Every year we organise a varied programme of events aimed at improving our knowledge and enjoyment of designed landscapes, parks and gardens. Our visits are usually led by owners, head gardeners and researchers. We also arrange study days and lectures, both in person and by zoom.

Members and non-members are welcome. For popular events, and for those limited by numbers, priority will be given to members. See below, or contact, for more information.

We aim to maintain ticket costs at a reasonable level to ensure that our events are accessible. We include some element of fund raising in some of our visit prices to support our Small Grants, Bursary and Schools programmes.

Our 2023 events programme is now finished. We are showing below preliminary information regarding our 2024 events.

Next event
Day visit

The Lost Nurseries of Central York

The Dissolution of the Monasteries left several sites within or close to the York city walls that were productive gardens or had the space to be so. Several of these subsequently became significant plant nurseries. The walk will begin with the lost site on Fishergate that became the Riggs nursery, and proceed to the site close to Clifford’s Tower that became Matthew Wharton’s nursery, and then to Tanner Row where the Telfords and later the Backhouses established their important nursery businesses. The walk will finish close to the centre of York at the Yorkshire Museum gardens, another location where monastic land became an important horticultural site.
None of the nurseries survived beyond the mid-19th century, so map evidence and illustrations will be provided to help us imagine them. During the walk we will examine the importance not just of the nurseries but also of York more generally as a centre of horticultural innovation from the mid-17th century onwards.

Tickets cost: £10.00, £12.00 non-members includes handouts. Places are limited to 12 - first bookings will be for members only - interested non-members can be placed on a waiting list (see below - booking details)
Organiser: Gillian Parker

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Day visit

Sewerby Hall and Gardens

An illustrated talk and guided walk

Sewerby Hall is Yorkshire’s uniquely sited historic park and garden in a dramatic clifftop position. With its spectacular views over Bridlington and the Bay it has a long history from 1086 when it was a manorial estate held by the count of Mortain. Having passed through various families it was acquired in 1714 by John Graeme I, a Bridlington merchant and the Graeme’s held the estate for 220 years. John Graeme III inherited Sewerby in 1798 and having married in succession two wealthy heiresses and inheriting some money from his father he set about designing his landscape setting for the Georgian house and making additions to the building.  

After coffee and biscuits, Val Hepworth and Caroline Kernan will lead the day explaining the developments at Sewerby and guiding members outside in the afternoon. There is no evidence that a ‘well-known’ name was employed by Graeme, but it is likely he was influenced by other landowners in his social circle. Sewerby is something of a hybrid, not a truely rugged picturesque landscape, but incorporating Brownian clumps, belts and picturesque use of the sea. There are distinctly Reptonian features, mid 19th century Victorian aspects and the walled kitchen garden appears built with three compartments on the 1854 OS Map.  Afterwards there will be an opportunity to visit Sewerby Hall. A Listed Grade I house it underwent a total restoration in 2013-2014 and has been re-presented as an Edwardian Country house, circa 1910. The rooms are furnished with impressive pieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as other important collections.

Organiser: Val Hepworth

Tickets cost: £18.00 non-members £22.00 Lunch is available at the Clock Café or bring a packed lunch.

Day visit

Ray Wood, Castle Howard

Ray Wood stands to the east of Castle Howard on the site of an ancient woodland. The 3rd Earl of Carlisle created serpentine paths in the natural style wood and filled it with statues, cascades, fountains, pavilions and summerhouses, but by the mid-18th century these had disappeared. In the 1940s it was clear felled for the war effort, but in the 1970s George Howard and his designer James Russell created a woodland garden reinstating the irregular paths in its 25 acres. Today, their planting legacy means there are nearly 800 species of Rhododendron in the Wood, as well as glades of Pieris, wild roses, magnolias, hydrangeas, viburnums and maples and rowans. The collection is of national importance and many of the plants have come here from across the globe and were brought back to Ray Wood by some of the great plant hunters of the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection of plants is now managed by the Arboretum Trust staff, with assistance from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Join us for an exclusive day with John Grimshaw, the director of the Yorkshire Arboretum. Starting with an introductory talk at the Arboretum, John will then lead a walk through the wood where rhododendrons should be in flower.

Organiser: Vicky Price

Tickets cost: £22.00 (non-members £25.00)

Lecture / Talk

Yorkshire Philosophical Society/Yorkshire Gardens Trust Biennial Lecture

Identifying and Protecting Historic Parks and Gardens in England:Celebrating Forty Years of the Register - Dr Victoria Thomson

2024 marks the fortieth anniversary of the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. The Register identifies over 1700 historic parks and gardens, which then benefit from a high degree of protection through the planning system. What now seems like a self-evidently necessary mechanism for ensuring the survival of these widespread and much-loved elements of the historic environment had a difficult emergence, though: the Register appeared around a hundred years after monuments first received protection, and forty years after similar measures for buildings. The story did not end with its introduction, either: there have been a number of ups and downs in the ensuing decades. This talk explores that story from the beginning to the present day, covering the origins and evolution of the Register, and its application and effectiveness, before considering the future of the protection of historic parks and gardens. 

