Hyde Hall, in Essex, is one of the newer RHS gardens and continues to develop from just gardens around a house to a full RHS garden site with many different types of plantings.
Most of the gardens can be accessed with a wheelchair and there is a golf buggy to take you from the visitor entrance to the upper part of the gardens if needed. Also close to the car park and entrance is a pleasant café, toilets and a shop with a good range of gifts. The plant centre is also in this area – the plants are of good quality but not cheap.
A winding path leads you gently uphill to the main gardens. When we visited (in July) the dry gardens, roses and farmhouse gardens were looking good. The ponds with water lilies and surrounding planting were very photogenic. Our particular favourite, however, was the herbaceous border. This was a series of 3-sided rooms in different colour schemes and was truly magnificent. The other gardens were good but probably better at other times of year when the rhododendrons, bulbs etc were out. As well as the gardens there are several grass and wooded areas to stroll around.
In the middle of the gardens is a courtyard area with a restaurant – plenty of pleasant outside seating. In the same area are the event rooms, library etc. We liked the fact that this was in the middle of the main gardens as we has an excuse to sit down several times with coffee or a cream tea as we came back to it after wandering around an area. Actually there are seats all around the gardens but we liked the excuse for a cake!
The gardens have several special events at weekend such as a craft fair and a plant fair but we visited mid-week. We did, however, enjoy the sculptures placed around the gardens this year.
I would definitely recommend a visit to this garden which has a totally different atmosphere to other RHS gardens – it is tucked away down country lanes so I suggest using a satnav – postcode CM3 8ET – though as you get close to it the brown signs are helpful.