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Hertfordshire, SG4 8BP

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2018-01-25 06:20:23

Opening Days and Hours
Dates/days/times open:

 Sundays, 23 April, 14  May, 11 June,  2pm-7pm Other days by appointment.

Parties/Coaches: Yes
Group Appointment: Yes
House Open for Viewing: Yes
National Garden Scheme days: Yes

As above

Best Times of Year to Visit:

April - June

To see:

Daffodils, irises, magnolias, rhododendrons, woodland paeonies and lilies growing naturally

Admission Prices

Adult £5; Child £1. £7.50 garden, £15 house and garden if by appointment

Onsite Facilities
Parking: Yes
Shop: No
Teas: Yes
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Lavatories: Yes
Plants for Sale: No
Refreshment: Yes
On Lead only: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Lunches: No
Picnics: Yes
Special Events: No
Other Facilities & Comments:

Disabled Access to part of the garden

Garden Features & Events

18th century temples and statues, open air theatre, lake and ponds. Childhood home of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor in July, see website for details

English Heritage/Visit Scotland Garden Grade:
National Collection:
Nearby Cambridgeshire Hotels, Facilities & Amenities

Hotels & Accommodation:

Rose Cottage, Whitwell Brocket Arms, Ayot St Lawrence The Priory, Hitchin Redcoats, St Ippolytts


The Rusty Gun, St Ippolytts; Brocket Arms, Ayot St Lawrence; Redcoats, St Ippolytts

Inns & Pubs:

The Bull, Whitwell Maiden's Head, Whitwell Strathmore Arms, St Pauls Walden

Villages / Towns / Sightseeing:

St Pauls Walden church; attractive small market town of Hitchin, 5, miles away.

Description of Garden

This 18th century Grade I listed formal woodland garden, covering about 60 acres, was much influenced by French tastes, and is one of the few surviving examples of gardens of this genre. It is based on a patte d'oie (goose foot) design with long rides lined with clipped beech hedges leading to temples and statues. The temple by the lake was designed by William Chambers.

The formal garden is complemented by seasonal displays of snowdrops, daffodils, irises, magnolias, rhododendrons, woodland paeonies and lilies growing naturally. Many of the rhododendron species from the Himalayas and SW China. make a spectacular sight in a good flowering year. Wild flowers are encouraged: banks of cowslips above the lake and bluebells in the woods make a good show, and spotted orchids thrive. They are allowed to seed before the grass in which they grow is cut, so there is a natural look in some parts of the garden in early summer.

History Of Garden

The gardens were designed by the owner Edward Gilbert, in 1720 - 1730, based on formal French patte d'oie (goose foot) design, Gilbert's grand-daughter, Mary Eleanor Bowes married John Lyon, Earl of Strathmore, and the house and garden still belong to the Bowes Lyon family. It was the childhood home of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The original garden design remains the same, as hedges and avenues have been replanted in the same positions as before. More recent additions do not intrude on the original design, and the woodland garden developed since 1950, has, amongst other plants, many rhododendrons and magnolia.

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