London & Paris in Spring 2016

London & Paris in Spring 2016 FULLY BOOKED See Chelsea 2017!!!

London and Paris…two of the most iconic cities you will ever visit are waiting for you! I am pleased to present to you our London & Paris in Spring 2016 Tour. Those who have traveled with me before know that each and every tour I create is a bespoke tour, different from each other and filled with unique experiences and gardens.

Add to that new found friends and you have the makings for some incredible memories.

You may come in early into London or stay later in Paris. I have included at the bottom the pre and post tour night prices for the hotels. Just let me know asap as these are very limited … Single Supplements are also very limited.

Please also note that since this tour is busy each day, I would only recommend booking shows on May 26th in London and May 28th in Paris.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with me at


May 23, 2016 Monday

Day of Arrival into London. Make your way to the Millennium Gloucester Hotel. Check in 2 p.m. (early arrivals can store luggage with concierge) 5 Nights Bed and English Breakfast

Millennium Gloucester Hotel located in Kensington

Your standard room includes satellite television, pay per view movies, direct dial telephone, broadband internet connection (chargeable), tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer, mini bar and use of the hotel’s fitness centre and business centre. Concierge is top notch too! Don’t forget you are just across the street from the Gloucester Tube, Sainsbury, Tesco, Boots and great restaurants. There is also a good currency exchange shop close to the hotel. Your hotel is also a short distance to Holland Park, Kensington Gardens and shopping.

Welcome 3 Course Dinner this evening at our hotel.

May 24th Tuesday

Nymans – Three Generations of Love – A garden lovers’ home for all seasons, with an extensive yet intimate garden set around a romantic house and ruins. Guided Tour of Garden & Cream Tea

Sussex and the Weald are a rich source for beautiful gardens and Nymans is one of the best, thanks to the efforts of the Messel family covering the period from 1890 to 1992. The present house and garden reflects most strongly the influence of Leonard Messel and his wife Maud who inherited in 1915 and had three children. One of these was Oliver, one of the most creative theatre designers of his day, whose nephew was Lord Snowdon.

In total three generations of the Messel family have lived at Nymans, from the late 1800’s until 1947 when the house was tragically destroyed by fire. Subsequently the surviving rooms were still used, occasionally to entertain friends and as a base from which to run the garden. Following Col. Messel’s death in 1953, Nymans became one of the first gardens to be transferred to the National Trust. Today the ruined house still provides a romantic background for the garden and the remaining Messel Family rooms are open to the public.

The garden covers approximately 30 acres set on the side of a valley at 500 feet and although partly sheltered by the woods of the Sussex Weald, suffered much damage during the Great Storm of October 1987, loosing 486 mature trees and many of the shrubs. The restoration of the garden continues within the overall plan laid out by Ludwig Messel.

The garden is laid out in a series of rooms the different levels connected by stone steps or grassy slopes, the ‘rooms’ are separated by hedges walls or trees which provide shelter for the rare and exotic plants for which the garden is renowned. The individual gardens include the Wall Garden (the oldest), The Knot Garden, The Rose Garden, The Top Garden, The Sunk Garden, The Pinetum and several others. The garden has been designed to surprise and inspire all year round but as usual is at its very best in the spring and summer.

Discover the newly restored Rock Garden at Nymans in west Sussex, originally constructed around 1900 and inspired by Laurence Michael Parsons’ watercolour that hangs in the house today. Before restoration work began in 2010 this had been an overgrown and densely planted part of Nymans. Now however, it has benefited from a new design created by gardener Nicole, and cleverly incorporates original plants and modern cultivars that complement the further landscape.

Gravetye Manor – William Robinson, the father of the English Flower Garden. Guided Tour

Built in 1598, Gravetye was the home, from 1884 until he died, of a visionary gardener called William Robinson, the pioneer of natural planting in harmony with the landscape, and the garden he created here is a classic of its kind.

Summer 2010 saw the appointment of Tom Coward as Head Gardener. Having worked for 3 years alongside Fergus Garrett at Great Dixter, his experience has proved second to none in tackling this project. The focus will be not only on conserving and re-creating Robinson’s work but also progressing the garden in homage to his experimental style of gardening.

