6 Enchanting Secret Gardens Around the World

From California to Canada, and Mexico to England, these are the most amazing secret gardens you've probably never heard of.

From the sweet English roses of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic novel to the gothic tendrils of Spanish moss in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," gardens evoke a fairytale atmosphere that could have sprung from the pages of your favorite story.

Beyond the Cottagecore charm of winding through topiaries, one of the best aspects of a garden is the privacy. The most enchanting outdoor spaces are often secluded from the hustle and bustle of society — some are even a surprise. A secret garden isn’t just the name of a famous novel but a sheltered area that provides sanctuary in the natural world. 

You’ve probably heard of the Gardens of Versailles and the Portland International Rose Test Garden, but you might not know about the less-frequented landscapes found in far-flung locales. From azalea blooms in Napa to summer gardens at a lakefront Quebec hideaway to the walled oasis on castle grounds, these enchanting gardens are the world’s best-kept secrets.

Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland

Aerial view of walled garden at Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland
Courtesy of Dromoland Castle

The scenic, walled gardens at this 16th-century castle-turned-hotel are tucked away past a long arched tunnel on the southern end of the grounds. The garden features a lush lily pond, sundial, and views galore of the tranquil Lough Dromoland. It is based on designs by André Le Nôtre, the mastermind behind the famous gardens at Versailles. Guests at Dromoland receive a map of the gardens upon check-in, and should not miss the dramatic yew tree gallery, which dates back to 1740.

Far Niente in Napa, California

Spring blooms at Far Niente Garden in Napa, California
Courtesy of Far Niente

These southern-style gardens are set back into the gorgeous wine country landscape and sheltered by rings of olive trees. At this Napa vineyard, there are 13 acres of stunning gardens surrounding the winery, including the largest planting of azaleas on the West Coast.

Walk among the secluded quiet of Napa Valley over the stone bridge to a private gazebo while you watch the fog roll in off the mountains. At the height of their bloom, the plants color the estate with hues of bright red and pink. More than 100 Autumn Gold ginkgo trees line both sides of the road leading up to the winery, and in the fall months, they light up in electrifying gold colors. The gardens are also home to Japanese maple, Japanese snowbell, lion's head maple, Chinese fringe, and saucer magnolia trees.

Far Niente describes its gardens as a "three-act play," increasing in drama at each point: the road leading to the winery lined with ginkgo trees; the entrance, with its towering redwoods, acacias, dogwoods, and century-old cork oak trees; and the final act, which reveals the winery, lined with olive trees along the front drive and cloaked in colorful Virginia creepers.

Cadogan Place Gardens in London

Belmond Cadogan
Courtesy of Belmond

What was once the late 18th century London Botanic Garden is now a private communal green space for Cadogan residents. Built in 1886, the garden is defined by its shrubbery and canopy of trees which provide privacy from the hustle and bustle of Sloane Street. Here, visitors will find tennis courts, bronze statues by British Sculptor David Wynne, and mature mulberry trees from England’s failed attempt at silk under Charles II. Beyond the ample shrubs, the lawn is dotted with rose beds and the garden includes charming touches like ponds and arbors.   

If you’re not a local, no need to worry — you can still visit the lush respite by booking a room at The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel. Guests have access to the gardens and the concierge will even help you book a tennis game or an afternoon tea picnic on the lawns.  

Manoir Hovey in Quebec, Canada

Exterior of Manor Harvey surrounded by beautiful flowers during summer
Courtesy of Manoir Harvey

This five-star historic manor harkens back to the days of summer houses and mint juleps on the lawn. Built in 1900 by an Atlanta titan of industry as his northern retreat, Manoir Hovey was modeled after George Washington’s home in Virginia. Tucked in the Appalachian Mountains of Quebec, Canada, the Relais & Châteaux property sits on more than 30 acres of beautifully landscaped private gardens and birch forest along the shores of Lake Massawippi near North Hatley. The English gardens include perennials and annuals, and there are herbs and produce from the edible garden.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, England

Such purple and yellow flowers in a garden at Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, England
Courtesy of Heligan Gardens

Seemingly plucked from the pages of a storybook, The Lost Gardens of Heligan include 200 acres of excitement for any plant and wildlife lover. Although not a secret anymore, the gardens were once completely hidden and forgotten after World War I. It wasn't until the 1990s that a team brought the oasis back to life, making it the largest restored garden in Europe. Thanks to those efforts, visitors can now roam around this paradise of bamboo tunnels, majestic tree ferns, and ancient rhododendrons. There's even a jungle that contains ponds, rhubarbs, banana trees, and lines of palms.

Las Pozas in Xilitla, Mexico

A surreaqlistic garden constructed in the middle of a mexican jungle in the city of Xilitla
Getty Images

Created by English poet and surrealist art collector Edward James, with the guidance of Plutarco Gastélum, Las Pozas is a serene garden hidden in the jungles of Mexico. The whimsical sculpture garden includes natural waterfalls and pools, a bathtub shaped like an eye, and surrealist structures like spiral staircases that end abruptly in midair.

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