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Kimbolton Castle


Features of Kimbolton Castle include garden terraces, lawns, rows of lime trees, a pond, garden walls, a gatehouse, an avenue and former kitchen gardens.

By 1687 inventories recorded a Great Garden and the Little Fountain Garden. Three sides of the Castle were laid out with terraces. The Great Garden to the south consisted of a lawn flanked by a double row of lime trees, and beyond an oval pond. The garden, enclosed by two brick walls, was ornamented with 66 stone flower pots.

Vanburgh was asked to remodel the south façade which had collapsed and to ‘consider how to dispose the Stairs down into the garden, so as not to break too much into the Terrace’. He also noted that canal which was ‘now brimmed of water and looks mighty well’. An unnamed visitor in 1727 mentioned ‘the gardens are 18 acres (7.2 hectares), with a canal in them. The park is 800 acres (320 hectares), with fine ridings’. Joseph Spence, a landscape gardener, in 1757 gave suggestions for improving the grounds by opening up views from the Castle; these were partly carried out.

The gatehouse is by Robert Adam 1765, and the estate wall and new kitchen gardens (now a housing estate) date from this time. In 1880 an eastern avenue of Wellingtonias was planted, which still flourish today, with underplanting of young trees for the future.

After the First World War parts of the estate were sold. Today the castle is a school which has restored the Castle and its interior and has slowly bought back some of the land originally owned by the Montagues. The grounds are now a mix of parkland and playing fields. The folly on Warren Hill overlooks the castle.

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The first castle on this site was built in 1197 by Geoffrey Fitzpiers, Chief Justiciar to King John. Between 1534 and 1536 Catherine of Aragon spent the last years of her life here. In 1585 a garden of four hectares is first indicated on an estate map, although it is possible that Anne, Dowager Duchess of Buckingham, had a garden at Kimbolton in 1470. From 1615 to 1950 the property and vast estate was owned by the Montague family, Dukes of Manchester.


  • Medieval (1066-1540)
  • 12th Century
Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Lawn
  • Garden Terrace
  • Garden Wall
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Canal
  • Pond
  • Avenue
  • Gate Lodge
  • Castle (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


Medieval (1066-1540)



Open to the public


Civil Parish




  • Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust