NOTE: The garden is closed for major restoration work and is due to reopen in mid-2014!


The Swiss Garden is part of the same complex as the Shuttleworth Collection of vintage aircraft and automobiles. Located just outside Old Warden, near Biggleswade, the gardens began life in 1830 as a romantic gesture by Lord Ogley for his mistress, who was ... Swiss.

The gardens fell into disrepair until they were leased by the Bedfordshire County Council in 1939 and restored. The 10 acre site is rich in trees, with wonderful Cedars of Lebanon, Arolla Pines, and unusual variegated sweet chestnut. Numerous small canals are spanned by wrought-iron bridges fashioned by Lady Emma Hamilton's uncle, who was a blacksmith at Old Warden.

The garden is striking in the spring, when flowering bulbs emerge beneath azaleas and rhododendrom bushes. The grotto and fernery provide a startling contrast in dark and light. The garden is said to be haunted, and gardeners of old would only work in pairs!