The Walled Garden at Lydiard Park, Swindon is a rare example of an 18th century walled garden. The garden was established in the 1740s by the St John family as a beautiful and tranquil place, providing a pleasant place to stroll after dinner and to grow flowers and fruit. The garden is characterised by long flower beds, wide gravel paths, divided into sections with a well and sundial. Fruit trees were trained along the walls. In the late 20th century the walled garden was in a sad state containing only rough grass lawn, however through a significant restoration programme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the garden was restored to its former glory, replanted with historical plants and opened to the public in 2007. The garden is now open all year round.
In spring, look out for a host of flowering bulbs, including rare tulips 'Alba', 'Tabriz' and the 'Lady Tulip', along with hyacinths, narcissi and crown imperials. In summer, the garden contains a variety of traditional English flowers such as sweet peas, hollyhocks and roses, the fruit trees along walls and in the centre of the flower beds include trained apple, pear, greengage, peach, plum, cherry, apricots and fig trees, including the rare date-plum and pears 'Marie-Louise' and 'Williams'. Winter is still a busy time for the Lydiard gardeners - evergreen shrubs create an elegant garden structure and late winter brings a stunning natural carpet of snowdrops in the woodlands surrounding the walled garden.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE & DO
While at Lydiard Park, visit Lydiard House - the ground floor State Rooms are open to the public. The Grade I listed Palladian house is the ancestral home of the Viscounts Bolingbroke and the rooms contain ornate plasterwork, beautiful fireplaces and original family furnishings along with portraits and photographs of the family, who lived here from Elizabethan times. The painted flower panels by Lady Diana Spencer of Lydiard Park are on display in the Blue Dressing Room showing the pelargoniums, jasmine, narcissi, dianthus and roses that would have been in the gardens when she was the 2nd Viscountess Bolingbroke in the 18th century. The grounds of Lydiard Park have unique 18th century landscape features including ice house, ornamental dam wall, tree-lined avenues and vistas across the lakes. There is a large children's play area, BBQ pitches to hire, cafe and tea rooms, small gift shop in house and the park is the venue for a variety of special events and activities.
Lydiard Park is on the western edge of Swindon - other attractions close by include STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway, Swindon Museum & Art Gallery, Heelis the HQ of the National Trust and the National Monuments Record Centre. The town is a short drive from a wide variety of visitor attractions including Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, the historic stone circle at Avebury, the Cotswold Water Park, Lacock Abbey, Bowood House & Gardens - for more information check www.visitswindon.co.uk
PLACES TO STAY
Swindon is well served with hotels, including the Marriott, Jurys Inn, Hilton, De Vere, Premier Inn and Travelodge, guest houses and bed and breakfast - for full listings go to www.visitswindon.co.uk
HOW TO FIND US
Lydiard Park is on the western edge of Swindon, just off M4 J16 follow brown signs to Lydiard Park
Lydiard Park is open daily from 7.30am to dusk. Lydiard House & Walled Garden are open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 5pm (winter closing at 4pm)
Entry to the grounds of Lydiard Park and car parks is free. Entry charge applies to Lydiard House & Walled Garden. Walled Garden only tickets are £1.85 adult, £1.50 senior, £1 child - joint tickets with the house are available £4.50 adult, £4 senior, £2.25 child
FOOD & DRINK
Coach House tea rooms by the Walled Garden serves light lunches, drinks and cream teas, open during summer season. Cafe is open all year by the visitor centre
POSTCODE FOR CAR SAT NAVs
Friends of Lydiard Park
Volunteering opportunities within Lydiard House, walled garden and park
WEBSITE / TEL No.
All images credit: Jane Gifford