Photos: the secret garden at Shuttleworth

    Swiss Cottage, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit: Andy Marshall Photography
    Swiss Cottage, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit: Andy Marshall Photography

    Venture behind the famous aircraft hangars at Shuttleworth, in Bedfordshire, and you will come across a fairytale garden that would not be out of place in the Swiss Alps: evidence of English eccentricity at its best…

    A scene that would be right at home in the Swiss Alps. Credit: Andy Marshall Photography
    A scene that would be right at home in the Swiss Alps. Credit: Andy Marshall Photography

    In the early 19th century the wealthy owner of a sprawling estate in Bedfordshire decided to turn his acres of gardens into a romantic Swiss parkland idyll. Perhaps Lord Robert Henley Ongley has been influenced by his travels on the fashionable ‘Grand Tour’ of Switzerland, or maybe he wanted to keep up with the rather elaborate styles of the Prince Regent, who had commissioned the equally ambitious Taj-Mahal-inspired Brighton Pavilion.

    Whatever his reasons, the result is a wonderful fairytale land that is shrouded in near-secrecy behind the Shuttleworth Collection of wartime planes, added by the family that he sold the estate to some decades later, and who added their own elements to the gardens.

    The gardens have now reopened to the public after a £3.6m restoration project, which have returned them to their glory days, as Ongley and the Shuttleworths would have known them.

    Enter the world of the Swiss Garden

    Enter the Swiss garden.  Credit: Andy Marshall Photography
    Enter the Swiss Garden. Credit: Andy Marshall Photography
    Exterior of the grotto. Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit:  Andy Marshall Photography
    Exterior of the Grotto & Fernery, which will amaze you. Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit: Andy Marshall Photography
    Indian Kiosk, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit:  Andy Marshall Photography
    Indian Kiosk, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit: Andy Marshall Photography
    Roof of Indian Kiosk, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit:  Andy Marshall Photography
    Roof of Indian Kiosk, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit: Andy Marshall Photography
    Swiss Cottage, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit:  Andy Marshall Photography
    Swiss Cottage is the focal point of the garden and dates from the 1820s. Credit: Andy Marshall Photography
    Swiss Cottage, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit:  Andy Marshall Photography
    Swiss Cottage, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit: Andy Marshall Photography
    Inside Swiss Cottage, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit:  Andy Marshall Photography
    Inside Swiss Cottage, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth. Credit: Andy Marshall Photography

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