This year, Usk Open Gardens weekend will be on 29th/30th June. Now in its 25th year and celebrating its Silver Anniversary, the weekend has many regular fans and has become a regular pre-Hampton Court RHS venue.
And this year there will be even more reasons to visit. In 2018 Usk was ecstatic to be awarded Champion Large Village in World in Bloom (Communities in Bloom), as well as Gold and first place in Wales in Bloom, and Gold in the Champion of Champions section of Britain in Bloom. So even if you can’t make the Open Gardens weekend, a visit any time this summer will be well rewarded.
Usk is a delightfully picturesque small town south of Monmouth and Abergavenny, just 20 minutes from the Severn Bridge. During the Open Gardens weekend, around 20 gardens are open, from small cottages packed with colourful and unusual plants, to large gardens with brimming herbaceous borders. Star of the weekend is the romantic garden around the medieval ramparts of Usk Castle, with lovely views over the town and down the tranquil Usk valley.
The event is a whole town effort, with the girl guides serving Welsh cakes at the Castle, home-made teas served by church groups, the town band playing and local art groups displaying their paintings. The Victorian Courthouse and the Rural Life Museum throw their doors open and there is a Gardeners’ Market with interesting plants – all in all, a great day out for all the family, with lots of place to eat and drink, or you can find your own picnic spot by the river.
There is plenty of free parking in the main car parks, plus a coach park. All are within walking distance of the gardens, and there is a regular mini-bus service around the town, as well as blue-badge parking at Usk Castle car park.
All profits are donated to local charities. So far, over £250,000 has been raised, benefiting the town and charities beyond,
People do come from surprising distances to this event. One group visits from Belgium and a Canadian group is making a return visit this year, as they enjoyed it so much in 2013.