Thursday 20 December 2012
The UK’s leading gardening charity, the Royal Horticultural Society, has today launched its first ever RHS Garden Holidays brochure in conjunction with escorted tours experts Collette Worldwide Holidays.
Featuring a selection of carefully designed horticulture-themed holidays around the world, the brochure includes itineraries to the USA, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, The Azores, France, Italy and Spain. RHS Garden Holidays will inspire all from the greenest of gardeners to more experienced horticulturists, with visits to private gardens, private or expert tours of exceptional public and botanical gardens and the chance to see many plants in their natural habitat. The tours are also rich in cultural highlights, making them of equal appeal to any non-gardening travel companions.
Commenting, Sue Biggs, Director General, RHS, says ‘With my background in travel, having led the country’s leading long haul operator for many years, I am absolutely delighted to be launching this RHS Garden Holidays brochure, which combines my two passions – travel and gardening. By bringing together our own horticultural expertise with the travel knowledge of Collette Worldwide Holidays, we have been able to create a selection of really inspiring tours.
Now more than ever before, people are motivated to travel in order to discover new experiences, which often mirror their interests closer to home. With these tours we are opening up a world of gardens, enabling gardening fans of all abilities to take their interest to a new level, by exploring the world around us in the company of like minded travellers. With 2013 being the year that our very own RHS Chelsea Flower Show celebrates its centenary, money from the tours is going towards the RHS Chelsea Centenary Appeal, helping the RHS to fund the next 100 years of gardening. What better way to fulfil the goals of the RHS, namely to help people share a passion for plants, to encourage excellence in horticulture and inspire all those with an interest in gardening.’
The brochure contains a total of 10 tours, with departures starting in May 2013. Each tour is accompanied by one of Collette’s expert tour leaders, with local guides also being used where appropriate. In addition, some departures will also be accompanied by an RHS horticulturist such as a Curator or specialist in their field.
Peter Traynor, General Manager, Collette Worldwide Holidays adds ‘Everyone at Collette is very excited to be working with such a well-respected organisation as the Royal Horticultural Society. We know from feedback from our customers that there is great demand for holidays that revolve around specific fields of interest, particularly in the escorted tours market. By combining our two respective areas of expertise in travel and gardening, we’ve been able to create some wonderful itineraries and we look forward to working together to expand the product into the future.’
Highlights of the itineraries are as follows:
Gardens of the Loire: 7 days from £1869 pp. Travelling from Paris down through the Loire and finally back up to Giverny, this tour includes visits to the Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire’s International Garden Festival; the gardens at Plessis Sasnieres as personal guests of the owner; a private tour of the beautiful gardens of Châteaux de Villandry and ends with the tranquil gardens of Giverny.
Andalucia – Land of Castles, Palaces & Gardens: 9 days from £1589 pp. Encompassing the highlights of this beautiful part of Spain, this holiday includes a tour of the Generalife Gardens at the Alhambra with a garden architect; and visits to Seville’s beautiful Maria Luisa Park and the Alcazar with a local botanist.
Portugal’s Gardens: featuring the Azores & Lisbon: 9 days from £1999 pp. Starting and finishing in Lisbon, this tour is largely based on the island of St Michael, renowned for its plant life, extraordinary lakes and Europe’s only pineapple and tea plantations. The itinerary includes visits to Antonio Borges Botanical Gardens, the largest municipal garden on the island; Terra Nostra Park, which has a vast collection of plants from around the globe, including the world’s largest collection of camellias and the Ribeira dos Caldeiroes Natural Park, with its waterfalls, watermills and unique vegetation.
Gardens & Villas of the Italian Lakes: 9 days from £2399 pp. Travelling from Venice to Como, Lugano in Switzerland, and finally onto Lake Maggiore, this tour offers the chance to see some of the spectacular villas, gardens and landscapes for which this region is renowned. Highlights include: Giusti Giardino in Veneto with cypress trees dating back to the 15th century; Lugano in Switzerland, where the Villa Heleneum Gardens boast an amazing array of plants; the splendid Villa Cicogna Mozzoni in the company of a member of the Mozzoni family and the Borromean Islands of Isola Madre and Isola Bella.
Eternal Gardens of Rome: 6 days from £1549 pp. Explore the splendid gardens in and around Rome including Villa Lante; the ruins of the city of Ninfa, converted into the famed Giardino e Rovine di Ninfa in the 17th century; and a specialist tour of the Vatican Gardens.
New Zealand’s Garden Route – 20 days from £4599 pp. An extremely comprehensive tour, including visits to Auckland, the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, enjoying a trans-Alpine train journey en route. Horticultural highlights include a tour of the stunning Gwavas homestead; visits to three stunning private gardens in Queenstown and the famous Ayrlies Garden, the private garden of the McConnell family.
The Beauty of Japan – 13 days from £4999 pp. No gardening holiday brochure would be complete without a including Japan, with its fascinating culture of garden design and the associated historical traditions and rituals. This tour encompasses the two great cities of Tokyo and Kyoto, visiting Hakone, Nagano. Kanazawa and Okayama en route, and ending in Osaka. Highlights include a visit to two of the Three Great Gardens of Japan – Kenroku-en, regarded by many as the the finest of all – translating as ‘Garden of the Six Sublimities’ and Koraku-en, with its spacious lawns, streams, walking paths and plum, cherry and maple trees; Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden with its fabulous cherry blossom; and Ryoan-Ji, considered to be one of the finest examples of a Japanese Rock Garden.
Gardens of American History – 11 days from £2699 pp. This fascinating holiday combines horticulture and history in a tour that travels from New York, to Philadelphia, including Brandywine Valley, Shenandoah Valley and Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia and Washington DC. Highlights include early entry to the New York Botanical Garden; the beautiful Brandywine Valley Longwood Gardens, home to an astonishing 11,000 taxa of cultivated plants, representing more than 200 different plant families; a tour from the Head of Gardens at Ladew Topiary Garden and a visit to Monticello house and gardens, the botanical showcase and former home of Thomas Jefferson, who had a lifelong interest in gardening and botany.
Historic Gardens of America’s North East – 9 days from £2599 pp. A wonderful tour from Boston, through Massachusetts and ending in New York, this holiday includes exclusive access to the Rockefeller Estate, Kykuit and Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount, before the gardens are open to the public. Clients will also enjoy special access to areas not normally open to the public at The New York Botanical Garden and the Arnold Arboretum.
Floral Wonders of South Africa – 16 days from £3699 pp. Starting in Sandton, this itinerary then travels through the Drakensburg Mountain Range, Kruger National Park and then flying on to Port Elizabeth to enjoy the Garden Route. Horticultural highlights include a private guided tour of Johannesburg’s stunning Botanical Gardens, a private tour of the Karoo Desert Botanical Gardens and the chance to explore Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, home to over 5,000 species of plants native to South Africa.
To book or for further information, please visit www.rhsgardenholidays.com or call 0800 804 8710
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About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s foremost gardening charity, helping and inspiring millions of people to garden. We do this at our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters.
RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262
About Collette Worldwide Holidays
A family owned and operated company, Collette Worldwide Holidays has been creating high quality escorted tours since 1918, combining sightseeing, history, culture and a hint of adventure. With a team of experts who are themselves well-travelled, Collette Holidays are renowned for their well-researched and structured itineraries that bring each destination to life. The itineraries are set at a pace that allows enough time for relaxation and the chance to get a real flavour of the region, with meals arranged at some of the best local restaurants. As well being hosted by a professional Tour Manager, expert local guides are used where appropriate. Most meals, entrances and excursions are all included in the price, allowing clients to sit back, switch off and really make the most of their holiday.