore the countryside and green spaces on York’s doorstep. Going south out of the city will take you to the hidden gem which is Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens. With its wildflower meadows and nurseries, you'll be wanting to stay for hours.
After exploring the garden, grab a coffee and cake from the cafe before picking up your own plants from the nursery. You'll surely be full of inspiration!
Castle Howard and Yorkshire Arboretum
Head north instead, and the roads will lead to the stunning Castle Howard, with its large expanses of parkland and the nearby Yorkshire Arboretum and its impressive collection of trees.
More than 6,000 trees fill the 120-acres of parkland and lakes and ponds create wonderful backdrops for photos and picnics. There's even a woodland playground for children and a cafe with home-cooked food.
The Walled Garden at Scampston Hall
Scampston Walled Garden is part of the Scampston Hall estate. There are four beautiful acres of contemporary garden to wander through, making a lovely afternoon out.
Extend your day out by taking a stroll through the woodland walk, finishing up in the restaurant and plant sale.
Wolds Way Lavender
Just the other side of the A64 lies Wolds Way Lavender. 120 different varieties of lavender and herbs lie within the 6-acre site. Along the borders, wildflowers grow offering space for wildlife to flourish.
Lavender oil is extracted from the crop growing on site. This oil goes into their Wolds Way Lavender Cosmetic range. You can learn about the process in an audio/visual display that runs throughout the day.
Helmsley Walled Garden
Continue further into the North York Moors to Helmsley Walled Garden. Nestled in the shadow of Helmsley Castle, the views of the castle are second only to the garden itself.
Relax over lunch at the Vinehouse Café beneath Victorian vines laden with grapes, or browse for gifts, produce, plants and garden sundries in their Garden Shop and Plant Centre.
Breezy Knees Garden
Only 6-miles east of York, Breezy Knees Garden offers 20-acres of award-winning garden with over 7,000 varieties of flowers, shrubs and trees.
The garden features extensive herbaceous borders, sparkling fountains and rose gardens, plus a lake and arboretum. In their shop, you can pick up some rare plants. You can be sure they're great because everything they sell is growing in their garden!
Burnby Hall Gardens
Burnby Hall Gardens, with its lakes, national collection of water lilies and recently restored Rock Garden, sits in the picturesque town of Pocklington.
Two lakes are set within the grounds with walkways around both. The Gardens are seven times winners of the Yorkshire in Bloom Gold Award for Country Houses, Estates, Parks and Gardens.
RHS Garden Harlow Carr
Journey west to discover the RHS Garden Harlow Carr on the edge of Harrogate and enjoy a bite to eat at the Bettys Tea Room situated in the garden. You’re spoilt for choice with the array of natural attractions, grounds and estates to enjoy.There are year round events to come back for including gardening themed weekends, family holiday activities, plant fairs, food and drink festivals, outdoor music, theatre and film, and guided tours and trails.
Don't forget to share pictures from your visit on social media using #OnlyInYork and tagging @VisitYork.