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The best gardens in Hampshire for leaf peeping

Make the most of the natural calendar and catch the seasonal highlights of these gorgeous Hampshire gardens.

Exbury Gardens, New Forest

Exbury Gardens New Forest

Always a showstopper at Exbury, the 200-acre woodland landscape is ablaze with seasonal colour in Autumn. Its acer collection dazzles vibrantly in red. Headlining Nyssa and Oxydendrum, part of a National Collection, are brilliantly beautiful in orange and yellow hues.

Hinton Ampner, near Arlesford

Hinton Ampner, near Arlesford

National Trust favourite Hinton Ampner is well known for its superbly-tended gardens, a year-round mecca for locals and garden enthusiasts. Autumn never fails to disappoint. Root vegetables grow in the walled garden looked over by Hinton’s scarecrow and his little dog. The parkland at the back of the house is filled with yellow and gold foliage from ancient oaks and beeches and the deep red of the Norway maple – a leaf peeping paradise.

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

This beautiful 180-acre garden and arboretum was established in the 1950s by – you guessed it – the nurseryman Sir Harold Hillier, who gifted to Hampshire County Council in the 1970s. Catch a few leafy snaps as you stroll through Acer Valley. You’ll find an atmospheric valley of Japanese and other maples and shaded by mature oaks. Look out too for the golden reflection of branches overhanging the lake. Très tranquille.

The Vyne, Sherbourne St. John, near Basingstoke

The Vyne Lake Autumn

Often overlooked in favour of the Tudor mansion itself, The Vyne’s extensive gardens and woodlands are great fun to explore. The trails are also not too taxing for littlies to walk around. Rustle through fallen leaves looking out for ancient oaks, bright red American liquidambar trees that change to yellow and orange as the seasons shift. Also an Autumn highlight, the deep russet-brown leaves of the bald cypress deciduous conifer.

Mottisfont, near Romsey

Mottisfont Autumn

Another National Trust big-hitter, spot striking reddish orange and yellow leaves at Mottisfont and the National Collection of plane trees, including the colourful (and vast) great plane. Chestnuts, hornbeams and the acid green-turned-golden leaves of two magnificent tulip trees (pictured) also put on a colourful show. Complete the sensory stroll by heading to the Beech Circle for a Zen woodland ‘sound experience’ by composer Hywel Davies, combining Japanese percussion with a bass baritone voice: aaaannnd breathe…

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