A few weeks ago after some rather busy days, I found out that I had some time off which was a nice surprise. This was great as it meant that I had four days to spend with my family and also my boyfriend Luke! After finding this out, I told Luke, and he discovered that coincidently he also had got a few days off at the same time!
We hadn’t really planned anything to do with our time as we didn’t discover these free days until nearer the time. At a family dinner, Luke’s Gran mentioned Lea Gardens and said that the best time of year to go would probably be now as their Rhododendrons (Lea Garden’s signature flower) would be in bloom. We both live in Derbyshire, meaning that it wasn’t too far for us to travel. Luke had never been, I had visited the place a few times before and I thought it was a beautiful place to go, so we thought, why not?
It was quite busy, as we expected, but not busy enough to spoil the trip. The parking was free too which was a bonus. This time of year (May/June) really is the perfect time to visit the place. There were so many gorgeous colours to see. The gardens have an array of narrow paths where you can walk among the Azaleas & Rhododendrons while they’re in flower. What could be better than that for a day out in the sun?
There are lots of benches spread out along the paths so that you can sit and enjoy the flowers at your own pace. We could hear birdsong in the distance, we turned around and saw that they had lots of numbered boxes where you can see Birds popping in and out to say hello! We were even greeted by a tiny Caterpillar! I forgot to get my camera out for that one!
The gardens have a café which has homemade cakes! Luke had a jam & clotted cream scone, I had a lemon cake and a pot of tea. The cake slices are enormous and taste incredible. The sponge in the cake was so soft and light which made it all the more delicious. You can choose to eat inside or out, we ate in as the clouds came over and it started to rain for a little while.
Not far from where this picture was taken (above), there is a greenhouse which sells the variety of plants you see in the gardens. I was tempted to buy a Rhododendron plant for my mum as she loves them, but there’s no room for it in the garden at the moment! Maybe in the future! During this season, the gardens are open every day 10am- 5pm. It’s the perfect time to go, so I suggest if you want to visit, you should do it soon before the flowers go out of season.
Look how tall they grow! This section alone must have been over eight feet tall! And there are so many different varieties with colours ranging from orange all the way through to fuchsia! They’re so stunning to look at!
Our tickets to see the gardens were £5.00 each, which made it a really inexpensive afternoon out! There aren’t that many places that have such cheap admission for such a beautiful garden. On the board near the entrance it also said that it is just 50p for children to go in, which is really cheap for young families.
Below are some pictures I took from when I went last year. The pictures were so good, I felt I wanted to show them too. They help me to demonstrate that a yearly visit is essential, which is why I try to make it there at least once a year. These pictures are too stunning not to share despite the fact that they are a bit older;
Apologies for the sheer amount of photos I uploaded, I went a bit crazy and I really wanted to show you some of my old ones as well! They’re all so beautiful that I just couldn’t resist sharing them! I would really recommend going to Lea Gardens at this time of year. As Rhododendrons are very seasonal, now would be the best time to go. I try to go every year if I can as it’s worth it to see all of them in flower.
Here’s the address:
Lea Gardens, Lea, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 5GH
Adults £5.00 ~ Season Ticket £9.00 ~ Children 50p
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing about and being at Lea Gardens! I’ll surely be back for another post soon.
~ Ali ~