10 ‘Bridgerton’-Style Gardens in the U.S.

Sissinghurst Castle's lush, green landscape of trees, shrubs, and gardens

It’s not just the romantic rendezvous that attracts so many fans to Netflix’s “Bridgerton.” The resplendent lawns and private gardens that are the romantic backdrop for the cinematic scenes transport us back in time. Thanks to the foresight and imagination of our American ancestors, we get to experience the thrill of Bridgerton gardens without traveling “across the pond.” 

As pioneers settled in America, our unbridled prairies gave way to those who yearned for the “ordered wilderness” of English gardens. Lawn care has become an obsession, and the nearly $30 billion lawn care industry has 19th-century English gardens to thank. 

Dear Reader: You can immerse yourself in the intrigue of Bridgerton. Consider a day trip, vacation stop, or a Regency-themed wedding destination in one of these 10 glorious American gardens.

1. Filoli Gardens, Woodside, CA

Filoli Gardens, Woodside, CA
Filoli Gardens / 12019 / Pixabay

Filoli Gardens unfurls its majesty across 16 acres of English gardens in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California’s coast. One reviewer noted, “this is the equivalent of Downton Abbey in a short drive from San Francisco.” Tall yews line the expansive promenades, and the aroma of blooming daffodils fill the air. Stroll through the sunken garden, and revel in the blooms of the weeping cherry trees.

Visit the gift shop under the charming Clock Tower and go back in time. You can almost imagine Bridgerton’s high society strolling through the walled garden while Penelope discreetly collects information. They may be telling the most scandalous secrets, but Lady Whistledown already knows.

Filoli Gardens
Fun Fact: The Filoli name comes from the first two letters of the keywords of its creator’s William Bourn II’s personal code: Fight for a just cause. Love your fellow man. Live a good life.

Admission: Adults $25, seniors $22, children $15, members free
Tripadvisor Rating:  4.5 stars

2. Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Duke University, Durham, NC

Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Duke University, Durham, NC

Sarah P. Duke Gardens / Ildar Sagdejev / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Duke University surrounds 55 acres of gardens that delight nature lovers and gardeners. Enjoy the bright splashes of spring tulips and daffodils, rhododendrons, and dahlias. The colorful blooms are reminiscent of the Featherington family, dressed in their finest fluffery, vying for the attention of acceptable well-to-do suitors strolling on landscaped terraces.

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens offer visitors a taste of history with wisteria-laden pergolas, fountains, native plantings, and rose gardens to explore. The gift shop features Duke souvenirs and eclectic garden accents to add whimsy to your home garden.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Fun Fact: Walking through all the beauty of Duke Gardens could lead you to think it would be a cool idea to view the gardens from above, via a drone. Can’t do that. Drone flights are banned at the garden, so suffice yourself to surround yourself in the majesty of the gardens from eye level, not a bird’s eye view.

Admission: It’s free to explore Duke Gardens, but Duke University charges a fee for parking.
Tripadvisor Rating: 5 stars

3. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, MI

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, MI

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park / Michael Barera / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Reflecting the beauty of a 19th-century English grass terrace, the amphitheater garden envelops visitors in sculpture, acoustics, and garden views.

You can almost imagine the Bridgertons and all of London society bringing their picnic lunches and listening to string orchestras; I dare say the 82x155x76-inch Lying Man wouldn’t be the only lying man in the garden. It’s the perfect place for Simon to steal a kiss from Daphne.

The Sculpture Park path winds you through waterfalls, lawns, and contemplative meadows while you view the major works of sculpted art throughout the park.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Fun Fact: If that Meijer name sounds familiar, yes, Midwest supermarket pioneer Frederik Meijer financed the gardens and sculpture park. Meijer stores predated Walmart with the concept of all-in-one grocery and department superstores.

