Visit Us

We are located on the west side of Warwick, beside the Racecourse.

To find us:

Please see the directions below.

What to see:

The sixteen garden plots have a variety of plants and designs, with summerhouses, and there is a Victorian-style Glasshouse.
For a Plan of the gardens click here.

To see some examples of plants looking good during the year, click here. See below for more details of the seasons.

There are eight historic Victorian summerhouses. More information can be found here.


 

Opening Times

  • Winter Opening Times

    Winter opening hours
    November to March
    Gardens – Open Mon – Fri,
    11 am – 4 pm
    Last Gardens entry, 3.30 pm
    Closed Sat – Sun
    Tearoom – Closed

  • Summer Opening Times

    Summer opening hours
    April to October
    Open Every Day
    11 am – 5 pm
    Last Gardens entry, 4.30 pm
    Tearoom – Open: Sat, Sun and Bank Holiday Mon’s

  • Admission Prices

  • Admission Charges

    Adults £4
    Children 5-16yrs £1, includes garden trail
    Children under 5 yrs free
    Members free
    All children must be accompanied by an adult.
    Dogs (except assistance dogs) are not allowed.
    Members of HCG & RHS have free admission.

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    Apples at Hill Close Gardens

    The collection of historic apples is one of the outstanding horticultural features at the Gardens.

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    Apples, apples, apples…..

    Autumn and Apple Day always bring visitors to see the historic apple collection

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    Since 1856 apples, pears and plums were known to have been grown in the Gardens as well as soft fruit. Now there are more than 60 different varieties in the Gardens. By the 1990s, the trees were totally overgrown with swags of ivy and brambles. Noreen Jardine, assisted by Geoff Croft and many volunteers, started a programme of clearing and restoring these trees to bring them back to growth and fruit bearing.

    The next task was to identify them and this was pursued with energy and persistence by Noreen and eventually most of the trees were named. There is one which has yet to be named. More varieties were planted in 2002 and subsequent years.

    The season starts with the earliest dessert apple ‘Beauty of Bath’ 1864, followed by the small deep-red ‘Devonshire Quarrendon’ 1676. The early cookers include ‘Arthur Turner’ 1850 and there is the dual purpose ‘James Grieve’ 1893.
    Some of the mid-season apples are ‘Queen’ 1858, ‘Newton Wonder’ 1870 and ‘Peasgood Nonsuch’ 1853, a very large dual purpose apple. ‘Lord Derby’ 1862 and ‘Wyken Pippin’ 1703 are late in the season, which finishes with the russets ‘Golden Knob’ 1600s, which last well into the New Year.


    Spring at Hill Close Gardens

    In spring and early summer the fruit blossom and spring bulbs are at their best.

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    Visiting the Gardens in spring and early summer

    Late spring is a lovely time to visit the Gardens when the structure of the site is easy to see, and the views over to the racecourse are more in evidence. Walking round the different gardens, each with their own individuality but all with a mixture of grass, fruit, vegetables and flowers, it is easy to imagine how they were more than 100 years ago.

    The stark silhouettes of the fruit trees soon become covered in blossom, first plums, then pears and finally the pinker shades of apple blossom. In particular ‘Arthur Turner’, a cooker, and ‘Ellison’s Orange’ are known for their excellent blossom. The show of spring bulbs starts with the crocus, followed by the Victorian daffodils and concludes with pale blue camassias under the fruit trees. The formal bedding in front of the glasshouse is a riot of colour with wallflowers, primulas, daffodils and tulips. Spring sees the start of the vegetable season and throughout the gardens, the first seeds are being sown: broad beans, possibly Bunyards Exhibition, lettuces, and potatoes including Pink Fir Apple, being planted. There are many varieties of rhubarb including Victoria, Stockbridge Arrow and Timperley Early.

    Throughout the gardens there are primroses, cowslips and oxlips including the old fashioned Wanda Primrose, many varieties of geums, and narcissus. In some gardens the air will be perfumed with the scent of the short lived perennial white stock Matthiola incana f.alba.

    In April and May the main auricula theatre and a smaller one, on a wall near by, display a wide range of auriculas. When not on display, the auriculas are kept in the cold frames on the north side of the glasshouse. The auricula ‘Queen Alexandra’, a lovely hardy pale yellow, grows happily outside in the gardens. It is always a surprise that some auriculas have a very sweet scent.
    After the Bank Holiday the gardens come into the glory of the early summer with the flowering of Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus, oriental poppies, irises including an exciting selection of Iris sibericas, and Dianthus, with D. ‘Mrs Sinkins’ looking fat and blousy. The graceful oenotheras especially O.stricta ‘Sulphurea’, penstemons and kniphofias mark the progression into high summer.

    A walk through the Victorian styled glasshouse is the opportunity to see the tender decorative plants such as scented geraniums, heliotropes and the blue flowered Tibouchina. The glasshouse is used for propagation of dahlias such as the ‘Bishop of Landaff’ and there are early sowings of vegetables including the lovely pink and white flowered runner bean ‘Painted Lady’. Spare plants are available for sale.

