One of the most magnificent areas of the gardens is the Italian Garden, which was designed to display William Waldorf Astor’s collection of Italian sculpture. Over 1,000 men worked on the great design with around 800 men digging out the 38 acre lake at the far end of the Italian Garden – taking two years to do so! Within four years the 30 acres of classical and natural landscapes were constructed and planted. 125 acres of the garden has now reached its full maturity and includes the colourful walled Rose Garden which contains over 4,000 plants.
There are many water features around the gardens, including Half Moon Pond, the Cascade Rockery, the cool and shady grottoes, the formal loggia fountain based on the Trevi fountain in Rome, and the more informal Two Sisters Pond.
Other areas that you can stroll through include the Tudor Garden, Rhododendron Walk and along Anne Boleyn’s Walk with its collection of trees planted over 100 years ago.
In recent years, the present owners have made several changes in the garden including the Millennium Fountain which can be found on Sixteen Acre Island, forming an interesting feature at the far end of this more informal area of the gardens. The 110 metre herbaceous border has been reinstated and Sunday Walk created, providing a peaceful woodland garden following the course of a stream. In addition to the existing Yew Maze, a splashing water maze has been built on Sixteen Acre Island - a unique feature which is especially popular with the children!
More recently, an hour long walk around the lake has been opened for visitors to enjoy, with waterfall, splashes and wartime pillboxes.