Admission: Adults $18, seniors and students $13.50, children ages 3-13, and museum members and children 2 and younger free.
Tripadvisor Rating: 5 stars

4. Phipps Conservatory and Botanic Garden, Pittsburgh, PA

Phipps Conservatory and Botanic Garden, Pittsburgh, PA
Phipps Conservatory and Botanic Garden / David Fulmer / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Like a lush island in the middle of the progressive Oakland community, Phipps Conservatory and Botanic Garden has beckoned visitors since its opening in 1893. The garden boasts one of the oldest and largest Victorian greenhouses in the nation. You can tour the sunken garden that could be the setting of Colin and Penelope’s nuptials.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanic Garden
Fun Fact: Monet in Bloom,” will present Monet’s famous works, including “Water Lillies” and “The Saint-Lazare Station,” in scenes of delicate flora and dreamlike design. “Monet in Bloom” runs from May 7 to Sept. 25, 2022.

Admission: Adults $19.95, seniors (62+) and students over 18 $17.95, children ages 2-18 $11.95, members and children under age 2 free
Tripadvisor Rating: 5  stars

5. Middleton Place, Charleston, SC

Middleton Place, Charleston, SC

Middleton Place / Ken Lund / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Beyond the historic American slavery story of the South, a beautiful garden grows with pathways walked since early colonial times. The terraced landscape leads to peaceful bodies of water, colorful gardens, and restful expanses of lawn.

A calming place, the gardens were the vision of Henry Middleton and built in the grand classic style of the early 1800s. Queen Charlotte would have been at home, strutting in her regal gowns, casting daggers at the commoners who dared to gather hydrangeas, roses, and ivy for fresh evening bouquets. The marble statues add to the peaceful effect.

Middleton Place is a national historic landmark beautifully healing its broken past. 

Middleton Place
Fun Fact: Middleton Place is steeped in history. Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, befriended French botanist, André Michaux, who is thought to have brought the first camellias in America to Middleton Place. Henry Middleton. Governor Henry Middleton, Arthur’s son, planted many more camellias and introduced additional plant material, including tea olives and crepe myrtles.

Admission: Adults (age 14 and up) $29, students (ages 14 and older) $15, children (ages 6-13) $10, children ages 5 and under free.
Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5 stars

6. Green Animals Topiary Garden, Portsmouth, RI

Green Animals Topiary Garden, Portsmouth, RI
Green Animals Topiary Garden / Brian Feathers / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Nestled in Narragansett Bay, the Green Animals Topiary Garden features more than 80 meticulously-trimmed topiaries, arbors, imported beech trees, a koi pond, and formal gardens. Steal away like Lady Daphne to find your own dashing Duke between the jutting topiary spires and the colorful Dahlia Garden. The garden is wheelchair accessible.

Green Animals Topiary Garden
Fun Fact: Come for the topiaries, stay for the daffodils. In addition to more than 80 topiaries in the shape of animals and geometric designs, this historic garden is planted with 19,000 daffodils in 58 varieties, along with more than 6,000 tulips and thousands of uncommon and unusual flowering bulbs.

Admission: Adults 18 and older $25, youths ages 6-17 $10
Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5 stars

7. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO

Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO
Missouri Botanical Garden / Andrew Balet / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Missouri Botanical Garden covers 79 acres with featured conservatories, horticultural displays, and beautiful formal gardens. As much a nature classroom as it is a visual delight, the garden hosts workshops and wine strolls.

I can imagine the women of the Ton at the party with limestone terraces, beautiful pools full of water lilies, and formal hornbeam hedges. Madame Delacroix would watch in horror as deep red Cabernet Sauvignon splashed down the front of a lacy white gown. Perhaps the scent of roses on a warm evening stroll in the Gladney Rose Garden would calm her frayed nerves. 

