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The south west is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK. On fresh summer days, there is nothing better than stepping out and exploring the great outdoors.

If hiking isn't for you, and you'd much rather experience the gentler aspects of the countryside, then a visit to an RHS partner garden is a must. We've chosen our nearby favourites so you can plan a peaceful day out.

1. Hestercombe Garden and Gallery

Head to Taunton to find Hestercombe House and Gardens, a historical place that covers three centuries of landscape gardening. Browse the site and find how garden styles have changed, or get involved with the special activities running throughout the summer.

There are over 50 acres of stunning Somerset gardens, including the Georgian Landscape Gardens, the Victorian Shrubbery and the Edwardian Formal Gardens. From the Box Pond to the Chinese Seat, Hestercombe has loads of incredible sights to see.

If you’re feeling a bit peckish, head to The Stables for delectable brunch, lunch, desserts and afternoon tea. This includes sandwiches, casseroles, cakes and a full English breakfast.

In terms of admission, it’s best to opt for a family saver for cheaper entry at £25.50. Alternatively, it costs £16.90 per adult and £8.45 per child.

2. Lytes Cary Manor

See the prettiness of an arts and craft style garden at Lytes Cary Manor. The National Trust premises includes a manor you can visit that was built in the 13th century. This manor house was originally the home of Henry Lyte, and it was restored in the early 20th century by Sir Walter Jenner.

Over the 350-acre estate, there’s woodland copses, meadows, a chapel completed in 1348 and a stretch of the River Cary. Plus, it’s a lovely place to visit whether as a couple or a family. There’s a second-hand book shop for intrepid readers or the wooded play area where your kids can enjoy some outdoor fun.

Take your National Trust card for free entry. If you don’t have a membership card, it will cost you £13 per adult and £6.50 per child.

3. The Walled Garden at Mells

Travel through the Mendips to reach Frome, where you can visit the Walled Garden at Mells. The garden was created in the 17th century and is now used to grow wedding flowers, so makes for a wonderful stroll on a sunny day. Many of the garden plants and seasonal flowers supplied to the gardens come from local suppliers Emerald Plants.

It’s open seasonally from April until the end of September, and it’s free to enter. That said, donations are welcome to help with the upkeep of the garden. The garden also has an outdoor café, where you can get pizza, vegetarian and gluten-free options, and all locally-sourced ingredients.

4. The Newt in Somerset

One of the best RHS partner gardens to visit in Somerset is The Newt. Located between the old towns of Castle Cary, Bruton and Wincanton, this stunning spot in Hadspen is the perfect place to spend a day with family or friends.

Whether you’re exploring the 17th century Hadspen House or the incredible gardens, The Newt has something for everyone. Entry is free for RHS members and children younger than 16, otherwise year round joint memberships cost £140 for two people.

Some of The Newt’s highlights include:

  • Winter Garden: With displays of tropical fruit trees, orchids and exotic ferns, this garden is inspired by Victorian plant collectors and is kept at a balmy 20ºC.
  • The Story of Gardening: This collection explores the rich history of gardening, through garden rooms and interactive exhibits.
  • Beezantium: Here, you can explore the relationship between bees, humans and the land through observation hives in the woodland.
  • Farm Shop: You can buy fresh produce, locally-sourced meat, home-made cider and homeware in the Newt’s shop.

5. The Walled Gardens of Cannington

Another RHS partner garden to explore is the Walled Gardens of Cannington, not far from Bridgwater. It has a stunning glasshouse, a Mediterranean garden, a Victorian-style fernery, a Rose Walk and a Winter Garden.

These walled gardens went through extensive redevelopments and were officially opened in 2009 by Prince Edward. They’re truly lovely to visit as there’s also a tearoom, a nursery full of unusual plants, and a gift shop.

It’s open from Tuesday to Friday from January until the end of February. Then from March until December, it’s open from Tuesday to Sunday. It’s free for RHS members, on Saturdays and Sundays, and Wednesdays in January and February.

Visiting Somerset? Come Stay at HRU

There are so many spectacular places in Somerset for scenic walks, just one of many reasons for coming on a family coastal holiday. Whether you’re visiting RHS gardens or some of the top attractions in the Southwest, there are some fantastic places to stay in Somerset.

However you plan to spend your time while holidaying with HRU, you can guarantee a good time. With brilliant onsite activities at our campsites in Somerset, and easy access to great days out, you'll definitely want to come back year after year. Book your break today online.