The manor and its gardens are surrounded by nearly 1,000 acres of forest and, in places, some trees reach over the kitchen-garden walls, underlining a strong contrast between the neat and ordered rows of crops within and the beauty of the wild garden outside.

One and a half acres is a relatively large area for a vegetable garden, but, with a busy restaurant space is at a premium. ‘We therefore concentrate most effort on the delicacies that only taste their best direct from the garden-crops such as asparagus, kale and artichokes are so much better when eaten immediately after harvesting.’

‘The other important crop we grow is cut flowers, especially unusual ones that are hard to buy in, such as scented roses. We grow a lot of herbaceous perennials and annuals for cutting and they also appear in the flower-garden borders. The walled garden gives Sue, our head florist, ingredients that add to the originality of her arrangements and link the hotel directly to the garden; the cut-flower plantings are also handy as stock beds, to grow on herbaceous perennials destined for the borders.’

Breakfast Included, Cream Tea Included, Dinner on own

May 25th Wednesday

Pashley Manor Romantic English Landscape Gardens with Grade 1 Listed Timber Framed House – Guided Tour of Gardens

Delight in the sweeping herbaceous borders, elegant rose and historic walled gardens, the productive kitchen garden, enchanting woodland paths and tranquil vistas that form this award winning garden. Mr and Mrs James Sellick are the owners and inhabitants of Pashley Manor, a Grade I listed timber-framed house, dating from 1550 and enlarged in 1720. They opened their gardens to the public in 1992, having brought them to their present splendour with the assistance of the eminent landscape architect the late Anthony du Gard Pasley and their team of gardeners.

It is believed that the first house built on the site in the thirteenth century, by the Passele family, may well have stood on the island that fills the greater part of the largest of three ponds in the garden, now called the ‘Old Moat’. Originally built in 1292 as a moated manor by the de Passele family, it was eventually sold to the Bullen family from Norfolk in 1453. The Bullens, later Boleyns, held the manor until Queen Anne Boleyn’s downfall in 1536 possibly using it as a hunting lodge. It is said that Anne Boleyn stayed here as a child. There are a number of sculptures on display in the gardens, including a sculpture of Anne Boleyn by Philip Jackson, made especially to commemorate the link between the Boleyn family and Pashley Manor. A jewel of a garden.

Sissinghurst Castle Gardens – THE garden created by Vita Sackville-West & Harold Nicolson in the 1930’s Garden Visit on your Own Plus High Tea

Who has not heard of this garden…or Vita Sackville-West. Historic, poetic, iconic; a refuge dedicated to beauty. Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson fell in love with Sissinghurst Castle and created a world renowned garden. Vita Sackville-West, the poet and writer, began transforming Sissinghurst Castle in the 1930s with her diplomat and author husband, Harold Nicolson. Harold’s architectural planning of the garden rooms, and the colourful, abundant planting in the gardens by Vita, reflect the romance and intimacy of her poems and writings.

A stone manor surrounded by a moat was built in the Middle Ages. Two legs of the moat survive – a third leg originally ran where the ‘Moat Walk’ lawn is now. The original building was replaced in the 15th century by a large manor built by the Baker family – related by marriage to the Sackvilles of Knowle. It was let to the Government between 1756 and 1763 as a prison camp for French prisoners-of-war to being a home to the women’s land army. The prisoners were badly treated – as was the site generally, and much was demolished.

Vita and Harold found the place after concern that their Knole property was close to development over which they had no control. They purchased it in 1930 and began constructing the garden we know today. It was first opened to the public in 1938. The garden is in fact a series of some ten separate gardens, all delightfully different. Walls and hedges separate the gardens. The National Trust took over the garden in 1967.

Breakfast Included, High Tea Included, Dinner on own

May 26th Thursday

Chelsea Flower Show plus Show Program

Today you will have a full day to experience Chelsea. Our coach will drop us off in the morning as soon as the gates open and then you are free to return to your hotel on your own at whatever time you choose as the show closes at 8 p.m. I will share with you lots of tidbits on how to make the best of your day on the coach including what things to do if you find yourself leaving Chelsea mid afternoon.

