Gardens of England Tour

Gardens of London and Southeast England
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Join us for a Journey to Selected Gardens of London and Southeast England, May 14 - 24, 2015

Tour led by Kaizad Irani, award-winning landscape architect and Parkland horticulture professor.

Day 1: Transatlantic flight from Chicago to London

Thu May 14
TBD: Coach to O’Hare departs from Parkland College P.M. flight leaves Chicago O’Hare ORD (in-flight meals)
Day 2: Arrival/London
Fri May 15 A.M. arrival at London Heathrow Airport LHR
  • Services of local assistant for airport meet and greet (sufficient time allowed for exchanging money).
  • Visit to Wisley Gardens, the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society.
    Wisley captures the imagination with richly planted borders, luscious rose gardens, and state-of-the-art new glasshouse. Gifted to the Society in 1903, Wisley has evolved into a world-class garden. In the trials fields, the finest flowers and vegetables are identified. Elsewhere in the garden, cultivation techniques are tested, and a series of model gardens answers the needs of a variety of conditions. Wisley was voted Britain’s Favourite Garden in the BBC Countryfile Magazine 2013 Awards.
  • Drive from Woking to hotel in Tunbridge Wells: Check-in; free time to relax and unwind. Welcome dinner is included.
  • Overnight / Royal Tunbridge Wells
Day 3: The Southeast
Sat May 16 Breakfast at hotel
  • Short drive to Dixter House and Gardens (aka ‘Great Dixter’) near Hastings.
  • The Manor House at Great Dixter is first recorded in 1220, but the present building is much later created from three houses between the mid-15th century with additions completed as recently as 1912. The earliest surviving part of the house, the Great Hall, dates from about the 1450s. Nathaniel Lloyd purchased Dixter and its grounds in 1910 for £6,000 and employed English architect Edwin Lutyens to restore the house and design the gardens. Christopher Lloyd, plantsman and gardening writer, was born at Great Dixter in 1921. Lloyd returned to Great Dixter permanently in 1954, when he opened the gardens to the public and began running it as a nursery. The garden became his lifelong passion until his death in 2006.
  •  Lunch is on your own.
  • Sissinghurst Castle Garden
    Sissinghurst is a magnificent garden in the ruin of an Elizabethan house, set in the middle of its own woods, streams, and farmland, with long views on all sides across the fields and meadows of the Kentish landscape. When Harold Nicolson, the writer and diplomat, and Vita Sackville-West, poet, novelist, and gardener, first came here in 1930, Sissinghurst was dripping in its own inheritance; it had been a medieval manor house and was visited by Queen Elizabeth in the 16th century before falling into ruins and being mistreated for nearly 300 years.
  • Dinner is on your own.
  • Overnight / Royal Tunbridge Wells
Day 4: The Southeast
Sun May 17 Breakfast at hotel
  • A morning visit is planned at Notcutts Garden Center in Tunbridge Wells.
  • Lunch is on your own.
  • After lunch, visit nearby Pashley Manor and Gardens in nearby Ticehurst.
  • Pashley Manor is a quintessential English garden located on the Sussex and Kent border in the heart of Southeast England’s garden country. Pashley offers a sumptuous blend of romantic landscaping, imaginative plantings, and fine old trees, fountains, springs, and large ponds. Mr. and Mrs. James Sellick are the owners and inhabitants of Pashley Manor, a Grade I listed timber-framed house, dating from 1550 and enlarged in 1720. They opened their gardens to the public in 1992, having brought them to their present splendour with the assistance of eminent landscape architect the late Anthony du Gard Pasley and their team of gardeners.
  • The third visit of the day is at Squerryes Court near Westerham.
  • Dinner is on your own.
  • Overnight / Royal Tunbridge Wells
Day 5: The Southeast > Ipswich area
Mon May 18 Breakfast at hotel
  • On the way to the Ipswich area a stop is scheduled near Colchester for visiting the Beth Chatto Gardens.
    The Beth Chatto Gardens began in 1960. From an overgrown wasteland with poor gravel soil and boggy hollows it has been transformed into an informal garden harmonizing with the surrounding countryside.
  • Lunch is on your own.
  • The afternoon will be dedicated to a visit of Thompson and Morgan Seed Company in Ipswich.
  • Dinner at hotel or local restaurant is included.
  • Overnight / Bury St Edmunds / Ipswich area
  • Beth Chatto Gardens
Day 6: Ipswich area
Tue May 19 Breakfast at hotel
  • After breakfast a visit will be arranged to nearby Howard Nurseries in Wortham, Norfolk.
    Howard Nurseries was founded as a partnership in 1969 between David Howard and Nick Kooij, son of a Boskoop nurseryman. They had a dream, many years of practical experience, a few stock plants, and half an acre of poor, rented land. The nursery has steadily grown and now covers over 150 acres, making it one of the foremost perennial producers in Great Britain. A portion of the land is either fallow or in agricultural crops as part of a crop rotation program.
  • Lunch is on your own.
  • The afternoon will be spent at Bressingham Gardens.
  • Dinner is on your own.
  • Overnight / Bury St Edmunds / Ipswich area
Day 7: Ipswich area > London
Wed May 20 Breakfast at hotel
  • Short drive from Bury St Edmunds to Cambridge; sightseeing with local, licensed guide.
    Cambridge brings many images to mind: the breathtaking view of King’s College Chapel from across the river Cam, the rich intricacy of Gothic architecture, students cycling to lectures, and lazy summer punting on the River Cam. Cambridge combines its role as a historic city with a world-renowned university and, in more recent years, an internationally acknowledged center for technology and science. The University of Cambridge was founded in the 13th century by scholars leaving Oxford after a dispute with townsfolk. They chose the quiet town of Cambridge as a suitable location for study. In the 17th century Cambridge University educated many of the founders of a (then) minor American university called Harvard, also located in a place called Cambridge, named after the English university. Cambridge University has many famous alumni, including Sir Isaac Newton, philosophers Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and writers John Milton and Lord Byron. It was the site of Rutherford’s pioneering work in nuclear physics and Crick and Watson’s DNA work. Cambridge academics have won more Nobel Prizes than those of any other university in the world. The city is surrounded on all sides by heritage villages, towns, and ancient monuments (such as Ely, Peterborough, and Grantchester), all within easy traveling distance.
    More than 3.5 million visitors come to Cambridge every year to savor the delights of the historic city and to explore some of the most unspoiled countryside in England. Forbes magazine claimed in 2009 that Cambridge is ‘one of the most beautiful cities in the world’ and The Lonely Planet guide book says that few cities in the world can impress as much as Cambridge.
  • Lunch is on your own.
  • After lunch, continuation to London.
  • Dinner at local pub is included.
  • Overnight / London
Day 8: London
Thu May 21 Breakfast at hotel
Note: the Chelsea Flower Show 2015 will take place May 19‒23. May 19 and 20 are reserved for members of the Royal Horticultural Society. May 21 and 22 activities may be switched around, depending on ticket availability.
  • After-breakfast departure for the Flower Show (Sloane Square) by Underground (fare included).
  • 10-minute walk from the Tube Station to the show venue.
  • Full day dedicated to the Chelsea Flower Show (admission included).
  • Lunch is on your own.
  • Mid- to late afternoon: transfer by Underground – District Line, Circle Line (fare included) from Flower Show back to the hotel (or a destination of choice covered by the Tube).
  • Dinner is on your own.
  • Overnight / London
Day 9: London
Fri May 22 Breakfast at hotel
  • Private coach and licensed guide for panoramic sightseeing tour of London.
    Sights include St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square (with Nelson’s Column at its center), Oxford Street, Financial District, major bridges spanning the River Thames, the New Globe Theatre, Houses of Parliament, Royal Albert Hall, and much more. Tour ends at Buckingham Palace in time to see the changing of the guard.
  • Lunch is on your own.
  • The afternoon is dedicated to a visit of the Royal Botanic Gardens, also referred to as Kew Gardens (round trip transfer by Underground – District Line – fare included).
    The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, were founded in 1759, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Alongside Kew Gardens in London, Kew has a second country garden based at Wakehurst, home of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. As well as being one of London’s top visitor attractions, Kew is also a world leader in plant science and conservation, working to discover and describe the world’s plant and fungal diversity, safeguard the world’s plant life for the future, promote the sustainable use of plants, and inspire an appreciation of plants and the environment. Throughout its history, the Royal Botanic Gardens have made important contributions to increasing the understanding of the plant kingdom’s many benefits for humankind. Today it is first and foremost a scientific institution. With its collections of living and preserved plants, plant products, and botanical information, it forms an encyclopaedia of knowledge about the plant kingdom.
  • Farewell dinner at local restaurant is included.
  • Overnight / London
Day 10: return to the U.S.
Sat May 23 Breakfast at hotel
  • A.M. private coach to London Heathrow Airport
  • P.M. flight departs London Heathrow Airport
  • P.M. arrival at Chicago O’Hare Airport
  • P.M. arrival in Champaign by coach from O’Hare

