Susan Worner Tours

2021 Programme

Our 2021 programme offers specialist destinations featuring outstanding gardens and exhilarating natural history tours with a superb range of guided tailor-made itineraries in Namibia and Botswana.

Garden Tours

Our chosen destinations are Italy, France and Morocco. Tours to France are by rail and we offer a new programme to the hills north of Lyon. The tour to Morocco has been extended to include more in-depth visits of the gardens of Taroudant. We discover an eclectic range of well-designed gardens notable for their admirable structure and unusual plants. A real bonus is to meet the owners or head gardeners of private gardens to discuss their ideas and work. Touches of culture are added to our itineraries with visits to sites of historic interest. We are well known for our choice of charming hotels, mouth-watering menus and meticulous attention to detail.

  1. Italian Lakes – Spring Gardens around Lakes Como and Maggiore

    20 – 27 April 2021

    Concentrating on the wealth of beautiful gardens around Lakes Como and Maggiore, the tour offers a balance between interesting botanic gardens and those of classic Renaissance and later Italian style. The exuberant spring flowers are set against breath-taking scenery with many varieties of azalea, wisteria, cornus, and magnolia – a spectacular yellow variety is particularly eye-catching. At the northern end of Lake Maggiore we cross into Switzerland to visit the impressive Eisenhut Botanical Garden and Nursery. An insubric climate, acid soil and sunny cold winters enable the rich variety of plants found in the region to thrive...

  1. Secret Gardens of Venice and the Veneto

    03 – 08 May 2021

    A magical tour of gardens, staying in the centre of Venice in the superb, historic Hotel Palazzo Stern on the Grand Canal. Delightful gardens are hidden behind high walls on the Canal, on the Giudecca or down small canals on the islands in the extensive lagoon. We discover the special variety of artichoke grown on the island of Sant’Erasmo while enjoying a day on a ‘Bragozzo’ boat in the lagoon.

    The history and beauty of the Veneto region are complemented by the elegance of the formal gardens in Venice. We have chosen country gardens that harmonise with their villas and feature interesting structured designs. We discover the Brenta Canal where Venetians built their country houses in the seventeenth century, going on to Padua to visit the exceptionally beautiful University Botanical Garden, the oldest of its kind in Europe...

  1. Exceptional Gardens of North Yorkshire

    12 – 17 May 2021

    Some of Britain’s finest gardens are to be found in North Yorkshire, where the countryside in springtime is radiant with new life. Our tour features a number of outstanding private gardens, along with visits to Newby Hall and Scampston Hall. An exceptional selection in terms of both design and choice of plants and trees.

    We stay at the Alice Hawthorn Inn on the picturesque village green at Nun Monkton near York. Named for a famous racehorse, and renowned for its excellent cuisine and friendly atmosphere, the Inn was recently expanded with the addition of a number of rooms. The green, with its pond and free grazing cattle in summertime, features a traditional village maypole. Before the dissolution of the monasteries, nuns of the Benedictine Order lived in the nearby Priory. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, the village is just nine miles from York.

  1. Lyonnaise Region – Gardens in the Hills North of Lyon

    31 May – 05 June 2021

    The rolling hills north of Lyon are notable for their exuberant private gardens set against a backdrop of woodland and rows of vines. Attractive villages are interspersed with well-known names, as this is Beaujolais country. The region is renowned for rose gardens and we have selected a number to visit. Among the highlights of our tour are the Botanical Garden in Lyon and the restored garden at Château de Cormatin.

    Our hotel, Château de Pizay, also has a beautiful garden with chequer-board clipped yews and well-planted borders; it is surrounded by the château’s wine estate. The hotel is welcoming and comfortable, and it features an excellent restaurant.

  1. Provence – Private Gardens of Leading Designers based in Hotel La Mirande, Avignon

    07 – 12 June 2021

    A particularly good selection of private gardens in Provence created by leading local landscape designers has been chosen for this tour. Those in the Luberon are influenced by the late Nicole de Vésian, who created her personal garden, La Louve, in Bonnieux. We visit an impressive Land Art garden near Eygalières at the foot of Les Alpilles designed by Alain David Idoux, a pupil of de Vésian. In addition we discover gardens created by Dominique Lafourcade, an influential designer from St Rémy de Provence.

