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It is with great pleasure that we are resuming our group House and Garden tours at Holdenby. Pre booked groups of 20 or more can take advantage of exclusive tours of this Country House and Garden still lived in by the Lowther family. Walk the corridors that were once part of the largest house in England and wander through the 20 acres of gardens with sweeping lawns and stately hedges.

We welcome Garden Tours all year round but for 2022 the House will be open during the period, 18thJuly – 12th August, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Available Tours are as follows:

Guided House Tours (Approx 1 hour)

Available 18th July – 12th August 2022

Cost: £12 per person

Minimum charge per tour: £240

Built in 1583 by Queen Elizabeth’s Lord Chancellor, Sir Christopher Hatton, Holdenby was once the largest house in Elizabethan England. It subsequently became the Palace of James I and Charles I, and finally Charles’ prison after his defeat in The English Civil War.

Now reduced to an eighth of its original size, Holdenby has lost little of its magnificence with
beautifully grand staterooms, and Grade I listed gardens.

Guided House Tours allow you to experience the elegant enfilade of rooms along the Garden Front containing portraits of Charles I alongside those of the Lowther family, one of the oldest families in Britain, who still reside in the house today. Extraordinary instruments in the music room and a signed Texan Hat given to the owner by Larry Hagman (JR) are amongst the unusual treasures on display.

The Guided House Tour comprises of nine ground floor rooms within the house, there are steps between some rooms, ramps can be arranged to accommodate wheelchairs, but these must be arranged in advance of the tour. After the tour, visitors are welcome
to explore the gardens at their own leisure.

Head Gardener Tours (Approx 1 hour)

Available April – September 2022

Cost: £10 per person

Minimum charge per tour: £200

Holdenby House is surrounded by 20 acres of Grade I listed gardens as documented in the book ” 1001 Gardens you Must See Before You Die”. Over the years the gardens have taken many different forms and reflect the grandeur of Holdenby House:

  • The Elizabethan Garden – This was replanted in 1980 to a Rosemary Verey design, copying the shape of the original Palace lateau Garden and using only plants available in 1580, when the gardens would have first taken shape.
  • The Tous Tous border – This border was named after Lady Annaly’s pet dog, Tous Tous, who is buried in the garden. In 1980 replanting of this border was started following a Rosemary Verey design and completed by Rupert Golby as a fragrant border.
  • The Pond Garden – Designed by Rupert Golby, The Pond Garden features two annual plantings of spring and summer plants.
  • King Charles’s Walk – Retrace the footsteps of King Charles on the walk where he took exercise during his imprisonment at Holdenby; he was a brisk walker and it is rumoured that his keeper, Lord Pembroke, had difficulty keeping up with him!
  • ·The Silver Border – This border houses the owner’s beautiful and ever-growing collection of silver-leafed plants.
  • The Kitchen Garden – This garden is still used to grow fruit, vegetables and cut flowers for the House.
  • The Elizabethan Pond – Constructed between 1583 & 1587 as part of the original Elizabethan Garden, is currently undergoing restoration
  • The Arches – The original BaseCourt arches to the Palace, dated 1583, still stand in the parkland of HoldenbyHouse
  • Sculptures – Holdenby is home to three modern sculptures designed by world-famous artist & milliner, David Shilling. ‘Total Freedom’ is situated on the Croquet Lawn, ‘AKS’ beautifully frames the Silver Border & ‘Point You’ is on the gravel path between the Elizabethan

    Garden and The Tous Tous Border.

  • The Head Gardener Tour comprises of a 1 hour guided tour of the gardens, followed by free flow of the gardens and Q&A with our expert Head Gardener either, in relation to our gardens here at Holdenby, or your own green fingered challenges that you may have at home.

    Our Head Gardener, Mat has been with us here at Holdenby for 24 years, he became our head Gardener in 2004 and under his management, the team have brought the gardens back to a standard that reflects Holdenby House and its surroundings

    We hope visitors

    will understand that the gravelled paths, although not ideal for wheelchairs, are part of the character of the gardens. After the tour, visitors are welcome to explore the gardens at their own leisure.

    Guided House & Garden Tours (Approx 2 hours)

    Available 18th July – 12th August 2022

    Cost: £20 per person

    Minimum charge per tour: £400

    The Guided House and Garden Tour combine the two aforementioned tours. A guided house tour of nine ground floor rooms within the house, there are steps between some rooms, ramps can be arranged to accommodate wheelchairs, but these must be arranged in advance of the tour. Followed by 1 hour guided tour of the gardens and Q&A with our expert Head Gardner either, in relation to our gardens here at Holdenby, or your own green fingered challenges that you may have at home. After the tour, visitors are welcome to explore the gardens at their own leisure.

    *We suggest this is taken as two separate tours with lunch or a refreshment break between them.

    Catering Options at Holdenby House

    There are a variety of catering options available for tour groups, served in Connie’s Tea Parlour in The Old Stable Yard at Holdenby House.

    Tea & Cake, Afternoon Tea’s, Light Lunches & Refreshments. If there is something you would specifically like we will do our best to accommodate special requests and put menus together for you.

    All group catering must be pre-booked and paid directly to Connie’s Tea Parlour.

    *Please note that all due care will be taken when catering for dietary requirements but as all food is cooked/baked on site in the same kitchen, allergens may be present

    Additional Information for your visit

    Larger groups may be split into smaller groups to ensure that the tour is not impacted by group sizes. There is coach parking in the car park located near to the House but please note there is a separate coach entrance a little further down the road. Coaches are not permitted via the Main Drive/Entrance Arch.

    We welcome guests with disabilities and work hard to ensure that you can access as much of the site as possible. Disabled parking will be clearly marked, and Blue Badges should be displayed. We hope visitors will understand that the gravelled paths, although not ideal for wheelchairs, are part of the character of the house.

    How to book

    We look forward to welcoming your group to Holdenby House & Gardens. We have a minimum charge for each Tour as detailed above and a £60 deposit is required to secure your group visit. If you are interested in booking a group tour email us at office@holdenby.com or give us a call on 01604 770074. We look forward to helping you plan a memorable visit for your group.