• What's on and what to look out for in spring 2016
  • The best UK gardens open to the public, including Kew Gardens and Harrogate's Harlow Carr
  • Discover Scotland's tropical west coast gardens in Argyll and Galloway
  • Where to spend sunnier weather here in the UK

1. Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden, Hyde Hall, Essex

What began as a private garden with little more than six trees, back in the 1950s, is now a 360 acre public garden. Enjoy a stroll through former farmlands, surrounded by the rambling Essex countryside or take the kids on a chocolate bunny hunt this Easter. Pop into the Barn Restaurant over Easter weekend - Saturday 26th sees a special chocolate themed menu sure to please anyone who's been abstaining for Lent!

How to get there: Located 20 minutes outside of Chelmsford, take the A130 and follow the signposts for Hyde Hall. You can also get the train to Chelmsford and connect via bus - if you show your ticket, you'll get a discount on the garden ticket price.

Admission: Adults £11, Children £5.50

Open: (March to October) 10am-6pm (November to February) 10am-4pm

Hyde Hall Gardens Credit: Joan Kent, CC BY 2.0.

2. RHS Garden Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire

Harrogate is a good-looking town at any time of year, but in springtime it becomes the picture of English provincial life, with green lawns, tea rooms and flowers lining the streets. Head down the road to Harlow Carr to see scarlet fever strike at this colourful garden in March, as the Japanese Prunus mume 'Beni-chidori' trees start to blossom. If you're staying in Harrogate, it makes an easy cycle trip and you can even get in for free on April 15th (National Open Gardens Day).

How to get there: Harlow Carr is around 1.5 miles from Harrogate centre, with free parking and cycle racks. You can also take the scenic, hour-long walk through Pine Woods (grab a map from Harrogate Tourist Information).

Admission: Adults £11, Children £5.50

Open: (March to October) 9.30am-6pm (November to February) 9.30am-4pm

3. Dawyck Botanic Garden, Peebles

Down in the Scottish borders you’ll find Dawyck, an enchanting woodland garden which belongs to the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. Ornamental urns and Italian stonework line the shaded trails, and look out for the dazzling Azalea Terrace and ‘Dynamo Pond’, which once upon a time generated electricity to power the grand estate at Dawyck House.

How to get there: It's 8 miles from Peebles to the garden by car or by bus (no. 91/93), or it's a 28-mile drive from Edinburgh.

Admission: Adult £6.50, Concession £5.50, Children under 16 free

Open: (March and October) 10am-5pm (April to September) 10am-6pm

Dawyck Botanic Garden Image: Amanda Slater, CC BY-SA 2.0.

4. RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey

From the English country garden to the Alps, Wisley is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, overlooked by a red-roofed manor house and split serenely by a landscaped canal. There are gorgeous iris and daffodil events planned this spring, as well as the National Shohin Bonsai Show on April 2 and 3, if you've ever wanted tips on the Japanese art of growing these miniature trees.

How to get there: Located between Cobham and Ripley in Surrey, you can follow the RHS signs for Wisley from the A3 and M25. There are train stations at Woking and West Byfleet but if you're coming by public transport, the 515 bus from Kingston to Guildford gets you closer - keep your ticket for a discount on entry.

Admission: Adults £13.00, Children £6.50

Open: Daily except Christmas Day. Mon to Fri 10am-6pm, Sat to Sun & Bank Holidays 9am-6pm

5. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

This gorgeous garden is also a scientific centre for the study of plants and conservation research. Founded in 1670, it is a green haven just one mile out of the city centre. Catch exhibitions at Inverleith House, daily guided walks with the experts from April 1 and huge tropical greenhouses for retreating from the chill Scottish breezes.

How to get there: Located in the Edinburgh suburb of Inverleith, you can jump on Lothian bus no. 8, 23 or 27 to reach the garden, and it's also on the National Cycle Network Route 75.

Admission: Free, with a charge for entering the glasshouses: Adults £5.50, Concessions £4.50, Children under 16 free

Open: (March to September) 10am-6pm (February and October) 10am-5pm (November to January) 10am-4pm

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Image: Laura Suarez, CC BY-SA 2.0.

