The Rhododendron, Camellia & Magnolia Group

Three groups of plants – one group of enthusiasts worldwide

Spring Tour 2017


Yorkshire, at the time of the Harlow Carr Rhododendron Show May 13th to 16th 2017

Booking Information

You need to book up by early January for the Group Tour as hotel accommodation is limited.

The tour is based at the Dower House Hotel, Knaresborough (approximately 5 miles from RHS Harlow Carr) and the itinerary includes visiting the RHS Rhododendron Show, and time to enjoy RHS Garden Harlow Carr, conducted tours of Ray Wood, part of the Yorkshire Arboretum at Castle Howard and Peter and Caroline Roberts' Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park, plus visits to Harewood House Garden and a selection of smaller gardens, together with a talk on at least one evening.

Dinner, bed and full Yorkshire breakfast at the hotel have been negotiated at a daily rate of £150 for a double/twin room (£75 per person) and £110 per room for single occupancy. Members and guests MUST BOOK AND PAY FOR THEIR ACCOMMODATION DIRECT WITH THE HOTEL using the code RCMG to identify the rates that apply to the tour.

The cost of the tour includes
  • Entry to and a conducted tour of Ray Wood, Castle Howard
  • Entry to and a conducted tour of the Himalayan Gardens and Sculpture Park
  • Entry to Harewood House, including the Grounds and Gardens, the Bird Garden, Below Stairs and the State Rooms
  • Coach travel to all venues on Sunday 14th and Monday 15th May
  • Entry to all other gardens

The cost of the tour is £110

Not included in the tour price are
  • Hotel accommodation (to be booked direct with Dower House Hotel)
  • Meals, drinks and refreshments other than those included in the hotel booking
  • Voluntary gratuities
  • Entry to Harlow Carr (RHS members and family guest free)

You can download the booking form here - PDF download Once downloaded then please complete it on your computer, save it with your own name in the file name and email to the Tour Organiser Christopher Legrand if you have paid by PayPal or Credit Card or print and post with your cheque.

About the Tour

RHS Garden Harlow Carr covers 27.5 hectares (68 acres). Set in a valley and very much a part of the Yorkshire countryside, the garden has a wide variety of growing landscapes, from running and still water to woodland and wildflower meadows.

Acidic soil affords a fabulous environment for rhododendrons and Himalayan blue poppies, while visitors can be inspired if they have to contend with similar weather conditions - cold, drying winter winds, deep frosts, a cooler, shorter growing season and lots of wet weather.

Ray Wood is an enchanting woodland garden with a remarkable collection of plants. There is something of interest to see throughout the year, but the peak flowering season comes in Spring as the rhododendrons put on a fabulous colourful show.

In 1968 James Russell of Sunningdale Nurseries, with its noteworthy collection of Rhododendrons and known as 'the most beautiful nursery in England' moved to Castle Howard where until 1992 he created a splendid garden, an arboretum and nursery. In Ray Wood he planted many of the plants he had retained when Sunningdale was sold and these formed the backbone of the subsequent plantings, grown from seed or vegetatively propagated, that were to follow, in particular hundreds of Subsection Triflora rhododendrons.

The garden in Ray Wood covers around twenty-five acres and is explored following the network of paths, which resemble those laid out in the eighteenth century when a garden was first created there.

Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park is a highly acclaimed garden best known for its flamboyant burst of colours; with rare rhododendrons, azaleas and Himalayan plants stealing the show. These are nestled amongst mass plantings of glorious hybrids and drifts of spring bulbs. The garden is quite young, has a wide range of interesting plants, and has often taken top place in the Harlow Carr Show competitions.

Harewood House Gardens There are over 100 acres of gardens at Harewood. They are full of variety, with plants from all over the world. All this in the setting of a magnificent landscape created by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Harewood's Head Gardener, Trevor Nicholson, oversees the award winning landscape including the Terrace, the Lakeside Garden, the Himalayan Garden and the Walled Garden.

Further gardens will be added to the itinerary as time progresses, but we hope that we have wetted your appetite sufficiently to encourage you to join your fellow enthusiasts on this tour.