NEW YORK -- VisitBritain is pulling out all the stops to show
visiting garden-tour enthusiasts a "bloomin' " good time in 2004,
designated the Year of Gardening by the U.K.'s Royal Horticultural
As Britain's legendary gardens and tradition of horticulture are
a major draw for U.S. visitors, the tourism board released the
Britain's Gardens guide, available in print and online
Rob Franklin, executive vice president for the Americas, said
that VisitBritain "recently refocused its marketing strategy to tap
into potential visitors' lifestyle interests, and we know gardens
are a key factor that motivate Americans of all ages to travel to
The free, 46-page guide includes information on events and
festivals; insider tips from British gardeners; garden tours and
educational courses; and seasonal information on gardens in
England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Event listings include scores of happenings organized by the
RHS, which will launch the year -- its 200th anniversary -- in a
Feb. 16 ceremony at London's RHS Horticultural Halls.
Tourwise, Litchfield, Conn.-based Expo Garden Tours offers six
garden-themed departures to Britain, including four that stop at
the Chelsea Flower Show. For example, the seven-night English
Country Gardens and Chelsea tour -- priced at $3,836 per person,
double, with air or $2,858, land-only -- runs May 21 to 29 and
includes hotel; daily breakfast, three dinners and one tea; ground
transportation and admissions; and private garden visits.
Call (860) 567-0322 or visit www.expogardentours.com.
For its part, Maupintour is offering a nine-day English Social
Season package -- priced from $2,689 per person -- that pairs a
visit to the RHS Gardens at Wisley with stops at the Chelsea or
Hampton Court flower shows, depending on departure date. For more
information, call (800) 255-4266 or visit www.maupintour.com.
Virgin Vacations is offering a six-night Chelsea Flower Show
package, departing May 22 and priced from $919 per person, with
air, when booked by April 1. Call (888) 937-8474 or visit www.virginvacations.com.
Other operators offering garden tours to Britain follow:
• The British Connection; phone: (404) 373-1420.
• The English Experience Travels; phone: (215) 699-6863; Web: www.english-experience.com.
• Huron Valley Travel; phone: (800) 392-6869; Web: www.huronvalleytravel.com.
• Coopersmith's One of a Kind Tours, phone; (415) 669-1914; Web:
• Copper Beech Garden Tours; phone: (864) 582-1498; Web: www.copper-beech.com.
For copies of the VisitBritain garden guide, call (877)
899-8391, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.visitbritain.com/usagardens.
To contact reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].