England’s largest secret garden opens

Gaby Leslie
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LUTON, ENGLAND - JULY 28: (EDITORS NOTE: THIS IMAGE IS STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 0001 BST ON TUESDAY AUGUST 2, 2011) (ONLINE OUT) Gardeners put finishing touches to the Italian Gardens at Wrest Park on July 28, 2011 in Silsoe, England. English Heritage has recently finished a lengthy restoration process around the grounds of Wrest Park, which sits on 92 acres of historic landscape gardens in Bedfordshire. For decades, the overgrown gardens and 18th century mansion and pavillion have been behind closed doors, and remained largely unknown to the public. From August 4, 2011 visitors can see the newly restored areas including the Italian Garden, the Long Water running down to the Archer Pavilion, an Orangery and the Conservatory. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Final Preparations Are Made At Wrest Park After An English Heritage Restoration Project

England’s largest secret garden will open its doors to the public today to reveal its first phase of a 20-year revamp.

Wrest Park in Bedfordshire has been kept in the dark for over half a century, but a £3.8m project to restore the site’s gardens and woodlands will put the charming secret garden back on the map again.

The 90-acre park prides itself on being one of the few places in the world where visitors can see 300 years of the evolution of landscape gardening, according to English Heritage - which took over the project in 2006.

Highlights of the first phase of the restoration include a late Victorian rose garden and an Italian garden which have been transformed to their original layouts.

                               [Gallery: Secret garden in pictures]

Visitors can also meander through miles of historic pathways and overgrown vistas as they indulge in all the beauty Wrest Park has to offer.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage said: “Wrest Park tells the story of England's love affair with landscape. It is a unique place capturing three hundred years of gardening history.”

“So now with the successful completion of this first phase of restoration, Wrest Park can rightfully reclaim its place as one of the great gardens of England.”