Breakfast Included, Lunch and Dinner on own

May 27th Friday

Munstead Wood – Designed by Edwin Lutyens and Home to Gertrude Jekyll for over 50 years – Guided Tour of Gardens Owned by Sir Robert & Lady Clark  Designed By Edwin Lutyens.

Munstead Wood is important for being Gertrude Jekyll’s own garden. Here she worked out the principles she expounded in her best-known books Wood and Garden (1899) and Colour in the Flower Garden (1908). Her original gardens have now been split into several smaller holdings each in separate ownership, but the main parts are still attached to the house which Lutyens designed in 1896. The wood garden is fairly intact: the views up and down its main path to and from the lawn in front of the house seem just as they were a hundred years ago: birches underplanted mainly with rhododendrons and azaleas. Closer to the house is a block of borders full of good plantings – herbaceous plants, in particular. The nut walk and its nearby borders have been replanted: Sir Robert and Lady Clark, the current owners, have spent many years restoring the garden – and the results are admirable.

Vann Gardens – A magical place and a family that loves sharing it – Guided Tour

Despite writing about informal water gardens, this is believed to be the only water garden Jekyll ever designed, laid out and planted – which makes it a real gem for us!

Nestled in the Surrey countryside near Godalming, this internationally renowned five-acre garden is formed by a series of “rooms“ which surround and complement a family home dating from the 16th century. From the old Cottage Garden with delightfully informal planting in a formal setting, to the robust Pergola of Bargate stone by W.D. Caröe, the Arts and Crafts architect and grandfather of the present owners, to the Water Garden, laid out and planted by Gertrude Jekyll in 1911, and the newly designed and planted Centenary Garden, Vann offers inspiration to expert and amateur gardeners alike. The garden has been featured in numerous magazines, the most recent being Country Life 2014. Daily Telegraph Supplement 2014, Groei & Bloei (Netherlands) 2013, Period Homes and Interiors 2013 and Country Life 2014. Television programs featuring Vann include Grass Roots, Gardeners’ World, Dream Gardens and two episodes of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. The unique Water Garden by Gertrude Jekyll links a succession of small ponds fed by the cascade from the quarter-acre pond, crossed by stone paths and bridges banked with lush vegetation and 1,500 water-loving plants supplied by Miss Jekyll.

Breakfast Included, Lunch and Dinner on own.

May 28th Saturday

We will check out of our London Hotel and take a coach to St Pancreas Station for our journey to Paris, then once in Paris will have a coach transfer from Gare du Nord station to the Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel located on Paris left bank near the Latin Quarter. 4 Nights

Your standard room includes safe, iron and board, shower/tub, hair dryer, bar fridge, coffee/tea, internet for a fee, floor to ceiling windows, air con, phone, t.v. and radio. There is also a fitness justify. Rest of day at Leisure.

Breakfast Included, Lunch and Dinner on own

May 29th Sunday

Musee de L’Orangerie – Finding Monet – Clarity, Simplicity and Harmony

The gallery’s appeal lies in part in a pleasing sense of scale — it doesn’t crowd too much together, but gives the works on offer their due. That offering includes Claude Monet’s masterworks, the Nymphéas (Water Lilies), painted in the artist’s garden at Giverny and donated to the French state. Monet stipulated that the monumental panels be displayed precisely as they are seen today, in twin oval rooms that surround enraptured viewers with his vision. Both monumental and intimate, Water Lilies (Les Nymphéas) are the ultimate expression of Claude Monet’s artistic ideas, an incredible project by a painter who wanted to explore all the variations of light in his garden at Giverny. The paintings are housed in two elliptical rooms, and encourage the visitor to gaze in endless contemplation. After the horror of the First World War, Monet wanted his work to take on this aesthetic and poetic dimension, and provide a haven for peaceful meditation.

