This enchanting garden was created in the 'Swiss Picturesque' style for the 3rd Lord Ongley in the early C19 and reopened in July 2014 after a major HLF-funded restoration. Serpentine paths lead to cleverly contrived vistas, many of which focus on the thatched Swiss Cottage. Beautiful wrought-iron bridges, ponds, sweeping lawns and the magnificent Pulhamite-lined Grotto Fernery have all been given a new lease of life by this landmark restoration.
Sunday 18 February, Sunday 20 May (9.30am - 5pm). Admission £6.00, children free.
The Shuttleworth Restaurant - open all day.
The pathways in the Swiss Garden are firm and even, with minimal gradients, and most are suitable for access by wheelchair users.
How to find us
The Swiss Garden, Old Warden Aerodrome, Old Warden, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, SG18 9ER
2m W of Biggleswade. Signed from A1 & A600.
More about The Swiss Garden
The Swiss Garden was created in the 1820s. Its highly individual style sets it apart from other English gardens in this period of picturesque gardening and landscape design. Local legend tells of Lord Ongley designing the garden and the village of Old Warden to resemble the foothills of the Swiss Alps, which he may have visited on his Grand Tour. By the 1870s, the Shuttleworth family owned the estate and embellished the garden with Victorian flourishes. They removed the flamboyant tents and awnings of the Ongleys and created elaborate flowerbeds and a rockery, sympathetic to the earlier theme, while the planting of rare and unusual species of trees and shrubs began. Visitors are delighted by the charming features around the nine acre Swiss Garden: There are wrought-iron rose arches over wide lawns and a stately Broadwalk, tiny buildings decorated with unpeeled bark, split hazel and pine cones, serpentine paths winding around mounds and ponds with wrought iron bridges, an impressive Grotto & Fernery and the Swiss Cottage. Peacocks strut around splendid trees and shrubs, each season bringing different areas of interest alive, from the daffodil display in Spring, Rhododendrons and Azaleas, roses twining over arches in Summer, brilliant Acers announcing Autumn and a selection of scented shrubs, snowdrops and Hellebores in Winter. A new Woodland Sculpture Trail adds another dimension to the garden, created by a local chainsaw sculptor using ideas gathered by local schools and based on the garden's history. The Swiss Garden was saved from neglect by Bedfordshire County Council in the 1970s, and has now been restored fully with the help of £3.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Central Bedfordshire Council and other funders. Maintained and run by the Shuttleworth Trust, this romantic and unique Regency garden - the only complete example in the UK - is a must-see on the garden visitor's list.