As a garden-lover I’ve always wanted to visit Madeira,‘the floating garden in the Atlantic’. I’m expecting to see variety, drama, and masses of colour too - just what we'll all need after a long winter in the UK!Joe Swift
The Gardens of Madeira with Joe Swift
Thanks to its balmy subtropical climate, Madeira is home to many of the world's most beautiful gardens. So imagine exploring these horticultural heavens in the company of the UK's top garden designer, writer and TV presenter - Joe Swift.
We have joined forces with Joe to offer this exclusive six-day experience, during which you'll get the benefit of Joe's huge expertise - he's been presenting Gardeners' World for almost 20 years and will be reporting at RHS Chelsea Flower Show this month.
You'll get private tours with Joe around the island's most famous gardens, take a scenic walk with him along the levadas - Madeira's famous network of canals - and join him for dinner and an exclusive Q&A.
You'll also enjoy afternoon tea at the famous Belmond Reid's Palace, plus relax at your five-star hotel, the Meliá Madeira Mare. This holiday is an absolute must for anyone passionate about plants and gardening.
Three reasons to book now
1 Explore Madeira with Joe Swift
2 Take tea at Reid's Palace
3 Enjoy a Madeiran toboggan ride
Your expert guide
- Return flights and transfers
- Five nights' five-star accommodation at the Meliá Madeira Mare hotel
- All breakfasts, four dinners and two lunches, including special lunch and dinner with Joe Swift
- A luxury afternoon tea at Belmond Reid's Palace hotel
- Exclusive Q&A and private talk from Joe Swift
- Guided tours of Madeira's finest gardens in the company of Joe Swift
- A guided walk with Joe along the levadas, Madeira's famous network of canals
- The services of an expert Brightwater tour guide
Day1Welcome to MadeiraMelia Madeira Mare, Portugal
MONDAY 19TH MARCH, 2018
After flying direct from London to Madeira, you will be transferred to your luxurious home for the next five nights: the five-star Meliá Madeira Mare hotel in Funchal.
The afternoon is free to relax and explore the island before this evening's welcome buffet dinner at one of Meliá Madeira Mare's excellent restaurants.
Day2Madeira's Best GardensQuinta do Palheiro gardens, Portugal
TUESDAY 20TH MARCH, 2018
Your green-fingered adventure starts in earnest today with visits to some of the most beautiful
gardens in Madeira.
EXCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE: The famous garden designer and Gardeners' World presenter Joe Swift will be joining you for a morning tour of the spectacular gardens of Quinta do Palheiro, which are dramatically set in the hills to the east of Funchal.
Together with Joe, you will then have the chance to explore another must-see attraction: the Botanical Gardens, where you will receive a private tour from the garden's curator and get the chance to ask Joe about the 2,000 varieties of plant on show, often in stunningly designed geometric patterns. Joe will also be joining you for a special lunch at a local restaurant before, in the afternoon, you explore a hand-picked selection of privately owned gardens in and around Funchal.
EXCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE: During this evening's dinner, Joe will give a fascinating private talk about his successful career as a garden designer, journalist and TV presenter, featuring behind-the-scenes stories about his 20-year stint as a presenter of Gardeners' World, and Joe's expert insights as to what makes a truly great garden. There will also be the chance to ask him your gardening questions!
Day3Walking the levadasFunchal, Madeira, Portugal
WEDNESDAY 21ST MARCH, 2018
After spending the previous day exploring Madeira's wonderful gardens, you now have the chance to discover some of the other breathtaking highlights this special island has to offer.
EXCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE: In the morning, Joe will accompany you for a gentle stroll along the levadas, Madeira's ancient system of aqueducts and canals that was first developed in the 16th century to bring water from the rainy north to irrigate crops such as sugar, bananas and grapes growing in the sunsoaked south. In total, more than 2,500km of levadas criss-cross the island - though, don't worry, you won't have to walk them all!
You have the afternoon free to relax at your five-star hotel or explore more of Madeira at your leisure before dinner at a local restaurant.
Day4Tea at Belmond Reid's PalaceBelmond Reid's Palace, Portugal
THURSDAY 22ND MARCH, 2018
You will start today on a high with a 10-minute cable car ride to Monte, a pretty village perched in the hills above Funchal that's home to your next destination: the Monte Palace Tropical Garden, which covers more than 70,000 square metres and showcases a tremendous collection of exotic plants - together with an accompanying band of ducks, swans, chickens and peacocks.
After your tour of the gardens, you will have the option of taking part in one of Madeira's most
treasured traditions: a 10-minute toboggan ride where you'll slide down the streets from Monte to Funchal in traditional wicker toboggans. It's safer than it sounds!
The historical theme continues this afternoon with a visit to another Madeiran institution, Belmond Reid's Palace (belmond.com/reidspalace), built in the 1890s by the Scotsman William Reid and host to celebrities, royalty - and Winston Churchill while he wrote his wartime memoirs. As well as visiting the hotel's beautiful sloping gardens, you will also have the chance to enjoy its famous hospitality during an afternoon tea of finger sandwiches, fresh scones and homemade pastries, with jam, butter, cream and your choice of tea.
The rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy at your leisure - perhaps with a seaside stroll to walk off the cream…
Day5Tour of MadeiraEira do Cerrado, Portugal
FRIDAY 23RD MARCH, 2018
This morning you'll venture even further afield with an expert guided tour of the island, featuring sightseeing trips to two impressive scenic viewpoints, at Pico de Barcelo and Eira do Cerrado, before you return to Funchal for lunch at a local restaurant.
The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy the Madeiran sun or explore your favourite parts of the island at your own pace. This evening's farewell dinner at a local restaurant also features a live show of Madeiran folk dancing.
Day6Returning HomeMelia Madeira Mare, Portugal
SATURDAY 24TH MARCH, 2018
After saying goodbye to Madeira and the five-star comforts of the Meliá Madeira Mare hotel, you will be transferred to Funchal airport for your direct flight back to London.
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