The Walter-Guillaume Collection, the intellectual project of art dealer Paul Guillaume and his wife Domenica, is a unique collection illustrating the creative work of the first decades of the 20th century. A friend of Guillaume Apollinaire and Max Jacob, he provided support to Picasso, Soutine, Derain and Marie Laurencin as well as taking an interest in their predecessors, particularly Renoir and Cézanne. Guillaume’s premature death in 1934 prevented his dream of transforming his private collection into a museum of modern art from being realised. His wife completed and modified the collection, reorganising it around works representing modern Classicism and Impressionism, before transmitting it to the French State in 1960. Keep an eye out for Modigliani’s portrayal of the fedora-topped collector Paul Guillaume as modern art’s Nova Pilota (New Helmsman).

Bagatelle Jardins Botaniques – Guided tour

The Parc de Bagatelle, situated at the heart of the Bois de Boulogne, is one of the City of Paris’s four botanical gardens. Created in 1775, the park and its chateau were built in 64 days after a wager between Queen Marie-Antoinette and her brother in-law, the Count of Artois. The formal garden spaces surrounding the château, which was linked to its dependencies by underground tunnels, was expanded with a surrounding park in the naturalistic English landscape style by the Scottish garden-designer Thomas Blaikie, and dotted with sham ruins, an obelisk, a pagoda, primitive hermits’ huts and grottoes. The 19th century Chinese pagoda is just one of the park’s curiosities. Delightful Gardens.

Albert Kahn Museum & Gardens – the Wonderful World of Albert Kahn

‘From every corner of the globe – which still seemed so vast and was not yet fully explored and mapped – Albert Kahn’s teams of cameramen brought back testimonies of human life, in colour photographs and on film. These were not works of reportage or ethnography, nor an attempt to produce works of art. The aim was simply to record human beings in all their diversity, living humble lives worthy of respect. And from this respect would, Kahn hoped, arise the universal peace to which he aspired. Kahn’s lifetime was not a happy one for a pacifist, since it included three terrible wars that involved his homeland. Yet he retained his faith in humanity and believed firmly in his mission, pursuing it to the full.’

‘The turn-of-the-century gardens that mirror his philosophy contain species from all over the world. Thriving today near the Seine, just beyond the Quai du 4 Septembre, are several distinctive ”mini” forests, outlying sections of prairieland and rocky terrain, a rose garden, a formal French garden and a grassy English garden. The justifypiece is the asymmetrical Japanese stroll garden formed by two contrasting settings: a seasonally colorful, sloping ”wet” garden and a more subdued dry tract where visitors may witness a tea ceremony in a traditional Japanese house (created from buildings dismantled and reassembled after a visit to Japan). Here luminaries of the arts and sciences would gather at Kahn’s invitation. The group, known as Autour du Monde, was an organization created by Kahn to promote international cooperation; participants included, among others, Anatole France, Rudyard Kipling, Colette, Albert Einstein, Andre Gide and Rodin.’

Breakfast Included, Lunch and Dinner on own

May 31st Tuesday

This morning after breakfast we meet our local guide to explore Paris. We have packed a lot in this day and will try our best to get through it all!

Le Blancs Vertical – photo stop

Plants have found a home on walls for centuries, but are sometimes incongruous with architecture, often breaking down the structural integrity of a building’s facade. Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Garden System, known as Le Mur Vegetal in French, allows both plants and buildings to live in harmony with one another. The botanist cum vertical landscape designer is probably best known for his gorgeous living wall on the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.

Fondation Louis Vuitton – photo stop – time permitting and dependent on traffic.
In October 1860, after two years of construction work, Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie opened the Jardin d’Acclimatation, thus providing Paris with a landscaped park designed in accordance with the model of English gardens that they so admired, in the Bois de Boulogne. Next to this park is the new Fondation Louis Vuitton. From an initial sketch drawn on a blank page in a notebook to the transparent cloud sitting at the edge of the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne, Canadian born Frank Gehry constantly sought to “design, in Paris, a magnificent vessel symbolizing the cultural calling of France”.

