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Normandy Gardens & D-Day Beaches

Enjoy the lovely region of Normandy in north-west France. Two days will be spent discovering some of the beautiful and little-known gardens of Normandy, guided by the garden owners themselves. The particular fascination of these Normandy gardens is that the climate and the range of plants are similar to Britain, yet the French create quite different and truly exceptional gardens. There are some real treats which will intrigue and inspire you.

Normandy is a horticultural heaven and boasts an extraordinary number of parks and gardens open to the public. A wide range of garden styles are displayed, from simple cottage gardens to grand, formal schemes via walled kitchen gardens, botanical collections, subtropical plantations and landscaped ‘English-style’ gardens. A range which owes its diversity to passionate owners, but also to the region itself, where endless summers, autumn glories, spring freshness and winter wonders showcase the seasons spectacularly.

Then head to the Normandy Beaches for two more nights. Explore more this lovely coastal region of France, including a day of touring a number of the D-Day landing sites, and a visit to Bayeux, famed for the tapestry.

Tour Highlights

  • Tours of six wonderful gardens, all very unique and different
  • Tour the D-Day landing beaches including Omaha and Sword Beaches
  • Learn about WWII’s Operation Overlord
  • Visit Pegasus Bridge
  • See the ancient Bayeux Tapestry
  • Explore the wonderful coastal towns of Honfleur and Deauville
  • Sample some Calvados liqueurs and Normandy cheeses

Tour Map


Day 1:  Head to Normandy, France

20 Miles

Cross to France then drive south along the coast to Normandy. Enjoy the afternoon relaxing and wandering around Dieppe or along the coast. Maybe visit the gardens and house, designed by Lutyens, at Le Bois des Moutiers, or see the Shamrock Collection, a fabulous garden of hydrangeas. Stay for three nights in a beautifully restored, 17th-century, half-timbered hotel.

Day 2:  Beautiful Normandy Gardens

57 Miles

Drive along the coast visit Le Vasterival at St Marguerite sur Mer in the morning.  This is known as one of the best gardens in the country. Protected by the lie of the land, the garden benefits from a micro-climate which has allowed one of the finest plant collections in France to be put together.

Visit Chateau de Miromesnil and its garden and chateau. In 1850 Guy de Maupassant, the famed French writer, was born here and the Chateau contains much of his memorabilia.

In the afternoon visit the rose gardens and park of the Chateau of Mesnil Geoffroy, which has over 2,500 rose bushes (1,100 different varieties) surrounding the elegant 18th-century chateau.

Return to the hotel for dinner.

Day 3:  More Normandy Gardens

55 Miles

It is a scenic drive to Jardin de Valerianes.

Then visit two more gardens, starting at Les Jardins Agapanthe. Monsieur Alexandre Thomas trained as a landscape designer and has created this unusual garden in just over an acre. Topiary is everywhere. It is easy to get lost in this paradise.  White, violet, blue and green are his preferred colours. He adores agapanthus – hence the garden’s name.

Stop for a light lunch at a nearby cafe to Jardins Agapanthe before heading to the final garden, the Potager at Chateau de Bosmelet. Generations of the family of the Comte and Comtesse de Bosmelet have contributed to the marvellous gardens and parkland which surround this attractive 17th-century Chateau. Baroness Laurence de Bosmelet was the force behind the wonderful potager. Within the ancient walled garden flourish hundreds of vegetable varieties planted to colour themes alongside rose arbours and mixed borders all anchored by a central stone pool. You will see amazing shapes and colours of cabbages, courgettes, celeriac, lettuce, marrows, tomatoes and more. A superb avenue of three-hundred-year-old lime trees leads you there.

Return to the hotel for dinner.

Day 4:  Honfleur & Calvados

127 Miles

Meander your way through the Normandy countryside, to the pretty harbour town of Honfleur – a great place for a wander and lunch.

This is now the Calvados liqueur region. Calvados liqueur is made from apples and is produced by many farms in the area and it is possible to visit a number of places to see production and taste and buy the finished product.

Travel west to Bayeux and stay for two nights in a stunning, luxury, five-star chateau hotel nearby.

Day 5:  D-Day Beaches

90 Miles

Enjoy a battlefields tour of the Normandy beaches, starting at Pointe du Hoc. There are excellent museums with informative guides for a day of discovery and interest.

Then progress to Omaha Beach, which was the famous ‘dog’ beach scene of the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’.

Finally, visit the famed Pegasus Bridge, where there was a glider assault to seize the key crossing sites. There is also a good museum here.

Day 6:  Visit the Bayeux Tapestry & return to the UK

23 Miles

Spend the morning in Bayeux to see the eponymous tapestry. Or perhaps visit one of the newest gardens in Normandy, the Jardins Albizia, to the south of Bayeux. These gardens offer a superb variety of botanical wealth, including France’s largest collection of clematis. Take the afternoon ferry, departing from Caen to Portsmouth, UK,  Depart for home.

Where we'll stay

The tour will be based at two wonderful hotels, with three nights at first and two nights at the second. The first is a beautiful small boutique country hotel located in a 17th-century vernacular building. There is an outdoor pool, spa and lovely gardens. The second hotel is a beautiful, five-star, luxury chateau, part of the Relais & Chateaux collection, close to Bayeux. Both hotels are well placed to visit a variety of gardens and the D-Day landing beaches.

What's included



  • Each person must have a passport (and any necessary visas for non-EU passport holders) valid for France.
  • All passports must be valid for six months after the end of the tour. You will also need your vehicle registration documents, driving licence (a photo-card licence or international permit is best), and an international insurance green card.
  • Please check with your travel and motor insurers that you are covered for travel in the required countries.
  • You are also required to carry a warning triangle, first-aid kit, two fluorescent jackets, set of replacement bulbs and a national identification sticker.
  • However, the most important requirement is that you take pleasure in motoring through fabulous scenery, relish individual, character hotels and enjoy beautiful gardens.


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