Photo of Alnwick Castle on a hilltop, in late golden sunlight, surrounded by fields

As Shakespeare had it, “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” ‒ but this flower and its name are inextricably bound up in ideas of Englishness, beauty and love.

Throughout history it has been a symbol of royal clans, goddesses of love, passion, purity and even socialism. Meanwhile, with literary appearances from Lewis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts to Anne Brontë’s poetic warnings about its thorns, England’s storytellers have been inspired by this classic British flower for generations.

Valentine’s Day may have passed, but that doesn’t mean the appreciation of this most lovely of flowers has to end, too. Immerse yourself in its distinctive scent on a stroll through one of England’s most abundant rose gardens, often attached to storied stately homes. Here are just a few of them.


Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Anglesey Abbey (@angleseyabbeynt)

This Jacobean manor house, 20 minutes’ drive from Cambridge, is most famous for having a still-working watermill, its parts dating back to the 18th century. But Anglesey’s most fragrant nook is its rose garden, with an impressive 40 varieties of bloom on display. Lord Fairhaven bought the estate in the 1920s, and the Rose Garden was one of his first labours of love; today you’ll see plump candy-pink, sunshine yellow and true scarlet booms filling its walls. Flowering from early June to October, there’s a generous chunk of the year you can visit, too.


Alnwick Castle, Northumberland



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Alnwick Garden (@alnwickgarden)

Not only is there an Alnwick Castle, there’s an Alnwick Rose, one of 200 species bred by one of Britain’s most famous horticulturalists, David Austin. You’ll see its dense, blush-pink petals on display at Northumberland’s Alnwick rose garden, part of the Alnwick Castle estate, which is home to a staggering 3,000 roses ‒ making it one of the biggest of its kind in the world. Count up to 300 different varieties, then move on to the Ornamental Variety which has around 30 more. Luxury Gold clients will enjoy a leisurely visit to Alnwick on our 10-day British Royale tour.


Mottisfont Abbey, Hampshire



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Mottisfont (@mottisfontnt)

Bursting with blooms trained around genteel old trail walls, pergolas and arches, the walled garden at this lovely 18th-century Hampshire pile is a romantic setting. The older, pre-1900 species of rose grown there tend to flower just once a year, unlike modern varieties, so most people visit in the peak flowering month of June. The garden was the brainchild of Graham Stuart Thomas, a collector or rare and historic roses in the 1960s and 70s; at its peak you’ll see 500 varieties in bloom, including the damask “Quatre Saisons” rose, first grown by the Romans, and clouds of the thornless, white Lykkefund rambling rose.


Cliveden, Buckinghamshire


Among 376 acres of gardens at this 400-year-old aristocratic estate, the tucked-away rose garden is a highlight. Sitting alongside a zig-zagging Parterre garden, an Asian-influenced Water Garden and a war memorial garden, the rose garden’s flowers are climbers trained over romantic arches and shrubs nestled beneath pensive statues. Over 900 roses in total adorn the garden, in shades from buttercup to coral and deep lipstick pinks; they’re encircled by tall trees giving a sense of hushed privacy. Stop by the gardens’ gift shop to pick up your own David Austin rose variety to take home.


Castle Howard Walled Garden, Yorkshire


On the outskirts of the handsome, historic city of York, to the south of North York Moors National Park, is this grade-I-listed stately home with 1,000 acres of gardens. One of the loveliest patches is the rose garden, made up of three enclosures swathed in low shrubs, with trailing boughs of rambling roses and tree roses to admire. The end of June to the beginning of July is when you’ll see and smell them in all their splendour. Guests on Luxury Gold’s lavish British Royale tour enjoy a stop at Castle Howard while visiting York.


Chartwell, Kent



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Chartwell NT (@chartwellnt)

Winston Churchill’s home from the 1920s to the 1960s has long had an association with roses. The former British prime minister and his wife Clementine were said to have first courted in the rose garden at Blenheim Palace, and dedicated plenty of space in Chartwell’s gardens to her favourite flower. You can still visit Golden Rose Avenue (built in honour of their golden wedding anniversary) and Lady Clementine’s Rose Garden, where the roses are at their most impressive from mid-June and through the summer.


The Savill Garden, Berkshire


Deep in Windsor Great Park, this colourful ornamental garden contains its own circular rose garden with a sculptural viewing platform in the middle. Opened by the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2010, it has low beds of different-hued rose shrubs, ranging from bright white to pale pinks and deep reds, plus sunlit benches for a pause among the scented flowers. Take a guided tour of the wider gardens (Monday-Friday, year round), where a volunteer will point out seasonal highlights; the best months for roses are June and July.