  1. Tuscany – Gardens of Lucca, Pienza & Florence

    02 – 09 September 2021

    September is a delightful season to visit Tuscany. We stay initially in the vibrant city of Florence with its art treasures, churches and markets; from there we visit beautiful secluded gardens on hillsides planted with olive trees. Situated a few minutes from the Duomo, our comfortable, welcoming hotel, Il Guelfo Bianco, is a perfect base. A former palazzo or grand town house dating from the 16th century, the hotel has been well restored and retains its frescoed ceilings and architectural features.

    We then move to Pienza, south of Siena, to visit the iconic garden La Foce created by Iris Origo and the designer Cecil Pinsent. Our hotel is situated next to a gateway in the medieval walls of the town...

  1. Normandy – Gardens of Upper Normandy and Picardy

    13 – 18 September 2021

    Upper Normandy has a wealth of remarkable gardens on the coast where the climate is mild and the soil is acid. Inland country gardens, set amongst apple orchards, rolling hills and forests, are inspirational. Of the gardens we visit, some are contemporary while others are walled potager gardens; all feature a rich variety of trees and plants arranged with great panache. They also share notably enthusiastic owners. We travel to France by Eurostar to Lille, going on to visit a fascinating private garden in Picardy before arriving in Upper Normandy.

    Our hotel is charming, comfortable and well placed in the countryside near Dieppe. Le Clos Masure is an original half-timbered Norman farmhouse and has been beautifully restored by its owners who are most welcoming...

  1. Portugal – Gardens of Lisbon, Sintra and the Douro Valley

    27 September – 04 October 2021

    Our tour of formal gardens around Lisbon and Sintra – which has its own microclimate - offers contrasting landscapes, styles and vegetation. Historically, the arrival of the Moors brought remarkable garden architecture and species to Portugal, with properties enclosed by high walls and the introduction of colourful tiles, pools and citrus trees. In Lisbon the major development of gardens came later, in the eighteenth century, although the city suffered significant damage in the great earthquake of 1755. The gardens around Sintra were laid out in the following century, when natural landscape design was fashionable. We end our tour with visits in the Douro Valley in the north, surrounded by rolling hills covered with rows of vines.

  1. Morocco – Gardens of Marrakech, Taroudant & The Atlas Mountains

    05 – 13 October 2021

    Morocco is a country of contrasts: The buzz of the medina and exotic souks in Marrakech, hidden gardens, long views to the mountains and warm, hospitable people happy to share their history over a glass of mint tea.

    Our first hotel is near Taroudant, south of the Atlas Mountains: Dar al Hossoun is a riad guest house with an amazing garden designed by Eric Ossart and Arnaud Maurières, well-known French garden architects and designers. We discover a good selection of private gardens nearby and visit the beautiful villa and estate of the late Chilean artist Claudio Bravo...

  1. South Africa – The Western Cape – Exceptional Gardens and Private Reserves

    08 - 21 November 2021

    Our Western Cape tour combines beautiful gardens in springtime with the flora and wildlife in the spectacular hinterland of the Little Karoo and the mountainous coastline.
    The region has a Mediterranean climate, abundant sources of water, mostly acid soil and above all a rich indigenous flora. We visit exceptional gardens, of which some surround delightful Cape Dutch manor houses, while others are extensive plant collectors’ gardens, and yet others feature contemporary designs. Among the highlights are Kirstenbosch gardens, with a remarkable collection of indigenous plants laid out in a stunning location at the foot of the Table Mountain Range; and the recently created Babylonstoren, spectacular in both design and concept.


We set a high priority on keeping groups to a comfortable size.

Garden tours have a maximum of 16 participants. Our specialist natural history and safari groups in Botswana and Namibia have a maximum of 10 and are accompanied by our experienced local guide.

In addition, tailor-made itineraries to Namibia and Botswana are offered for a minimum of 2 and up to 8 people, also accompanied by our expert guide, and cover 12 – 14 days. On request, we will adapt the programme to incorporate your particular interests.