This property is NOT free for HHA Friends
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St Paul's Walden Bury

This property is NOT free for HHA Friends
Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG4 8BP
01438 871218

The original pleasant house was built about 1720, with hexagonal wings added in 1767. The house and gardens were designed by the owner, Edward Gilbert. His grand-daughter, Mary Eleanor Bowes married John Lyon, Earl of Strathmore, and the property still belongs to the Bowes Lyon family. It was the birth place and childhood home of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen mother. The house is notable for its charming plaster work in the hall and well proportioned drawing rooms, with large windows looking onto the garden. It is Grade 2* listed. The substantial back of the house was added in 188?, by the grandparents of the present owner. The place is best known for its celebrated Grade I listed landscape garden, laid out at the time the house was built in 1720. It retains its original patte d’oie architecture, covering about 50 acres. Long avenues lined with clipped beech hedges radiate from the house, leading to eye catching features. A temple by William Chambers overlooks a lake, a hexagonal brick temple dated 1735 marks the end of a long lime avenue. Another 18C temple stands at the head of the hidden green theatre, flanked by a pair of sphinxes. Another temple at the end of a long cross ride is a 19C copy of one by Wyatt. Statues and ornamental ponds constantly surprise the visitor: one notable example is the statue of Venus and Adonis by Scheemaker.

There is an interesting collection of plants in the more recent woodland garden, and the flower gardens are also later additions. These do not intrude on the original design, where hedges and avenues have been replanted over the centuries in their original positions. Outside the classical design more recent flower and woodland gardens bloom. A good time to see the garden is April to June, when magnolia and rhododendron are at their best. Some of these trees and shrubs have been introduced from the Himalayas, notably Bhutan. Wild flowers are encouraged and primroses, cowslips, bluebells and spotted orchids bloom through spring and summer.

The surrounding St Paul's Walden Bury Estate, with its arable and livestock farm and its ancient woodland, is a traditional country estate set in the heart of the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside.

Recent publications include chapters in: The Private Gardens of England, edited Tania Compton, published by Constable, 2015
Die Geheimen Gärten von England (The Secret Gardens of England) by H Howcroft, published DVA, 2015.


30 miles north of London, 5 miles south of Hitchin, on B651


The house is accessible for wheel chairs, with one small step for access. The part of the garden near the house has extensive flat grass areas, with views of distant part of the garden. Further away there are steep slopes.

Lavatories inside and outside the house are not specifically designed for wheel chairs.

Disabled visitors can park near the front door of the house and by the gate into the garden

Film Locations

The estate has been used for filming in the past on various occasions. It is made up of 40 acres of formal gardens in the classic style, the ruins of an Orangery, several temples, a small lake and other ornamental ponds, a Clock Tower, a Tennis Court, statues, a Walled garden, various 16th-19th Century farm buildings, arable and dairy farming, hedgerows, small fields, 500 acres of woodland, bluebells, pheasants and through part of it flows the River Mimram. There is unlimited parking and it is close to Pinewood, Elstree and Leavesden Studios. There is a Medieval Church, a 19th Century Public House and several small villages nearby.

Groups and special visits

The house and garden can be visited by appointment, £15.00, Garden only £7.50. Please email to suggest dates and times you would like to visit:

Garden Open for charity, with homemade teas available, on Sundays 10 April, 15 May, 5 June with Open Farm Sunday. 2pm – 7pm. Entry £5.00, children £1.00

Tailor Made Facilities

Visits to HouseYes
Visits to GardenYes
Other EventsYes
Light RefreshmentsYes

Contact Details

Caroline Bowes Lyon
St Paul's Walden Bury
01438 871218

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Additional Information
Open for visits
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Nearby HHA Properties
Knebworth House (2  miles)
Benington Lordship (6  miles)
Benington Park (7  miles)
Gorhambury House (9  miles)
The Golden Parsonage (10  miles)