A Tea Time Stop at Le Grand Café Capucines to enjoy a beverage and sweet. Enjoy the sumptuous Art Nouveau backdrop by Jaques Garcia. With its backdrop of mural paintings and objets d’art, glass ceiling, windows and mirrors, this romantic tea house offers an ideal setting to sit back and enjoy a cup.

La Grande Mosquee de Paris Garden

The Grande Mosquée de Paris appears as daunting to some; inaccessible behind high walls, shrouded in mystery beneath its clay tiled roof, but the visitors who step through the keyhole-shaped door unlock another world. Once inside, the high walls provide solace from the hustle outside and the red tiled roof shields guests from the encroaching bustle. Inaugurated in 1926 as a way to honor the 100,000 Muslims who fought for France in the First World War, the tea room, restaurant, hammam (Turkish bath) and even the Grande Mosquée de Paris itself are open to anyone looking for a little quiet and peace. The Mosquée has a history of offering succor to those in need. During the Second World War the property provided sanctuary for between 500 and 1600 Jewish people waiting for the papers that would permit them to flee to freedom in Free France or abroad. There are two main courtyards inside, both offering a retreat from the fast-paced rat race you’ve just escaped. The first area, off of the mosque itself, contains stunning mosaic work from Morocco that fills the walls, whereas the second area is so lush a garden you’ll swear you’ve stumbled into a mirage. While you won’t be permitted to enter the prayer rooms, the courtyards you’ll wander through are stunning.

The musée Rodin – Paris

“Nature and Antiquity are the two great sources of life for an artist. In any event, Antiquity implies nature. It is its truth and its smile.” (Rodin)

The Hôtel Biron is a jewel of Parisian rocaille architecture, with its park that covers nearly three hectares. The grounds were then divided into a rose garden, north of the Hôtel Biron, and a large ornamental garden, to the south, while a terrace and hornbeam hedge backing onto a trellis concealed a relaxation area, at the bottom of the garden. Pierced by three openings, this trellis reflects the design and proportions of the three bay windows on the mansion’s garden façade. Two thematic walks were also laid out: in the east, plants thrive amidst the rockery in the “Garden of Orpheus”, and, in the west, water is omnipresent in the “Garden of Springs”. –

Farewell 3 course dinner at hotel – Tonight we shall gather together for our last meal sharing good times and fond memories.

June 1st - Day of Departure.


  • 5 Nights 4 Star Millennium Gloucester Hotel London
  • 4 Nights 4 Star Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel Paris
  • All Breakfasts
  • Welcome Dinner – 3 course with wine and water
  • Cream Tea at Nymans Gardens
  • Afternoon Tea at Sissinghurst Castle Gardens
  • Coffee/Tea and Dessert at Le Grand Café Capucines
  • Farewell Dinner – 3 course with wine and water
  • London Gardens – Nymans (Guided), Gravetye Manor (Guided), Pashley
    Manor (Guided), Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Munstead Wood (Guided),
    Vann Gardens.
  • Chelsea Flower Show Ticket – Full day including Program
  • Eurostar ticket from London to Paris
  • Coach Transfers to St Pancras Station and from Gare Du Nord
  • Paris Gardens – Bagatelle Jardins Botaniques (Guided), Fondation Claude
    Monet Giverny, Le Jardin de Plume (Guided)
  • Musee de L’Orangerie, Albert Kahn Museum & Gardens, Musee Rodin,
    Le Grande Mosquee de Paris Gardens
  • Photo stops at Patrick Le Blancs Vertical Wall at Branley Museum and
    Fondation Louis Vuitton (as noted)
  • Drivers Tips and if Guides, their tips as well
  • Incredible Memories!

London & Paris in Spring 2016

May 23rd – June 1st, 2016

LAND only 2849 GBP p/p sharing or double
SINGLE Supplement 834 GBP if you wish your own room
NOTE – Tour is priced in British Pounds

See Highlights Box for all inclusions on this tour. This tour requires a minimum of 15 guests.

Do not book air until you have been advised that the tour is a go.


Subject to changes….