Something I really love to visit during the whole year is the park. Especially when you live in the city where you get exposed during the greater part of the day to all the impulses from outside. Then nothing is better to escape the crowds and take a lovely walk through the park.
Fortunately you have enough parks here in London where you can go for an afternoon with friends or family. Earlier, we visited Kensington Gardens in South Kensington, Richmond Deer Park in Richmond and Kew Gardens in Kew. An ideal opportunity to write something about the park in Chiswick, because this park is at least as beautiful.
I’m talking about Chiswick House & Gardens on Burlington Lane in Chiswick. This park is known for the Palladian Villa in the middle of the park with its beautiful surrounding gardens. The house was designed by Lord Burlington and completed in 1729. The house and gardens cover some 65 hectares and are mainly made by architect and landscape designer William Kent. The gardens are one of the earliest examples of the English landscape garden.
The gardens and Chiswick House have a long history in which successors passed each other. The first few years the Burlington Villa stood next to an old Jacobin House that was bought by his grandfather in 1682. Soon both buildings were merged. After the Count’s death in 1753, the estate was given in hand to the Dukes of Devonshire and in 1788 the family decided to demolish the old Chiswick House and build a real mansion of the house by adding wings on both sides. From 1860 the Devonshires left the house and the estate was sold to Middlesex County Council in 1929.
Twenty years later, the ownership of the house was transferred to the Ministry of Works, which started a restoration campaign to bring the villa back to its original size and design. And the gardens to their original decor. Meanwhile, the house and gardens are under the supervision of an independent foundation: Chiswick House and Gardens Foundation. They collaborate with the London Borough of Hounslow and English Heritage Trust to preserve this important heritage.
Chiswick House & Gardens has also served several times as a backdrop for pop artists, such as The Beatles who recorded a clip for their hit Paperback Writer in the 70s. You can view the video of this shoot here. Nice to see how the environment has remained the same.
The park is divided into different gardens: North, East, South and West and each has unique features. For example, in North Garden you find Cedar Trees from Lebanon, these stately old trees lead you through the path to the beautiful Chiswick House. The oldest tree dates from 1720. Right next to it you will find the Orange tree garden & Ionic temple.
In East Garden you can visit The Conservatory, which was designed in 1810 by Samuel Ware and was completed a year later. This glass building was the longest ever built, 96 meters, and the forerunner of several large greenhouses.
In South Garden you can take a seat at the Chiswick House Café, the perfect place to relax while enjoying a cup of tea or coffee. The café is a modern open space with an adjoining outdoor terrace and playground. Ideal for keeping an eye on your children.
West Garden offers a walk along the pond where many different birds swim. The elegant stone bridge, which replaced a wooden bridge in 1774, connect this part of the park with the Northern Garden.
This park is a beautiful historical spot in Chiswick. And only a 5 to 10 minutes walk from the High Road. Rain or sunshine, a place like this will transform every season with all its beauty and will always offer you an environment to relax. Doing sports, walking with the dog, learning about the history, playing in the playground or enjoying a cup of tea. This century old park has a lot to offer.
Chiswick House & Gardens also organizes various events throughout the year. Watch the Flower Show during the spring, enjoy a bite and drink at the British Food Festival in the summer, carve pumpkins during Halloween or visit the park around Christmas when the Lantern Festival takes place. For more information and other events view the full agenda here.
The Gardens are open during the year from 7am until dusk. Visiting the Gardens and Conservatory is free, if you want to book a guided tour for the Chiswick House, you can order your tickets here. For more information please visit their website.