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on 21 July 2012
I bought this book as a gift, along with a couple of others relating to days out in the UK. I had some concerns that this book might simply be a glorified version of the National Trust handbook. How wrong I was!

The book is divided into regions of the UK and then subdivided into counties - so it is very easy to find gardens in your area. For each garden there is a brief summary, address, telephone number, website (if applicable)and location details. This is followed by a longer description of the garden - which is easliy enough for you to decide if it is the one for you. At the end there are details of when the gardens are open - many are part of the NGS and therefore only open on certain dates of the year.

In addition there are some wonderful photos (only of some gardens) and a few sections about public gardens and the development and history of gardening - although these only takes up a small part of this book.

In summary - this is a great book, either to inspire days out, or to keep in the car to use to find gardens near to your location. With 547 gardens, it is fair to say there should be something for everyone (although not necessarily those in Northern Ireland which only has 3 gardens detailed). Anywhere else in Britain and Ireland - this is a wonderful book for lovers of gardens of all kinds.
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on 3 February 2013
On first sight this is a well-presented book. It's clearly laid out with sections for different areas of the country which are then subdivided by county. This makes it easy to find gardens in the areas you want. The entries are generally quite clear and informative with info on size, location, access and a few paragraphs describing the garden, as well as contact info for further details. There are some good photographs too and a few general info sections on various topics such as follies, mazes, etc.

It does contain a good selection of gardens, but some of the choices are a little curious and there are some important gardens I feel should have been included. Examples of major omissions are the Eden Project, Furzey Gardens in Hampshire and Regents Park and Capel Manor in London.

Obviously that's just my opinion (though who wouldn't be amazed by the Eden Project?), except that some of the choices for inclusion are gardens only open for a few days a year under the National Gardens Scheme or open only to pre-booked groups, so realistically these are only going to be accessible to a minority of readers. I think maybe the problem is that this book tries to do too many things in too little space. It's trying to give a good selection of well-known, easily accessible gardens which anyone would enjoy, as well as those more obscure gardens which might only be visited by someone with a more specialist interest or someone who lives close enough to visit on a limited number of open days. I'm not saying I don't want to know about those, just that I am not sure this works in a book limited to 500 or so entries, and I ended up feeling that it doesn't really cover either type of garden adequately. To give a couple of examples, if I was on a visit to the North East it tells me about the Garden Cottage in Morpeth, only open for NGS and by appointment, but no mention of Washington Old Hall or Seaton Delaval Hall. Likewise for Wiltshire, no mention of Avebury Manor, but 10 of the gardens listed have very limited opening conditions.

I couldn't find any mention in the book of who had chosen the gardens for inclusion or written the reviews. Perhaps if I had a feel for the personality behind the book, I might find it easier to forgive the quirky choices! But I feel that when a book is presented as Readers Digest guide, I would assume that it's a general tourist book, so is going to give me a fairly comprehensive idea of what to see in what part of the country.

Having said all that, I still think there is a lot to like about this book, but I wouldn't recommend it as a stand alone gardens guide, but will use it alongside one or two others to ensure that I really do get to see the best gardens in any region I visit.
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on 22 April 2012
Amazing photos--really make you want to visit these gardens
Even if this is not possible, you still have some virtual experience of the garden at it's best
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on 29 August 2013
I bought this as I'd borrowed it from the library and decided I must own one! Easy to navigate around the country, this book has delightful pictures and though the descriptions are short they give you a taster of what you might find on a visit. There's good information included, so it's easy to find the places on the internet. I'm about to order another copy as a present for someone.
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on 29 June 2015
This is a good book to have. It covers areas of the UK individually. The only problem I found was that many of the gardens had limited opening times, either by appointment or under the NGS. This did then limit the number which would have a wider range of opening times and therefore access when you decide that you would like to take a day trip out. Those which are NGS or appointment would then have to be planned. It is clearly set out, with descriptive information on each of the gardens, along with a map for each of the country locations which provided an indication of their location
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on 30 June 2013
A beautiful book, good quality paper and print.
A well illustrated comprehensive guide to some of the best gardens in Britain.
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on 2 September 2013
This book covers gardens by region, so useful for holidays and trips away. Useful thorough information on each place.Nice photos
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on 28 January 2015
If you love visiting gardens or just seeing wonderful gardens you will love this book. It gives you great ideas for places to visit especially if on holiday.
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on 3 July 2015
Bought as a gift
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on 18 February 2015
interesting book
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