The UK’s Most Visited Stately Homes and Their Beautiful Gardens 

Marvellous architecture, incredible history, lavish décor, and splendid gardens – these are the lovely features that we want to see on a stately home visit. The UK is home to an estimated 3000 stately homes, seeing around approximately 22 million visitors annually according to Historic England. 

Each of these stately homes offers a unique glimpse into the nation’s rich cultural heritage. Is it any wonder they’re beloved destinations for history buffs and garden lovers?

But what about our favourite feature – the gardens? From Historic England’s latest report, approximately 13 million visitors have explored the beautiful gardens that the UK has to offer. 

To have the best of both worlds, we have identified the UK’s Top 10 Most Visited Stately Homes that feature the most magnificent gardens, ensuring a delightful experience for all.  

Windsor Great Park – 5.5 million visitors in 2023 

Starting off with the most visits last year, at a huge figure of 5.5 million, Windsor Great Park is the top of our list with the most visitors, with not only one beautiful park, but two! Search trends for Windsor Great Park have surged by 16% in the last quarter. The Savill Garden is 35-acre haven of gardens, woodland and seasonal displays, commissioned in 1932 by George V. The Valley Gardens cover 250 acres of rippling valleys with azaleas, magnolias and exotic blooms from all over the world – a gardener’s dream!  

Image Courtesy of Windsor Great Park

Kew Gardens – 2 million visitors  

Home to the world’s largest and most diverse collection of living plants, this garden represents nearly 250 years of history. With over 50,000 living plants, and 7 million preserved specimens, it’s no wonder Kew Gardens ranks second most visited. Fun fact: the world’s oldest potted plant resides inside Palm House, originally arriving at Kew in 1775. That’s around 250 years ago! And whilst it may not be a traditional stately home, it is home to Kew Palace, the smallest royal residence.  

Blenheim Palace – 1 million visitors 

Built in the 18th century and considered a ‘naturalistic Versailles’, following a historic victory in British history, Blenheim Palace is the only non-royal country house to hold the title of Palace. The Formal Gardens surrounding the Palace include the majestic Water Terraces, the Duke’s Private Italian Garden, the tranquil Secret Garden and the beautifully delicate Churchill Memorial Garden. These gardens demonstrate a journey through historical styles, contributing to the Estate’s recognition as a World Heritage site. With Google Searches increasing by 59% in the past quarter, Blenheim Palace is a must-visit this summer! 

Photograph courtesy of Blenheim Palace

Hampton Court Palace – 630,000 visitors  

With over 500 years of garden history, Hampton Court’s gardens were once the exclusive playgrounds of kings and queens. Monarchs and their gardeners shaped the Palace’s gardens, from Wolsey’s knot gardens to Henry VIII’s Privy Garden and the Great Fountain Garden. With 60 acres of formal gardens, the world’s oldest puzzle maze, a record-breaking grape vine, and three National Plant Collections, Hampton Court is a magnificent place to visit and admire its beauty.  

Chatsworth House – 605,000 visitors 

Known as a centre for creativity, Chatsworth House is found in the heart of the Peak District. Home to the Devonshire family, it features a 105-acre garden with modern and historic waterways, a Victorian rock garden, botanical gardens, and a kitchen garden. Hosting art exhibitions, cultural events, and educational programmes – a blend of history, culture, and nature, is it any wonder that it attracts visitors from across the world? Averaging 26K searches monthly with a 20% quarterly increase, it’s among the most searched stately homes on our list.

Cliveden, Buckinghamshire – 503,000 visitors 

Constructed in 1666 by the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, Cliveden embodies luxury and exclusivity. Over the course of 300 years, it has become home to a series of distinct gardens. From ribbons of spring bulbs and vibrant floral displays in the Parterre, to the blooming Rose Garden and serene Water Garden, each garden represents Cliveden’s intricate history and heritage. The House is currently leased as a luxury hotel, but visitors are still able have a tour around the grounds.

The terrace and parterre at Cliveden, Image Courtesy of National Trust/Andrew Butler

Buckingham Palace – 502,000 visitors  

Recognised worldwide as the home of the King, Buckingham Palace is the most famous residence on this list.   The palace features London’s largest private garden, often described as ‘a walled oasis in the middle of the city’. It boasts 325 plant species, over 1,000 trees, a beautiful floral border, and includes a charming rose garden. Buckingham Palace Garden is truly a sight to behold, where visitors can explore the ground during the Palace’s summer openings. 

Leeds Castle – 480,000 visitors

Once described as the “loveliest castle in the world”, Leeds Castle’s history spans almost 1000 years. It offers mesmerising historical gardens and stunning architectural landscapes, such as the Lady Baillie Mediterranean Garden and the fragrant Culpeper Gardens. Each of Leeds Castle’s seasonal gardens flourish with unique scents and sights every month, sometimes even every week, offering a constantly changing and pleasant experience for everyone.  

Fountains Abbey – 430,000 visitors  

A renowned National Trust venue, Fountains Abbey is where historic architecture meets the vibrancy of summer blooms. The garden at Studley Royal was inspired by the romantic ruins, with mirror-like ponds and statues and follies. As a UNESCO-listed site, it is described as ‘one of the most magnificent Georgian water gardens ever created’. A visit to this extraordinary location is a must for everyone at least once in their lives. 

Kensington Palace and Gardens – 422,000 visitors 

Walk through the Kensington Palace Gardens, the residence of royalty. Once part of Hyde Park, Queen Caroline began to transform the Gardens into what we know today as Kensington Gardens. Now one of London’s Royal Parks, Kensington Gardens spans 242 acres. It houses the Sunken Gardens in the upper grounds, drawing inspiration from the Edwardian Pond Garden at Hampton Court Palace. These gardens offer a tranquil retreat and a chance to appreciate England’s rich heritage. 

Beautiful architecture, incredible history, lavish décor, and splendid gardens are what make stately homes so enchanting. Crown Pavilions creates the finest luxury gazebos and summer houses allowing you to enjoy your garden in any season. Just like stately homes offering a tranquil retreat, our garden rooms provide a personal sanctuary, blending comfort and luxury at home. 

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