Use Places & People to search over 6,600 parks and gardens in the UK and 2,100 biographies of people associated with them. Image location: Bedgebury National Pinetum

Learn about the rich heritage of parks and gardens in Topics.
Image location: Powis Castle

Follow News & Events, updated regularly with the latest information affecting historic parks and gardens. Image location: Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Visit the Schools for ideas and activities to encourage the interest of children and young people in their local parks. Image location: Trentham

Join us as a volunteer and Research & Record historic parks and gardens in your area.
Image location: Cirencester Abbey

View the Illustrated Glossary which provides definitions and accompanying images for terms and concepts associated with historic parks and gardens. Image location: Pannett Park

Site is open to the public. Opening may be limited, please check Visitor Information for any restrictions.


Brief description of site

The formal gardens at Wrest Park developed over 150 years, from the late-17th to early-19th centuries. The style was inspired by the gardens at Versailles. The gardens dating from the late-17th to early-18th century survive almost intact, with some 18th-century landscaping and 19th-century development. The registered site covers some 380 hectares. There are a number of distinctive garden buildings.

Brief history of site

From 1671 to 1702 the Earl and Countess of Kent altered the medieval and 16th-century house, laying out a formal landscape around it, largely focused on the axial canal called the Long Water. In 1702 Henry, the 12th Earl, created the Great Garden around the 17th-century features. He laid out the woodland garden flanking the Long Water, the formal canals enclosing it and the canals at right angles to the Long Water. He also built the Pavilion. Jemima, Marchioness Grey employed Lancelot Brown in about 1758 to 1760 to work on the periphery of the Great Garden to soften the contours of the perimeter canals.

Location information:

Address: Wrest Park, Silsoe, Bedfordshire, MK45 4HS

Locality: Luton

Local Authorities:

Central Bedfordshire; Silsoe

Historical County: Bedfordshire

OS Landranger Map Sheet Number: 153 Grid Ref: TL091353
Latitude: 52.0054 Longitude: -0.412008


Less than 1 mile east of Silsoe off the A6, 10 miles south of Bedford.
Nearest station - Flitwick, 4 miles.
Bus: Stagecoach in Northants X1, Bedford - Luton.

Visitor facilities

Opening contact details:

The site is open from 10 am, Thursdays to Mondays in July and August. It is only open at weekends in April, May, June, September and October.

Visitor information:

Parking, toilets, disabled facilities and shop. For special events see web site.

Key information:

Form of site: formal garden

Purpose of site: Ornamental

Context or principal building: great house

Site Style : formal

Site first created: 1671 to 1702

Main period of development: Early 18th century

Survival: Extant

Site Size (Hectares): 380

Print preview