Reviewed by Cate Norris
Knebworth, famous for its festivals, has been home to lords and ladies for many generations. The grand house has been passed down through the generations and with each leaving their mark it displays gothic, Tudor and Victorian designs, representing the vast history that lies within its walls. Inside the house, information on the families that have lived there over the years, right up to the present day are shared, perhaps with the most famous and interesting of its inhabitants being author, playwright and poet Edward Bulwer-Lytton. The house is situated in the centre of some of the most stunning gardens. Consisting of perfectly manicured lawns, hedged pathways, rose gardens, sculptures, water features, ponds and herb gardens, hours could easily be spent sat enjoying the spectacular views, sounds and fragrances. It’s no surprise that the house and gardens have been the setting of many film and TV productions such as Harry Potter and the Kings Speech.
The sculptures, expertly carved from tree trunks are mesmerising and definitely must be seen to be believed. These were seen to be enjoyed by both young and old and give the gardens an ‘enchanted’ feel, sending the imagination wild. Younger visitors were also enthralled with the dinosaur trail which housed life size models and information on these amazing creatures, navigating the route around the trail was a little tricky however. Situated at the other side of the park is an adventure playground, this can be accessed by a free bus service, upon a splendid old-fashioned bus, alternatively there is ample parking at both areas of the park. The adventure playground holds a fort with areas for children to climb and view the ground below or crawl beneath, climb and surface at different locations above. Lots of fun and adventure is to be had but younger children should be supervised carefully, as areas of the fort have open sections to allow access between levels, a child could therefore, run around and drop straight through. Underneath the fort was water logged in some areas too, so crawling underneath may not be ideal.
Knebworth Park is also the location for many events and exhibitions. During my visit, there was a steam and country fair displaying steam engines, livestock and impressive skilled craftsmanship. Browsing the stalls was very enjoyable and there was an action packed day of planned events, where I had the opportunity to observe a knights of honour battle display and birds of prey flying display, these were fascinating and I would suggest looking out for forthcoming events, which are frequent. There were many grassy areas, tables and benches serving as the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic in idyllic surroundings, however there is also a reasonably priced garden terraced tea room where I enjoyed a beautiful cream tea. A gift shop also provides an opportunity to purchase a souvenir from the day, from stationary to tea and biscuits to t-shirts, and copies of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s literature can also be purchased. I would recommend a day out at Knebworth house and gardens, I was fortunate enough to have the weather on my side and this is the perfect location for all ages to spend a nice day exploring the history of the house and enjoying the scenery of its surroundings. To make the most of your visit I would recommend going on a sunny day to make the most of the spectacular gardens, also aim to go on a day when an event is on, however note that in doing so, house tours are not available but information is available to read and wardens are stationed in rooms and are friendly, approachable and informative.
Admission prices start from £9.50.
For more information or to book tickets visit www.knebworthhouse.com.
Knebworth House, Old Knebworth Ln, Knebworth, SG1 2AX