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Swiss Garden, Bedfordshire

Also see Shuttleworth Collection

Bridge at the Swiss garden by Barbara Ballard Swiss garden peacock by Barbara Ballard The Swiss garden, dating from 1820, the late Regency period, was created by Lord Ongley. A raised terrace on the western edge of the garden was added in the 1870s when Old Warden Park (home to the garden) was purchased by the Shuttleworth family. The garden is in the Swiss picturesque style with formal walks and vistas, thatched buildings, woodland glades, a grotto, a fernery, trees, and a bridge. There are two ponds, an Indian pavilion, and specimen shrubs and conifers. Peacocks wander in the grounds.

Thatched cottage in grounds by Barbara Ballard Detail on garden fountain by Barbara Ballard The thatched Swiss cottage in the grounds is the focal point of a number of created vistas. The inside of the cottage is decorated with bark and fir cones. The cottage is thought to be the work of the architect John Buonarotti Papworth, who lived nearby.

Swiss garden view by Barbara Ballard Swiss garden view by Barbara Ballard

After being closed for restoration the nine acre garden re-opened in the summer of 2014. The restoration transformed its once crumbling fairytale-style landscape and buildings back to its Regency appearance.

Garden bridge by Andy Marshall garden view by Andy Marshall

The garden’s 13 listed buildings and structures, including six listed at Grade II*, were conserved during the restoration with its two-storey centrepiece, the Swiss Cottage, re-thatched, the cottage finials re-gilded with 23 carat gold leaf and missing or broken rustic decoration replaced. Almost 4300 panes of glass in the grotto and fernery were replaced with hand-cut handmade cylinder glass.

Building in the garden by Andy Marshall Structure in the garden by Andy Marshall Now visitors can enjoy thousands of shrubs and bulbs in bloom and can wander along recreated paths to enjoy the once lost vistas. With the original layout of the Swiss Garden so intact, it is the best surviving Regency garden in the country and a unique example of the ‘Swiss Picturesque’ style.

After visiting the garden aviation addicts can immerse themselves in the Shuttleworth aeroplane collection on the grounds.

Swiss Garden

Structure in the garden by Andy Marshall At Shuttleworth, on Biggleswade Road, Old Warden Park, Bedfordshire
Signposted from A1 Biggleswade roundabout, southeast of Bedford, SG18 9EP
Tel. 01767 627927
Shop, café, children’s outdoor play area; free parking; at the same location is the Shuttleworth Collection. Tickets are available for entry to the garden only or a joint ticket is available for the Shuttleworth Collection.
Website: Shuttleworth

Photos © by Barbara Ballard and by Andy Marshall (courtesy Swiss garden)

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