A flagship garden of the National Trust, the gardens were created by Major Lawrence Johnston at the beginning of the 20th century.
Paths lead off to various ‘rooms’, each separate from each other. Explore Mrs. Winthrop’s Garden, the Old Garden, the Bathing Pool Garden, the Pillar Garden with its vast yews set over 3 terraces, White Garden and the famous Red Border and gazebos.
The gardens can be busy at weekends and are closed on some days – check the website for details.
National Trust members visit for free.
The house and hamlet of Hidcote Bartrim were bought in 1907 by Gertrude Winthrop for her son Lawrence Waterbury Johnston. Johnston was dedicated to gardening and was elected a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society in 1904.
Johnston financed several exploratory plant tours and accompanied the plant hunter George Forrest on a trip to China. However, Forrest was not impressed by Johnson’s habit of spending too much time ‘gadding around with Mrs Clerk and others’.
Johnston opened the gardens at Hidcote 2-3 times a year for charity. But with the onset of the Second World War and the death of his Head Gardener, Frank Adams, Johnstone decided to give the gardens to the National Trust.
However with no endowment, the Trust was unwilling to accept the offer. They were persuaded otherwise by James Lees-Milne and Vita Sackville-West.
After Johnstone’s death in 1958, the National Trust made several changes to the gardens and replanted most of the borders.