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well as

our Grade I

garden our Icarus

Falconry will be open

on Saturdays & Sundays

from April through to October

The garden opening will also

be enhanced with new

features about its

time as a Palace

for Charles



Elizabethan Garden

This garden was planted by Rosemary Verey in 1980 using plants only available in 1583, when the original house was completed. Its shape was copied from the centrepiece of Hatton’s garden. Around the central sundial are four types of Thyme. The inner beds, within a border of Box, Artemisia & Santolina, contain a mix of annuals. The outer beds contain Lavender, Rosemary, Germander, Rue, Angelica, Hyssop and other herbs commonly planted in Elizabethan gardens.

Elizabethan Garden Image

Kitchen Garden

Holdenby is unusual in having a fully functioning Kitchen Garden, providing vegetables and flowers for the house. It is divided into quarters; two with raised beds, one reserved for growing summer vegetables, the other for cutting flowers for the house. There is one quarter dedicated to producing berries and the other for potatoes, corn, beans and winter vegetables. Espaliered apples line the centre path.

Kitchen Garden Image

Tous Tous border

This border is named after Lady Annaly’s favourite dog which was buried here. It was replanted by Rosemary Verey and Rupert Golby in the 1980s as a fragrant garden. Under the Victorian Lilac, Honeysuckle & Philadelphus were planted the multifarious fragrances of Musk Roses, Day Lilies, Mock Orange, Narcissus, Nicotiana, Phlox, Myrrh, Lilium Regale, Verbena, Daphne Balm and Buddleia.

Tous Tous border Image

King Charles' Walk

This was King Charles I favourite part of the garden during his 5 months imprisonment at Holdenby in 1647 following his defeat in The Civil War. He was a brisk walker and apparently his keeper, Lord Pembroke, had difficulty keeping up with him. During his comfortable captivity, attended by 108 servants, he was also able to ride, play bowls and probably go hawking. The walk is planted with a mixture of herbaceous plants and shrubs.

King Charles' Walk Image

The Palace Garden

The current garden is largely laid out over the demolished section of the Palace. Around it can still be seen the remains and earthworks of Hatton’s original Palace Garden, one of the greatest gardens of the age. Its huge centrepiece is now a plateau, and either side of it can be seen the original terraces, which were laid out as rosaries. Beneath one terrace is the original Elizabethan pond. Elsewhere, there were Orchards, Lime Walks, Arbours, a Banqueting House and a Prospect Mount.

The Palace Garden Image

Elizabethan Pond

This historic pond was part of the extraordinary garden of Christopher Hatton’s Holdenby. It was built at the bottom of the South West Terrace between 1583 & 1587 partly as a visual feature and partly to provide fresh fish for the house. Water for the pond was brought by pipes from a spring over a mile away. This main pond feeds another one beside the church and a series of breeding ponds to the South. In 2016 it was cleaned out and partially relined.

Elizabethan Pond Image

Pond Garden

New planting of the beds around the pond was undertaken in 1995 by Rosemary Verey and Rupert Golby. Yew and Box Hedges were planted to give a formal “room effect” with bright bedding to compliment it. In Spring, Tulips ‘Spring Green’ are set in Forget-Me-Nots followed in summer by Nicotiana Sylvestris, Cosmos Sensation and Cleome Spinosa. The statue of Hermes, the Messenger of the Gods, is a copy of a Roman sculpture found in a ruined Herculaneum villa.

Pond Garden Image

Basecourt Arches

These were the Basecourt Arches of the original Palace of Holdenby. It was between these Arches, that Cornet Joyce’s troops were drawn up when he came to take King Charles I from Holdenby in June 1647. You can stand on the spot where King Charles I stood as he questioned Joyce “Where is your commission?” “Here is my commission” replied Joyce, pointing to his well armed troops. “Tis well writ” replied the King and left with him. He was executed 18 months later.

Basecourt Arches Image

Cruck Cottage

When King Charles I was living in state in Holdenby Palace, many of his humbler subjects would have lived in Cruck cottages. They were traditional, simple houses, built using ‘crucks’ or timber A frames. Walls were made with ‘wattle‘ and ‘daub‘ made from clay, straw and cow muck and the floor was bare earth. This example, was built in 1983 by The Holdenby Guard, using these traditional methods and materials found on the Estate.

Cruck Cottage Image

Silver Border

This border runs along what would have been the Queen’s quarters of the original Palace. It has been replanted over several years by the family with plants bearing silver foliage or white flowers. As well as the more commonplace plants, such as Artemisia, Rue, Sedum and Stachys Lanata are to be found more unusual specimens including Agave Americana, Othonopsis, Cheilanthifolia and Cardoons.

Silver Border Image

Icarus Falconry Centre

At Holdenby’s Icarus Falconry Centre you can see a wonderful collection of thirty Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, Buzzards, Owls and Vultures, learn all about them and see them fly on every open day. It’s particularly appropriate that you can enjoy them at Holdenby, as both King James I, who owned Holdenby and Charles I who was imprisoned here, loved falconry and would have practiced it here. This year, alongside our wonderful birds you can see our growing English Wildlife collection, including Roxy the Fox, Norma the Hedgehog, Neil and Neon the Rats and other members of our country’s wonderful animal kingdom plus Sly and Simba the tortoises.

Icarus Falconry Centre Image