Springtime is here, and with the weather getting balmier by the day there is no better time to bask in nature and soak up the sun in one of Manchester’s gorgeous open gardens. From Wisterias to Rhododendrons, maples to magnolias and snow drops to spring bulbs, we’ve compiled some of the best floral focal points serving up a feast for both the eyes and the nose.

Get lost in nature at Bluebell Cottage Gardens and Nursery

Set in 2 acres of quiet Cheshire countryside, Bluebell Cottage Gardens and Nursery are a tranquil haven teeming with plant and wildlife. With plenty of areas to sit and relax, take in the lush orchard gardens filled with fruit trees, or the charmingly unruly meadow of vivid wildflowers. A stroll through the magical bluebell woods, alive with butterflies and bees, is also not to be missed – along with the nursery offering a variety of reasonably-priced plants and ‘D.I.Y’ refreshments. Informal planting gives the garden its charming overgrown feel, and with no rigidly enforced foot paths you can fully immerse yourself in this small patch of paradise. Bluebell Cottage Gardens and Nursery are open 10am to 5pm daily with tickets costing £5 per person, and you can find more information here.

Bluebell Cottage, Lodge Lane, Warrington WA4 4HP
Start your botanical education at Lovell Quinta Arboretum

The brainchild of astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell, this 28-acre arboretum in the heart of Cheshire is open 9am until sunset every day, offering a look at one of the largest collections of plant life in the UK. Situated just behind the Swettenham Arms, where you can find parking alongside pints and pub grub, this plant-lovers paradise boasts over 2,500 species, all well labelled and organised along the pruned walks and shaded arbours. From endangered conifers to the newer additions of flowers and fruit, The Lovell Quinta Arboretum has quite literally outgrown its initial scientific purpose, providing everything from horticultural education to gorgeous views of the Cheshire countryside. With a low entrance fee of £2.50, this is the perfect spot for green fingered friends and newcomers alike.

From 12 April 2021 the government advice is to ‘stay local’, so we are open for Members and local visitors and…

Posted by The Lovell Quinta Arboretum on Monday, 12 April 2021

Swettenham Lane, Swettenham CW12 2LF
Smell the Roses at Arley Halls and Garden

This quaint and diverse garden set in the grounds of Arley Hall offers a floral exploration like no other, with their pioneering double herbaceous borders providing bursts of colours and texture all year round – not to mention over 400 varieties of rhododendron. Open every day from 10am to 4pm and with garden passes available for only £7, you can enjoy a beverage in the rose garden; stroll down the avenue of entwined lime trees leading to the clock tower and lap up the serenity of the walled garden, complete with fountain centrepiece. A filming site for Peaky Blinders, the historic Arley Hall is also worth a look – with guided tours available. However the gardens are undeniably the main attraction.

Arley, Back Lane, Northwich CW9 6NA
Celebrate three centuries of horticulture at Tatton Park Gardens

This historic and sprawling 50-acre garden is teeming with flora and fauna, so you may glimpse a herd of deer or flock of swans as you stroll through the grounds. Open every day 10am to 6pm with adult tickets at £8, visit popular attractions including the luscious orchard with apple, pear, plum and cherry trees all beginning to blossom, and the 100-year-old Japanese garden, complete with a pagoda and native plants. The broad walk leads to the lawns in front of the mansion, where you can relax and enjoy stunning views of the parkland. With plenty of family events, including a drive-in cinema planned in May, there is every reason to check out the Tatton Park Gardens this spring.


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Mereheath Drive, Knutsford WA16 6QN
Bird spotting at Fletcher Moss Park and Parsonage Gardens

A bird-spotters paradise, Fletcher Moss park and Parsonage Gardens are a park, garden and nature reserve all rolled into one, just outside the city limits. With free entry every day from dawn until dusk, this scenic spot boasts a huge array of birdlife from common residents like wrens, robins and thrushes – to the usual summer migrants like sand martins, swallows and black caps. Along the wooded nature trail, you can find guelder roses and vibrant marsh marigolds spotted around the edges of the ponds, along with an array of labelled tree species from around the world.

Image by Pam Siddons
Photo by Pam Siddons.
Millgate Lane, Manchester M20 2SW
Fri 16 Apr
Rachel Greenwood
Published on:
Fri 16 Apr 2021