The infinite variety and character of English gardens have been delighting visitors for centuries. And the green and pleasant land's love affair with horticulture still thrives—an array of sublime landscapes awaits those prepared to venture off the proverbial garden path. Classical gardens don't get much finer than those at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. Designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century, the grounds are so grand it's said they inspired Jane Austen's vision of Mr. Darcy's home in Pride and Prejudice
; Chatsworth was used as the set of his house for last year's film adaptation. A huge maze, a rose garden and a 300-year-old hillside water cascade are just some of the pleasures set among the estate's 42 hectares, chatsworth.org
Similarly historical but recently restyled is the Duchess of Northumberland's extravagant garden at Alnwick, Northumberland, pictured, which boasts the world's largest tree house and a poison garden, alnwickgarden.com
. For English eccentricity at its best, visit filmmaker Derek Jarman's strange but enchanting garden on the shingle beach in Dungeness, Kent. At Prospect Cottage, in the shadow of a nuclear power plant, lavender and poppies poke out behind sculptures fashioned from old gardening tools and driftwood. Jarman featured the garden as both Gethsemane and Eden in one of his last films. There will be plenty there to tempt you too.