Anyone enjoying a ‘staycation’ this summer should make the most of a wealth of gardens open to the public, from National Trust properties to privately owned country estates, royal parks and RHS treasure troves of colour.

Among the pick of the crop are: n Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ Enjoy a satisfying stroll at the 30-acre estate this summer, one of the great gardens of the North West. Its new rose garden features more than 160 varieties of stunning roses, and kids can search for quiz clues in the garden, spot a deer, clamber and climb on the log pile or help feed the chickens. (nationaltrust.; 0161 941 1025) n Scampston Walled Garden, Malton, North Yorkshire If you love contemporary design, innovative planting and a mixture of old intermingling with new, don’t miss a visit here. The four-and-a-half acre 18th century garden, once a neglected kitchen garden occupied by Christmas trees and sheep, has been transformed into nine individual rooms separated by formal beech hedging, each room completely different from the other.

Venturing from room to room, you’ll find a sea of colour one minute, then the next, you’ll find minimal green areas highlighted with topiary or punctuated with swathes of wavy grass.

Set in a glorious landscape of Capability Brown parkland, complete with serpentine lake, Palladian bridges and mature oak trees, the award-winning Dutch designer Piet Oudolf, one of the leading figures in a movement known as 'new wave planting' and previous Chelsea gold medal winner, was brought in to help realise the dream.

(; phone 01944 759111) n Alnwick Gardens, Denwick Lane, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1YU This immense site is perfect for the family. Not only does it house one of the country’s largest collections of European plants, laid out in striking geometric beds in its ornamental garden, and the impressive grand cascade, the largest water feature of its kind in the country, it also has plenty to interest younger family members too. For others, a visit to the famous poison garden is a must. Monkshood rubs shoulders with hemlock, foxgloves, aquilegia, autumn crocus (colchicum autumnale), laburnum and hellebores. They are all common plants you might find in your garden or in a hedgerow, and all with different levels of toxicity.

(; phone 01665 511350) n Blickling Estate, Blickling, Norwich, Norfolk NR11 6NF One of England's great Jacobean houses, it is widely believed to be the home to Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn. The beautiful parkland houses a glorious lake and woodland, offering plenty of picnicking spots. Let the kids discover the secret garden, investigate the ancient temple and smell the wonderful citrus trees in the orangery. You can also hire bikes to explore the park or even play a game of croquet on the lawns.

(; phone 01263 738030) n House of Pitmuies, Guthrie, By Forfar, Angus DD8 2SN, Scotland If you love old-fashioned delphiniums and other gorgeous traditional perennials, then these gardens will be for you.

Two semi-formal wall gardens adjoin the 18th century house and shelter long border of herbaceous perennials, superb delphiniums, old fashioned roses and pavings of violas and dianthus.

Below the gardens is a 25-acre arboretum where you can enjoy spacious lawns and lochside walks beneath fine trees.

(; phone 01241 828245)