6. RHS Garden Rosemoor, Devon

The historic house and grounds at Rosemoor were used by the Red Cross in the Second World War to shelter residents from London’s East End during the bombing. Today, look out for the carpet of bluebells through Torrington Woods, a new apple orchard project planned for 2016 - 2017 and the juicy-looking fruit and vegetable garden, providing inspiration for any would-be growers out there.

How to get there: The garden is near Great Torrington, off the A39 to Bideford (the 'Atlantic Highway'). You can also catch the bus 5B from Barnstaple to Exeter and claim £2 off your Rosemoor ticket price.

Admission: Adults £10, Children £5

Open: (April to September) 10am-6pm (October to March) 10am-5pm

RHS Garden Rosemoor

7. Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll

Take a walk down the garden path to explore the Scottish mountainside in Argyll at Benmore Botanic Garden. Be dwarfed by the Highlands setting of towering Redwood trees and the dramatic slopes of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, but don't miss a peek at a Chilean rainforest or the flowering of rhododendrons in the Bhutanese glade - this is a truly international garden.

How to get there: The garden is located 7 miles from Dunoon, on the west coast Cowal Peninsula. The ferry port of Gourock is 28 miles west of Glasgow and you can take your car on the Western ferries service (20 minutes to Dunoon). Alternatively, West Coast Motors do an inclusive ticket to the gardens (see website for details).

Admission: Adult £6.50, Concession £5.50, Children under 16 free

Open: (March & October) 10am-5pm (April to September) 10am-6pm

8. Kew Gardens, London

Founded in 1759 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, Kew Gardens is not only a great place for horticulturists, but it’s also home to plenty of art and architecture, like the Henry Moore sculpture and world famous palm house. See the Arboretum in a whole new light on the Treetop Walkway, an 18-metre high canopy trail that lets you get up close to all aspects of tree-life, including the resident birds and insects.

How to get there: Kew Gardens is 10 miles from the city of London. It has four gates and public transport is the best way to visit, with Kew Gardens Underground Station next to the Victoria Gate (District Line). You can also catch a mainline train from Waterloo to Kew Bridge, for the Elizabeth Gate.

Admission: Adults £15, Concessions £14, Children 4 - 16 £3.50.

Open: Daily from 10am except December 24 and 25. Closing times for the gardens and palace vary according to season/year, so check the website for exact times.

Kew Gardens

9. Logan Botanic Garden, Dumfries and Galloway

Enjoy an exotic escape this spring. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Logan’s walled garden is a surprising slice of the southern hemisphere in Scotland, complete with palm trees and eucalyptus! Call in at the Water Garden to see the lilies in bloom amongst a wealth of yellows, greens and whites, and roam through bright blue Himalayan poppies in the Walled Garden towards the end of May.

How to get there: The gardens are found on the southern tip of Galloway, 14 miles from Stranraer (which is on the A75 from Dumfries)

Admission: Adults £6.50, Concession £5.50, Children under 16 free

Open: Daily, (15 March to 31 October) 10am-5pm

Logan Botanic Garden Image: luckyjimmy, CC BY 2.0.

10. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Devon

Meet the meerkats or have a giggle at the gorillas before checking out the botanical garden at Paignton Zoo. As you might expect from a family attraction, there are fun and colourful exhibits here, from giant bamboo and huge water lilies to a desert-inspired greenhouse filled with cacti. Keen nature fans can follow the trail through the wooded valleys of Clennon Gorge Nature Reserve next door.

How to get there: The zoo is one mile from Paignton, on the A385 Totnes road. You can also get the 22,66 or Stagecoach Gold bus for discounted zoo entry.

Admission: Adults £14.15, Senior Citizens/Students £11.70, Children £9.95

Open: Daily, 10am-6pm

You don't have to go far to see some spectacular locations this year; read more about the best of the UK here:

Best UK cities to visit in 2016

From Durham to Brighton; these incredible cities have culture, cool architecture and cafes (if not necessarily the weather) to tempt you into a staycation city break.

Readers' tips: the UK's prettiest villages

Winkle out the best of Britain's countryside settlements with this selection of the UK's finest small settlements, as recommended by you.

The UK's most magical places

Fancy getting away with the fairies, or reliving the romance of Arthurian legends? Read on to find out where when and how you can discover a different side to the our fair isles.

Britain's best beaches

From golden sands to soaring white cliffs, here are 10 of the UK's best beaches for you to bum around on.

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