    The nursery has been developed near the glass house and is stocked with plants, many of which grow in the Gardens. When fruit and vegetables are available, they are on sale when the Gardens are open.


    Summer at Hill Close Gardens

    Summer is the time to see the prolific displays of flowers and buy produce grown by our gardeners.

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    Visiting the Gardens in High Summer

    Summer is a time when the Gardens show the results of all the early work and preparation. The beds by the glasshouse terrace are in full bloom with massed planting giving varying colour schemes. Those near the Centre change each season. The other plots reflect the individuality of each plot, sweet peas in some, cosmos and dahlias in others, soft fruit in others and vegetables in most. Blousy oriental poppies give vibrant colour which is followed by phlox and aconitum. These are slowly followed by the dahlias, the pinks and mauves of the asters and the colourful out door border chrysanthemums and schizostylis.

    The glasshouse comes into its summer colourful and exotic glory, once all the half hardy plants and vegetables are planted outside. This year there will be a selection of decorative peppers, the heliotropes will be struggling with the heat (see them in March when they are in full bloom.) The hedichiums and eucomis are in flower, and the enlarged collection of sweet leaved geraniums is a reminder of the old fashioned attraction of these plants.

    The cutting border is a mixture of late bulbs, dahlias and annuals, cornflowers calendulas, and sunflowers and provides flowers for sale when the Gardens are open.

    The summer is the time to see the wide range of vegetables grown in the gardens including, broad beans, runner beans including the old ‘Painted Lady’ and French beans and many different salad plants. There is also the opportunity to see onions, shallots, leeks and carrots grown by methods used for exhibition purposes.

    Herbs are grown in nearly all the plots with a mixed herb border in two of the gardens. The range is wide with decorative thymes, selections of mints, tansy, French sorrel and many more.

    Rhubarb, ‘Victoria’ and ‘Timperley Early’ started the fruit season with gooseberries and currents, black, red and the dessert white ones to following on. August sees the start of the top fruit with plums, mainly ‘Warwickshire Drooper’, followed by the apples ‘Beauty of Bath’ and then by ‘Devonshire Quarrendon’, a delicious red eater. 


    Autumn at Hill Close Gardens

    Early autumn is one of the best times to visit the gardens. See asters and chrysanthemums at their best.

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    Visiting the Gardens in early autumn

    Early autumn is one of the best times in the gardens and visitors are surprised by the colour and variety of plants and by the harvest of pears and apples.

    The formal bedding outside the Victorian style glass house reflects the Victorians love of carpet bedding of annuals and half hardy annuals and will be replaced by different planting schemes each year.

    These are followed by Aster amellus, A.sedifolius and A.frikartii which started to flower in August and carry on until mid-October. Others such as A.n.a. ‘Crimson Queen’ are complemented by the pale yellow Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’. There are many other asters such as the A.n.a. ‘John Davies’ bred by a member of the local Plan Heritage (NCCPG) group. Aster ‘White Climax’, a vigorous, tall and very elegant plant, brings the season to an end in November.

    Cottage chrysanthemums, like dahlias, are coming back in fashion and Hill Close Gardens is an excellent place to see them in their glory as there are more than twenty different cultivars in the gardens. You will fi nd ‘Perry’s Peach’, ‘Cottage lemon’, ‘Wedding Day’ as well as ‘Mrs Jessie Cooper No1’ which is reputed to have been handed over the fence in many gardens in Badsey.

    The last burst of colour comes with the salmon Schizostylis and pink Nerines, some hardy, and others which need the shelter of the glasshouse.

    Many of these plants, some uncommon, are available for sale from the nursery as well as seed from some of the flowers in the Gardens. (See next pages for the list of chrysanthemums and asters growing in the gardens.)

    The apples are a wonderful feature of the Gardens and are now fruiting well after being brought back to fruit bearing after years of neglect. August saw the ‘Beauty of Bath’ and the ‘King of the Pippens’ and many of the 63 different varieties in the Gardens ripening in September. The russet ‘Golden Knob’ is one of the last to be gathered and needs to be kept for a few weeks before it is ready to eat.

    Apple Day in October is the highlight of the fruit season and a time to taste and buy some of the more unusual varieties. It is also an opportunity to bring apples in for identification by an expert from Pershore College.

    Vegetables and herbs are still being grown especially the old variety of runner bean ‘Painted Lady’ with its beautiful pink and white flowers and good cropping of long beans. Leeks and onions are soon to be harvested.

    Chrysanthemum Collection

    Many of these chrysanthemums have been donated by Judy Baker, a Plant Heritage Collection Holder or obtained through the Plant Heritage Plant Exchange scheme.

    There will be a range of these plants for sale in the nursery.  


    Winter at Hill Close Gardens

    Visiting the gardens in the winter is the best time to see the structure of the individual gardens.

