The Saville Gardens are one of England's great garden treasures. Established in the 1930's, it is located in amongst the Crown Estate of Great Windsor Park and offers 35 acres of informal parkland walks, delightful woodlands, waterways and intensely colourful formal gardens.
Many visitors may not realise that The Saville Gardens offers such a full botanical experience and are possibly just expecting it to be just an extension of the Great Windsor Park. But the founder, Sir Eric Savill, ensured that this would be a showcase for the widest range of English style plantings within a compact area that is easily walked by all ages.
It was a great vision and along with a fair bit of influence from the Royal Gardener in Chief (Prince Charles) the gardens have grown to include one of the most spectacular rose gardens you're likely to see anywhere and a large glasshouse named after his mother - the Queen Elizabeth Temperate House.
Another new element is the main entrance building which although offering excellent amenity is awful to look at externally while being quite intriguing internally.
But its the plants and planting combinations that make Savill stand out, combined with the gently undulating landscape and extensive use of water to set the plants off to their best.
The gardens were built in among stands of existing mature trees so although a relatively young garden (in English terms) it combines some superb shrubs that are contrasted by towering trees, creating its own micro-climate. The woodland walks are the main beneficiary and are considered to be among the best anywhere in the world.
This is also a good place to see Bog Gardens at their best, with plenty of meandering waterways that support a wide range of moisture loving plants like Swamp Cypress, Hosta, Iris, Gunnera, Ligularia and Polygonum.
The spring shrub collection is one of the best with wonderful displays of Rhododendron, Azalea, Camellias and Magnolia, while the Rock garden feature a lot of very colourful low growing alpine plants.
In summer you'll see some of the best mixed herbaceous borders that artfully combine annuals, perennials, foliage plants and grasses that are delightful to wander slowly through.
But for this reviewer, the Rose Garden was the highlight of the visit. It is huge and quite contemporary in its design with a curving walkway that gently elevates to a point where the viewer can see the swirling patterns of beds beneath at their very best - paler colours on the outer, gradating to the richer and vibrant colours near the centre. Its a work of art and the rose choice and vigour are an inspiration to any gardener.
This is a garden for all seasons and autumn in particular is one of the best times to visit thanks to the huge array of trees and shrubs that turn to rich shades of golden orange and russet red as blooming summer fades towards winter.
Savill is not often listed near the top of Great British Garden visits - but it should be. This place offers so much and you'll enjoy a day out here time after time, thanks to the excellence of design and plantsmanship on display.
Author: Bob Saunders.
Gallery Cafe: Serves teas, coffee and soft drinks along with homemade pastries, cakes and biscuits in a quiet location
Savill Garden Kitchen: A wide selection of light lunches and meals to suit all tastes, specialising in wood-fired pizza along with Great British food fare like Bangers and Mash and Fish and Chips. All to be then finished off with some quintessentially British puddings like Eton Mess, Bread and Butter Pudding and Banana Splits.
Gift Shop:The Savill Garden Gift Shop supports British manufacturers, offering gifts evocative of an idyllic country lifestyle alongside a range of plants and garden accessories from the Royal Gardens.
Disabled Access: Even terrain is suitable for wheelchairs and electric scooters and carers enjoy free entry. There are dedicated parking spaces for disabled visitors and toilets specially equipped in the main entrance building.
Dogs: Allowed in entrance building but not the gardens.
Accessible from J13 of M25 via the A30 and J6 of the M4 via the A308 towards Windsor.
Follow brown tourist road signs showing ‘The Royal Landscape’, ‘The Savill Garden’ or a flower symbol.
Approx. 4 miles/15 mins drive from Windsor town centre by road.
The car park entrance is on Wick Lane. Sat nav postcode - TW20 0UJ.