Enter the Garden of the Year Award

Put your garden forward for consideration for our prestigious garden awards

Gordon Castle Garden of the Year

Applications for the 2022 award are now open.


Any full member of Historic Houses may submit their garden for the award, which has two categories. From the entrants in that single application procedure the judges will determine a shortlist for the main award, voted on by the public, and also make their own choice, with different criteria, for a ‘Judge’s Choice’ award.

Assessment and shortlisting for the main award

For the main Garden of the Year Award, we are looking to assemble a shortlist of some of the UK’s finest gardens that are open to public visiting. This is the shortlist that will go to a public vote from April 2022. We are looking in particular for the following types of garden:

  • The garden must be open to the public at least 25 days a year and feature in the Historic Houses handbook.
  • Previous winners are eligible to apply, but at least ten years must have passed since the award was won (or three years since the garden last appeared on the shortlist.
  • We are looking for evidence that the garden has changed under its current owners, whether in terms of its horticultural features, its design, or its visitor infrastructure. We are looking for gardens that retain their period features but augments these with new additions. A garden that has barely changed in the last 30 years is unlikely to be considered.
  • If the garden has won the prize before, it is all the more important that there has been some sort of ‘step change’ in the way the garden looks now compared to when it won the first time.
  • We want to see gardens that have owners who take a personal interest in the garden. But that does not mean gardens that are attached to non-lived-in houses are ineligible.
  • Owners need to be enthusiastic for the publicity of their garden either appearing on the shortlist, or even winning. They need to have plenty of hi-res photographs that we can use.

Assessment criteria for the judges’ choice award:

Our judges – the members of the Historic Houses Gardens Committee – will make their own choice of a garden to recognise, from among those member gardens who did not appear, for whatever reason, on the shortlist for the public vote, but are still deserving of recognition.

  • There is no requirement for regular public opening (though ideally gardens will show some interest in opening for charities or through Invitation to View)
  • There must be some evidence of creative intervention by the current owner – some new feature that sets it apart from how it might have looked under previous phases of ownership. The judges will especially be looking for evidence of horticultural excellence and achievement.
  • Owners need to show a willingness to be considered for the award, and to be promoted as the winner, if this turns out to be the case.
  • Owners need to be prepared to receive judges’ visits over the summer in 2022, should such visits be deemed necessary (this depends on how well-known the garden is to members of the Gardens Committee).

To apply

When applications for 2022 open you will find the entry form here. You will need to submit accompanying photographs – up to twelve, in high resolution (300 PPI), in digital form, for which you hold all the necessary rights and permissions to grant Historic Houses a licence to publish them.

Apply for the 2022 Award: Deadline 1 March 2022

Is your garden open to the public?
Is your garden part of the Historic Houses Member Access Scheme?
Please provide between 200 and 400 words.

Submit your form above, then email or WeTransfer the photos to