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    Visiting the Gardens in winter

    Visiting the gardens in the winter is the best time to see the structure of the individual gardens with the silhouettes of the many fruit trees. The very late cultivars of the border chrysanthemums are often in flower well into December. The best are the red ‘Cousin Joan’, the yellow ‘Capel Manor’ and the double pink ‘Vagabond Prince’. ‘Wedding Day’ which by definition is white although it starts off with creamy apricot buds is one of the last to flower.

    Immediately after Christmas come the snowdrops followed closely by aconites, hellebores and dwarf irises. The majestic leucojums and crocus follow on quickly as do the daffodils, many are historic varieties.

    Hill Close Gardens is the place to see more than 120+ varieties of snowdrops; some are in flower early Jan and others not until late February, There are the full doubles, including the Greatorex Doubles and many different singles, some with green or yellow on the tips of the petals. There are a few which have a perfume of honey especially g. ‘S Arnott’.

    There is a special border for pre 1900 snowdrops starting with the early g. ‘Beatrix Stanley’ and finishing with some late species including ‘April Fool’. Another border is devoted to post 1900 cultivars. These include ‘Warwickshire Gemini’, the large single elwesii which has the occasional stem with two flower heads. This snowdrop has a special place in Hill Close Gardens as it was named by Noreen Jardine who did so much for the
    restoration of the flowers and fruit trees at Hill Close.

    The Snowdrop Weekend in mid February with its exhibition of snowdrops is the high light of the season. There is the opportunity to examine and notice the many subtle differences of snowdrops in the display mounted in the warmth and comfort of the Centre as well as walking round the garden to see them in situ.

    After that there are some old varieties of daffodils including the delicate n. ‘Mrs Langtry’, n. ‘White Lady’ which was grown for the cut flower trade and the well named n. ‘Lucifer’. By the end of winter there is the promise of fruit blossom, first the plums and then the pears. Apple trees are the last to flower in April, the period lasting for over three weeks. 


    Hill Close Gardens Orchard

    The Gardens today have inherited a fascinating variety of fruit trees planted over the years by previous owners. They include pears and plums as well as apples.

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    Hill Close Gardens Orchard

    Apples

    The apples are a wonderful feature of the Gardens and are now fruiting well after being brought back to fruit bearing after years of neglect. August saw the ‘Beauty of Bath’ and the ‘King of the Pippens’ and many of the 63 different varieties in the Gardens ripening in September. The russet ‘Golden Knob’ is one of the last to be gathered and needs to be kept for a few weeks before it is ready to eat.

    Apple Day in October is the highlight of the fruit season and a time to taste and buy some of the more unusual varieties.

    Pears
    Although the selection of pears cannot match that of the apples, it is just as interesting. Everyone knows the ‘Conference’ and the ‘Comice’ but what about ‘Louise, Bonne de Jersey’, or ‘Pitmaston Duchess’, or ‘Marie Louise’? And then there’s ‘Beurre de Jongue’, ‘Bussoch’, and an ‘unknown’ variety on plot 19.

    Locations

    Beurre Hardy ………………………. Plots 12 & 25
    Bussoch ………………………………. Plot 24
    Conference ………………………….. Plots 18, 19 & 25
    Doyenne du Comice ……………… Plot 31
    Louise, Bonne de Jersey ……….. Plot 22
    Marie Louise ……………………….. Plot 25
    Pitmaston Duchess ………………. Plot 22
    Unknown ……………………………. Plot 23
    William’s Bon Cretien …………… Plots 16 & 22
    Worcester Black Pear ……………. Plot 18


    Directions

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    By car
    The Gardens lie between Warwick Racecourse and the Town. By car, follow signs for Warwick, leaving the M40 at Junction 15. Follow signs for the Racecourse, and pass through the main Racecourse gate off Friars Street. Turn right and you will see the “Pay & display” car park (two hours free – obtain ticket from machine) and signs for the entrance to the Gardens. There is good access and turning space for coaches. SatNav CV34 6HF

    On foot
    The route from Warwick’s Market Square is down Market Street and across Bowling Green Street. Market Street is also the stop for visitors arriving by bus. From the bus station, cross the road at the pedestrian crossing towards the multi-storey car park (known as the “Linen Street car park”). At the corner of the car park turn left down Linen Street. At the very bottom of Linen Street turn left again and walk along the edge of the racecourse till you reach the gates of the Gardens which are on your left immediately after the car park ticket dispensing machine.

    By train
    From Warwick station walk through Priory Park and past St Mary’s Church to Market Square and the route as above.

    By bike
    National Cycling Network Route 41 (the Lias Line) from Stratford-upon-Avon to Rugby passes the Gardens entrance. There is parking for bikes inside.

    Access
    Disabled access is from the Racecourse entrance. There are two specially designed disabled routes but much of the site is accessible by wheelchair.

    Group bookings
    Groups of 10 and over can visit the gardens at any time throughout the year for guided tours. The charge is £8.40 a head to include entrance, a guide and tea and cake in the Centre. This is an opportunity to learn about the history and restoration of the gardens with their rich variety of Victorian fruit and flowers, the design and building of the sustainable Hill Close Centre. For further information contact the Centre Manager on tel. 01926 493339 or email centremanager@hcgt.org.uk.