With such wonderful natural scenery in the region, it’s no wonder that the most beautiful gardens in South Devon are about working with nature, enhancing rather than competing with the local environment. From civic public spaces like Royal Avenue Gardens in Dartmouth to the formal, landscaped grounds of Dartington Hall, you’ll be amazed at the variety of South Devon gardens for you to explore, as well as how perfectly they complement their surroundings.
Whether you’re a keen horticulturalist or just eager to get out and enjoy the colour and splendour of these gardens in the fresh air, you’ll find no shortage of outdoor spaces to enjoy.
Here are some of our favourite gardens in South Devon.
Royal Avenue Gardens, Dartmouth
On the Quay in the heart of the historic maritime town of Dartmouth, you’ll find some of the most beautiful gardens in South Devon. For many years, Royal Avenue Gardens was adorned mainly with flower beds in what Dartmouth Green Partnerships describe as a ‘Victorian-style’ approach, but more recently it has shifted towards a more sustainable mix of seasonal and permanent plants.
In 2015, a Japanese-style garden area was introduced, and other popular spots are the fountain by the entrance to the gardens, and the model ship made from flowers. In the summer, visitors either take advantage of the many benches dotted around Royal Avenue Gardens or lie out on the lawn, watching the world go by.
Overbeck’s House and Garden, Salcombe
The National Trust property ‘Overbecks’ in Salcombe, is the former home of inventor and scientist Otto Overbeck. Touring the gardens is simultaneously like travelling around the world and stepping back in time, given that the garden’s history dates back to 1913 and includes many rare plants from all over the globe. You can also enjoy unsurpassed views over the picturesque Salcombe estuary from the garden, and follow your stroll with a delicious Devonshire Cream Tea in the tea room.
Greenway, near Galmpton
On the wooded banks of a beautiful stretch of the River Dart, opposite picturesque Dittisham, you’ll find Greenway house and gardens, the former home of the late Dame Agatha Christie. These informal gardens blend beautifully with the local environment, with flower displays, a fernery and large lawn area, surrounded by woodland and criss-crossed with winding paths.
Free garden tours, lasting around 40 minutes, are offered by the National Trust staff at 2 pm every day.
Find out more about all three National Trust-managed properties in South Devon in this blog article.
Dartington Gardens, near Totnes
The Dartington Hall Estate near Totnes sits at the top of the South Hams region. The Grade 2 listed gardens feature a beautifully maintained tiltyard, colourful seasonal borders, a yew tree over 1,500 years old and a Henry Moore Sculpture, as well as breathtaking views of the surrounding South Devon countryside.
Walk through the courtyard to appreciate the architecture of the estate’s beautifully restored centrepiece, and why not stop at the White Hart or Roundhouse Café for something to eat?
See lots of photos and learn more about the rich history of Dartington here.
Kingsbridge in Bloom
Since 2007, the historic market town of Kingsbridge has been taking part in the annual ‘South West in Bloom’ competition with great success. Over the years the town has won several Gold Awards. Indeed, in 2014 Kingsbridge was crowned joint regional Champion of Champions, sharing the accolade with Truro. Subsequently they were invited to take part in the national competition – ‘Britain in Bloom’.
This year, the team of volunteers that keeps Kingsbridge looking so beautiful will have to wait until 6th October before they learn the results of this year’s competition, the ninth time they have entered.
This map, produced for the Kingsbridge in Bloom team, illustrates the areas the volunteers focus on when making the town look so special.
Where to stay for garden-lovers
For those looking to book a luxury self-catering holiday property with its own well-kept gardens, Coast & Country Cottages has a fabulous choice of accommodation, including Spring Barn, 4 Bolberry Court, Hope Cove (sleeps 10).
Bring your whole family to this luxury, pet friendly barn conversion this summer – the perfect base for exploring the South Devon coast and countryside. This VisitEngland Five Star awarded property is situated in beautiful gardens, just a 10-minute drive from popular Salcombe.
Enjoy long walks along the nearby South West Coast Path, before enjoying complimentary use of the leisure centre in Kingsbridge.