  • Cost, based on double occupancy is $3,740 (airfare included)
  • Single supplement: $560

Tour Includes:

  • Eight overnights at (superior) tourist class hotels, twin or double or triple occupancy, all rooms with private facilities
  • Documentation on hotels (brochure/websites) will be presented prior to final reservations
  • All breakfasts (full English style)
  • Four dinners
  • Deluxe long-distance motorcoach as noted
  • Entrance fees as noted in the itinerary
  • Airport transfers
  • All applicable local taxes
  • Gratuities to coach drivers
  • Airfare Chicago > London > Chicago, coach (taxes and fuel surcharges as of April 2014 are also included)
  • Not Included
  • Meals other than noted in itinerary
  • Expenses of personal nature such as passport, laundry, souvenirs, insurance, etc.
  • Luggage handling at hotels (not included for cost savings)
Important Notes
  • Tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show are expensive and hard to come by. If you are planning to attend the show, we must have your booking and nonrefundable deposit by November 25, 2014. You can, however, sign up for the tour at a later date, but we cannot guarantee that there will be a ticket to the show for you. In this case you will be eligible for a $100 discount on the package price.
  • In the event that a park or garden (except Chelsea Flower Show) is not accessible it will be replaced by a different destination of similar value.
  • A valid passport is required; there are no visa requirements for U.S. citizens for the United Kingdom.

Program Contact
Jody Littleton, 217/351-2532 or
Kaizad Irani
Participant Eligibility
Student must have completed a minimum of 12 credit hours, including ENG 101, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.75.


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