A haven for nature enthusiasts and keen horticulturalists, The Channel Islands offer the perfect climate for garden promenades. Guernsey in particular is known for its abundant flora and fauna, with an impressive array of early plant varieties and unusual cultivars found in many Guernsey gardens. Ideally located in the heart of St Peter Port, The Old Government House Hotel and Spa is in fact arranged around its very own idyllic private garden and pool with views out over the harbour and castle, while The Duke of Richmond overlooks the lovely Candie Gardens. But for those keen green-fingered folk looking to uncover the island’s most beautiful corners, we’ve selected the best Guernsey gardens to visit on your next trip.
A magnificent 19th century public flower garden, Candie Gardens provides a picturesque setting for the Guernsey Museum, which can be found amongst the foliage. With beautiful views of the St Peter Port Harbour and the neighbouring islands, this is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon. Take your tea at Café Victoria, where you can admire the stone statue of Victor Hugo (who was once exiled on the island), or attend one of the popular Sunday concerts held at the Victorian bandstand during the summer season.
Developed around a centuries-old farmhouse, the beautiful gardens of Les Videclins feature sculpted lawns, a patio garden, a greenhouse and wild meadows, as well as an array of roses, a variety of grasses and a selection of shrubs. Visitors looking for something a little more rustic can take a long walk in the surrounding woodlands, some of the largest on the island.
Sausmarez Manor Subtropical Gardens
Set within an ancient woodland, the subtropical gardens at Sausmarez Manor feature all kinds of exotic plant life. Come spring, it’s a colourful explosion of bluebells and daffodils, while during the summer you’ll find everything from giant geraniums to palm trees, yams, banana trees, lilies and over 40 species of bamboo. Visitors can explore the winding paths as well as enjoy tea in the old vinery (now a tearoom) by the lake.
Victor Hugo’s Garden
The grounds of Hauteville House (Hugo’s exile home), have been carefully renovated by the City of Paris and include the writer’s United States of Europe Oak – planted by the man himself in 1870 – as well as many fruit trees and even a kitchen garden. Spend an hour or so exploring the grounds and listening to a special Victor Hugo lecture before heading inside into the house.
Victorian Walled Garden at Saumarez Park
Reopened in 2006 after years of neglect, the Victorian Walled Garden at Saumarez Park is among the best Guernsey gardens for foodies. Now a healthy (green) home to a six-bed vegetable garden and a variety of soft fruit, the produce grown here is designed to fit seamlessly into a Victorian diet. The adjoining park and nature trail offer Guernsey’s largest selection of single trees, perfect for early evening ambles.
*Visitors are advised to call ahead to check opening times, as some gardens are open by appointment only.
Header image: © Chris George at Visit Guernsey