Victoria’s professional background is in town planning and historic conservation, with stints in local and national government, a government agency, academia, and now the third sector. Her personal and research interests are very much focused on historic parks and gardens, and particularly on their protection. She is a member of the Gardens Trust’s Conservation Committee.

Day visit

Summer evening at Ness Hall

Fundraising Evening for YGT Student Horticultural Bursary Fund


Our venue for the Summer Party is Ness Hall. The main 2½ acre garden is contained in a 17th Century walled garden. It has been lovingly gardened and developed by 3 generations of Murray Wells. It now contains a rose pergola which should be in full bloom, a Japanese-influenced garden with pergola and stream, a woodland area, cutting and kitchen garden and a wonderful ‘fairy’ garden. Often described as a large cottage garden the borders are full, with self-seeding encouraged, there are lots of seating areas for relaxing and catching up with friends. There is also a large orchard and gardens around the house to explore.

This is an unashamed fundraising evening for our Student Horticultural Bursary to support individuals in their horticultural, landscape design, landscape/garden history research or conservation of historical designed landscapes careers.  We hope that tickets sales and a raffle to be held on the evening will provide a significant boost to the fund. (Please remember your purses)

Tickets cost: £20.00 (non-members £25.00) includes a glass of prosecco. 

Day visit

Summer picnic at Littlethorpe Manor


Our Summer Picnic this year will be held at Littlethorpe Manor by kind permission of Mrs J P Thackray. Enjoy an extensive guided tour of the 11 acres of gardens which have been developed since 1998 with Head Gardener, Eddie Harland and his team. These include a walled garden with herbaceous planting, roses and gazebo, a sunken garden with ornamental plants and herbs, brick pergola with wisteria, blue and yellow borders, a formal lawn with fountain pool, and a large pond with classical pavilion and boardwalk. We will explore the new contemporary physic garden with rill, raised beds and medicinal plants designed in commemoration of Mr John P. Thackray, OBE, and the family company Chas. F. Thackray.

Tickets: £17.50 (non-members £20.00) includes morning refreshments. Please bring a picnic lunch and we’ll provide the strawberries and cream in the covered marquee.                                                

Day visit

Gray’s Court Hotel garden - Members only

Part of the Yorkshire Gardens Trust Events 2024 collection

In thanks to Yorkshire Gardens Trust for supporting Julie Fern with a bursary towards completing an RHS Level 3 Diploma at Askham Bryan, we have been invited to visit Gray’s Court Hotel garden where she has been the gardener for nearly 15 years.

We will enjoy coffee/tea on arrival and a talk from Julie sharing some of the extraordinary history of the house and gardens. Following the talk we will look at the new no-dig edible garden which Julie has been constructing this winter in St Peters Garden, tucked behind the Minster, to supply fresh produce to Grays Court Hotels The Bow Room Restaurant. We will finish with an opportunity to explore the main garden.


Cost: £10 per ticket (proceeds to the YGT Bursary fund)

Visit limited to 15 places - members only


With kind permission of Gray’s Court Hotel

Day visit

Dark Star Plants Nursery

Our visit to Dark Star Plants Nursery combines both a plant nursery and a historical garden site. The nursery has been created in the walled garden of what was Rounton Grange. This large house, sadly demolished in 1953/4, was built by the Arts and Crafts architect Philip Webb for Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell, an ironmaster, who had bought the estate at East Rounton on 1866. As well as an impressive house, the family also created a garden which his granddaughter Gertrude Bell, the explorer, redesigned - inspired by her travels in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The nursery, which specialises in plants which have dark flowers or leaves, is run by Shaun Passman and Jenny Gaunt. After an introductory talk, we will be able to explore the nursery, perhaps buy plants or a bunch of flowers from the cutting garden. Refreshments are available from nearby Roots Farmshop and café.

Tickets cost £10.00 Organiser Vicky Price

Day visit

The Ancient Royal Knaresborough Forest & Castle

Past - Present - Future

In 1086 the Doomsday Survey mentions Chenardesburg (Knaresborough) and it is thought that Knaresborough Forest dates from then. The Castle is first mentioned in 1130, and was built in a commanding position above the River Nidd Gorge, but partially dismantled in 1648, the result of an order from Parliament to dismantle all Royalist castles. Join David Rhodes in Knaresborough for a talk about both the Forest - placed in the centre of Yorkshire’s White Rose Forest, and the Government’s coast to coast Northern Forest - and the Castle and its surroundings, and the importance of both in the future. We will meet in ‘The Church’ at COGS, the Methodist Church, for coffee and biscuits at 10.30am followed by David’s talk. Please bring a packed lunch or there are many cafes in the centre of the town, and afterwards David will lead a tour of the Castle area and there will be an opportunity to visit the Kings Tower at the Castle. (Entrance fee £3.80, seniors and disabled £2.80)

Please wear sensible walking shoes.

Organisers: Vicky Price and David Rhodes

Tickets cost £12.00 (Non-members £14.00)