Missouri Botanical Garden
Fun Fact: The Climatron and Japanese Garden tend to get a lot of attention, but the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Victorian District represents the beginning of the garden and the ending (the final resting place) of its founder Henry Shaw. Among the gardens in the Victorian District is a pincushion garden, one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Admission: General (ages 13 and up) $14, St. Louis city/county resident $6, members free
Tripadvisor Rating: 5 stars

8. The Biltmore, Asheville, NC

The Biltmore, Asheville, NC
The Biltmore / Smart Destinations / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Biltmore is an 8,000-acre estate with formal gardens, a winery, and the Antler Hill Village where guests can lodge, find souvenirs, and take in all of Biltmore’s education and relaxation. You’ll find playgrounds, wine tastings, and farmyard visits for every young heart.

Feisty feminist Eloise Bridgerton would have loved to disappear into the historic rose garden featuring 250 varieties. Depending on the season, gardeners and nature lovers can soak in the orchids, poinsettias, and chrysanthemums. Mystery and whimsey will be your guide as you walk through the Walled Garden or giggle near the knobby knees of the cypress trees as you wander from garden to garden.

The Biltmore
Fun Fact: The Biltmore’s lush landscape, from the Italian Garden to the trees in America’s first managed forest, represents the creative vision of America’s foremost landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted., who also designed Central Park in New York City. Oh, and after touring The Biltmore gardens, sip down and relax at the winery.

Admission: Ticket options for spring (April 1 to May 26) start at $86 per person
Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5 stars

9. The Owens-Thomas House, Savannah, GA

The Owens-Thomas House, Savannah, GA​
The Owens-Thomas House / Taliaasunshinee / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

The story of the Owens-Thomas House is as compelling as the beautiful landscape that awaits you.

The small estate was passed down through the years, then donated to the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences so it could serve as a museum. Designed in the English Regency architectural style of the 19th century, the museum added a parterre garden in 1956. 

Stroll through the arbors, blooming annuals, and a central fountain one evening and imagine hearing Prudence, Philippa, and Penelope talk of marrying a handsome Duke. The estate holds a carriage house, main house, workspaces, and art from 16th and 17th century England and America.

The Owens-Thomas House
Fun Fact: A parterre-style garden links the main house and the carriage house. Though the style is appropriate for an English Regency villa in the early 19th century, in the early 1950s, when the house became a museum, landscape architect Clermont Lee designed the garden you see today.

Admission: Adults $22, senior (65+) $20, students (ages 13-25) $15, children (ages 6-12) $5, members and children ages 5 and under free.
Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5 stars

10. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, FL

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, FL
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens / Averette / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

To explore the gardens at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is to walk through a 1700s-1800s European-style garden. Imagine a Bridgerton garden party in the formal garden, with the guests retiring to the David A. Klein Orchidarium for a nightcap and a stringed quartet for entertainment.

The Main Gardens feature an aerial hedge of trimmed live oak trees that seem to float in the air. The Marine Garden’s reflecting pool offers restful walkways and ornate rails and the stone stairway leads to the Garden Mound with its majestic oaks and quiet stops along the way. In the formal garden, statues are lit, making moonlight garden tours even more alluring. And what happens in the Secret Garden with its stone seashell chair, stays in the garden. 

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Fun Fact: With a formal orchidarium, Vizcaya now aims to become home to the first PCN-certified (Plant Collection Network) representative collection of Cattleya orchids in the U.S. Cattleya orchids are sometimes called “Queen of Orchids,” and Miami’s climate is perfect for growing them.

Admission: Adults (13 and older) $25, children ages 6-12 $10, children ages 5 and under and members are free
Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5 stars

Want your own backyard ‘Bridgerton’ dreamscape?

Sure, a lush lawn and beautiful garden with manicured topiaries would cost a bundle, but you can create your own backyard dreamscape with a gazebo, rain garden, butterfly garden, or carefully trimmed hedges. A LawnStarter landscaping artist can help make your dreamscape a reality — even on a budget.

Main Photo Credit: Sissinghurst Castle / GraceKelly / CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Penny Warner

Penny Warner

Penny Warner is a freelance writer in mid-Missouri. She earned sustainable agriculture and horticulture degrees and is growing her flower farm and market with her granddaughters by her side.