The 9-acre Swiss Garden, which lies 2 miles west of Biggleswade in rural Bedfordshire, is unique in having remained almost unchanged since its creation in the Regency and Victorian periods.
The Swiss Garden was created by Lord Ongley in the 1820s on land adjacent to his house, Old Warden Park. Ongley laid out his garden in the then-fashionable ‘Swiss Picturesque’ style. The extensive site, which was originally a flat clay brickfield, was landscaped to resemble the Alpine foothills, and embellished with a number of buildings and structures in a variety of fanciful styles. The garden is the only complete example of a Regency landscape in the UK and, as such, is of great historic significance. The Old Warden estate passed into the hands of Joseph Shuttleworth in the 1870s, and he further developed the Swiss Garden, adding its Grotto and artificial rock cascades. The Swiss Garden has recently been extensively restored thanks to a £2.8 million Heritage Lottery grant.
In 1940, Richard Ormonde Shuttleworth, heir to the Shuttleworth estate, died tragically in an aviation accident. A charitable trust, The Shuttleworth Trust, was founded in his memory and it now owns and maintains the Swiss Garden, along with the associated collection of vintage aircraft housed in the aviation museum adjacent to the garden.
For more information and to find out about visiting the garden, please visit www.shuttleworth.org/swissgarden/