Wrest Park in Bedfordshire now has so much more on offer thanks to a diverse range of fascinating guided tours
The tours not only give an insight into the history of the magnificent property, but also into 2000 years of English history.
The Garden History Tours
Available exclusively for groups, guided garden tours at Wrest Park take in some of the 90-acres of the beautiful landscape which represent almost 300 years of garden design, side by side, in one location.
They include many of its restored buildings and garden areas, which are the work of some of our greatest garden designers, including Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, whose 300th anniversary is being celebrated at Wrest Park this year, plus Batty Langley, William Kent, Thomas Wright and Thomas Archer.
Highlights directly outside the mansion include the French Parterre, which leads the eye down to the Long Water with the magnificent Archer Pavilion beyond, and the Italian Garden, Rose Garden, Walled Garden and Conservatory. Other buildings dotted throughout the landscape include the Orangery, Bath House, Bowling Green House, Chinese Temple and Bridge and the original Dairy, which houses a sculpture gallery.
‘Aladdin’s Cave’ Archaeology Tours
Guided tours with knowledgeable volunteers, take groups behind the scenes for a sneak peak at some of the 153,000 historical artefacts spanning 2000 years of English history, which have been brought together by English Heritage into a huge storage facility at Wrest Park.
Tour highlights range from small fragments of 17th-century painted window glass, buckles, brooches and coins, to larger objects such as 8 foot tall ‘bell jack’ figures of 16th century tradesmen taken from the roof of Colombia Market, plus fireplaces, staircases and even an enormous crane used for changing street light bulbs in Covent Garden.
Historical Wallpaper Tours
Groups can also pre-book ‘Wallpaper Tours’ to view the original hand painted oriental wallpaper on the walls of some of the rooms on the first floor of the mansion.
Inside Wrest Park’s 18th-century French style mansion groups can view the Countess Henrietta Sitting Room, furnished as it was in the 1840s and find out more about Wrest Park’s history in an interactive exhibition and also an exhibition which explains the role of the mansion as a convalescent home during the First World War.
The visitor centre houses a café with inside seating for 70 and outside seating for 50, an introductory exhibition, shop and plant sales area.
All guided tours at Wrest Park cost £2.00 per group member (additional to admission charge) and are available to groups at any time, subject to availability.
However they must be pre-booked by calling 01525 860000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maximum 20 people per group tour, with larger groups divided onto back to back tours.