Wrest Park, the Thomas Archer Pavilion. © English Heritage
English Heritage has announced it is going to restore Wrest Park, one of Britain’s finest surviving eighteenth century landscape gardens, to its original splendour.
Spread over 150 acres of Bedfordshire countryside, Wrest Park Gardens belonged to the de Grey family since the Middle Ages.
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, it flourished as each new generation commissioned prominent and respected landscape designers including Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, William Kent and Thomas Archer.
Subtle improvements were made with woodlands, a pavilion, formal continental gardens, sculptures and buildings influenced by the Romantic and Baroque period.
Wrest Park Conservatory. © English Heritage
However in recent decades the gardens lay derelict until English Heritage gained ownership of the estate two years ago. Having already spent £2 million on conservation, it recently published a 20-year plan to reverse the years of neglect and restore Wrest Park to its former glory.
“Wrest Park is one of the finest surviving eighteenth century landscapes in Britain. It is also one of our best historic secrets,” said Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage. “Wrest Park is now being restored bringing this once famous and beautiful landscape back into the limelight.”
In September and October, Wrest Park is open to the public at the weekends. It is free to English Heritage members with a small charge for non-members.