Explore the pretty parkland that comprises the country’s largest private collections of trees and shrubs, and enjoy a one-night stay in the Cotswolds at a choice of three Epicurean Collection inns nearby. Dinner and breakfast are included. Make your way to Batsford Arboretum and exchange your voucher for entry to this impressive arboretum and woodland garden set on 22 hectares. The collection, which is now managed by a charitable trust, was set up in 1886 by Algernon Freeman-Mitford, the grandfather of the famous Mitford sisters, who had travelled extensively through Asia. This explains why it has an emphasis on species from the Far East — mainly Japanese maples, magnolias and pines — and is home to the National Collection of Japanese flowering cherries.
Conservation is high on the agenda: many Red Data species that are extinct in the wild are grown here, and it has a selection of some of the most endangered Chilean conifers thanks to its participation in the International Conifer Conservation Project, which is run by the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.
The collection also has several UK champion trees, famed for their size, and it has such a wide variety of species that there is interest — and colour — all year round. There’s an extensive events programme, so do check in advance to book your visit according to your specific botanical interests.
And don’t miss the chance to stock up on all your favourite plants in the plant centre before you head home.