Address: Wrest Park, Silsoe, Bedfordshire, MK45 4HR
Price of Park: 12.60 for adults. 7.60 for children.
Amount Saved through Membership: 32.80 + a previous 10.4 pounds = 43.20 (53.45 dollars).
Car Park: Yes. Free cost.
Further Information on Wrest Park: The English Heritage Membership Podcast Episode # 45 discusses the story behind the Mythraic Alter: https://podcasts.apple.com/ie/podcast/episode-45-unearthing-wrest-parks-mithraic-glade-root/id1156861002?i=1000464775391
- A brief history of the estate can be found on the English Heritage website: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/wrest-park/history/
- In 2008 the park was featured in Lily Allen’s music video “Fear.”
- The park appeared as the boys’ quarters in the 2006 film, “Flyboys.”
Fun Fact: Wrest Park was used as a military hospital for a brief period of time in 1917 during World War I.
Due to the easing of lockdown measures here in the U.K., the English Heritage council opened a select number of locations by reservations only. The inner houses and estates remain closed, but the grounds and gardens (as well as toilets!) are now available for use.
Covering 90 acres of woodlands and lawns, Wrest Park has rested in the lands of Bedfordshire since the 18th Century. The property was owned by the de Grey family for centuries and each generation worked hard to ensure they left their mark on the land, restoring and enhancing the grounds up until the year 1758. While the house was constructed in the French style of the time, the surrounding areas contain a bold blending of Dutch, Italian, and English landscaping. Below are some of the highlights not to be missed.
The Statues: Without a doubt, the sheer volume of statues placed throughout the grounds is a sight in and of itself. Around every bend and through every clearing in the trees lies a stone beauty full of artistry and emotion. A few of my favorites are pictured below.
The Chinese Temple and Bridge:
The bridge and temple are located on the upper west side of the grounds.
The Long Water and Archer Pavilion: You can’t miss this geometrically pleasing waterway; I’m pretty confident it is one of the most frequently visited spots in the park. Out the back door of the main house lies a trim and serene rectangular lake surrounded on all four sides with flat pathways. At the opposite end rests the pavilion, a lovely bookend to the estate’s main lawn
The Dog Cemetery: As someone who has recently lost a pet, it was comforting to see the love between hound and human was prevalent over 200 years ago.
The Bath House: Tucked away on the right side of the grounds lies this quaint building. Though the roof is decaying and large portions are missing, enough of the building remains to be seen. Consisting of two rooms, the first used to hold a cold water plunge pool, and the second a changing room complete with seats built into the wall. Unusual tidbit: If you visit the bath house, be sure and look at the floor and see the deer vertabrae wedged between the pebbles!
With so much to see and explore, Wrest Park was a great day outing. Pack a lunch, grab a blanket, and have your kids rest under the shade of the trees. Between the orangery, the ampitheater, the Mythraic Alter, and the wild animals running amok there’s no shortage of entertainment for families with young kids.