Venture to Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and you’ll find a gem worthy of traveling for. Longwood Gardens is home to 1,100 acres of stunning indoor and outdoor gardens. There’s so much to see and the plants in bloom are always changing. It’s the perfect spot for a relaxing day trip.
This fall, come see a display of 5,000 yellow, orange, lavender and maroon chrysanthemums. The Chrysanthemum Festival takes place from September 30 through November 12 and is based on an ancient art from Japan and China, where flowers are arranged in the shape of spirals, obelisks, columns and clouds.
After you visit the Conservatory indoors, head to the outdoor 86-acre Meadow Garden, which reaches its peak in autumn. Besides the flowers, you’ll see jets of water in all shapes, sizes and colors in the Main Fountain Garden. Illuminated Fountain performances are at 8:15 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through October 28.
Fall evenings are the perfect time to visit the Beer Garden, where there will be live music, food and drinks Thursday through Saturday. The Garden Railway is also back with its miniature world of Longwood landmarks, seasonal plants and dozens of engines.
Near the Idea Garden, the Pumpkin Playground has a seasonal display of pumpkins, gourds and corn husk towers. There’s also a special Performance Series for the 2023-24 season, including British vocalists VOCES8 on October 12, Gaelic solo artist Julie Fowlis on October 18 and jazz singer Bria Skonberg on November 10.
The conservatory at Longwood Gardens, built in 1921, is not to be missed. It houses an array of plants and gardens like bonsai trees, orchids, collections of tropical and Mediterranean plants and more. The conservatory also has an exhibition hall, which showcases a rotation of plant artistry installations.
Outside the conservatory, stroll through some of the many expertly designed and maintained open-air gardens. Some gardens are dedicated to certain flowers, like peonies and roses. Others showcase a mix of plants, like the Meadow Garden. You can get lost in one of many peaceful, wooded nature trails. The Flower Garden Walk and the Idea Garden have dozens of gorgeous flowers in bloom.
A centerpiece of Longwood Gardens is the collection of fountains. The Main Fountain Garden boasts spectacular water shows scheduled throughout the day and a colorful illuminated nighttime show. You can also catch water displays at the Open Air Theatre, which has been putting on shows since 1914, or relax in the Italian Water Garden. If you have a kid who loves to learn how things work, you might even be able to catch a peek into the plumbing and electricity that make these stunning displays possible.
Longwood Gardens has lots of hidden gems, too. The Chimes Tower and Waterfall are among them. Longwood Gardens isn’t just limited to the warmer months. Stop by from November through January and walk through the award-winning light display while sipping hot cocoa.
The Chrysanthemum Festival runs from September 30 through November 12. From September 30 through October 28, the gardens are open Sunday, Monday and Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm; and Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm. Then, from October 29 through November 12, the gardens are open from 10 am to 6 pm Wednesday to Monday. The gardens are always closed on Tuesdays.
Timed admission tickets are required. Timed reservations are required for Members Thursday through Saturday from 3 pm to closing. Reservations are not required for Gardens Premium Members and Innovators.
Next up is A Longwood Christmas, which decorates the entire interior and exterior of the property in dazzling Christmas lights. The theme this season is retro, so you’ll feel like you’re back in the ’40s and ’50s. A Longwood Christmas runs from November 17 to January 7, 2024. Tickets are on sale now.
A Trip to Longwood Gardens Should Be On Your Holiday To-Do List
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