The Swiss Gardens are pretty gardens set on the site of the Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire. This review is based on our visit there in June 2020 – at a time when we were socially distancing because of coronavirus. I am not connected in any way to the Shuttleworth Collection – this is an independent review based on visiting with my two children who are the time were six and four. This isn’t our first time to the site as a whole – we last visited in September 2019 – when you could simply park up for free and go to the play area and watch planes take off and land. When we returned most recently – you COULDN’T do that – you have to pay to enter the site.
Where are the Swiss Gardens at Shuttleworth?
The Swiss Gardens are at the Shuttleworth Collection in Old Warden in Bedfordshire – it’s about 35 minute drive from where we live in Milton Keynes. The best postcode is SG18 9EA. When we visited you couldn’t drive in the normal entrance, you had to drive further on into Old Warden and look out for a turning on the left. On the site is an airfield, the gardens, parkland and the collection itself. The museum houses vintage planes, cars and planes. The collection wasn’t open when we visited but that may have changed if you’re reading this at a later date. When we went in June 2020 we paid £10 adult for entry to the gardens and parkland, and children were free. Please check their website before travelling for up to date info on what’s open, prices and whether they have any special events on that make affect you going.
What are the Swiss Gardens at Shuttleworth like?
At the time we visited the Swiss Gardens in June 2020 you could either book in advance or pay on the day. We booked in advance and just had to show our tickets when we arrived. We were shown where to park and that was very straightforward. There were portable toilets nearby which appeared clean with sanitiser. We took our own wipes with us. One of the best things about the site is seeing the small aircraft there take off and land. We were delighted to see a couple doing loops in the air and plenty taking off and landing throughout the day. I imagine it does vary how many aircraft are in the air on any given day. We stopped briefly before continuing to walk to the gardens. The gardens themselves are beautiful with plenty of places to take photos. There’s apparently three peacocks there – we saw one. There are a number of ornate bridges and lots of things to stop and look at. There was sanitiser in lots of places. We didn’t have any problems with social distancing, but some of the paths are narrower than others and we just had to wait our turn to go on a few bridges. If it was busier I’d hope they’d limit numbers in the actual gardens. You’re not restricted how many times you can go in and out of the gardens and there is not a one way system in place. Once we left the gardens there’s then a small woodland walk, sculptures, a lake and a huge area of parkland. There are picnic benches once you’re out of the gardens. We didn’t have a huge amount of time to explore further but instead decided to have our picnic and return to the airfield to watch the planes.
Any tips for visiting the Swiss Gardens at Shuttleworth?
Take a picnic and drinks. When we visited there was a crepe van, coffee van and a bar selling a limited selection of sandwiches as well as ice-creams – we had coffees and ice-creams but were glad we’d taken food with us. Go early-ish – when we got there around 11am it wasn’t that busy but got busier as the day went on. Leave enough time to visit. The gardens are really pretty and fun and there’s plenty of parkland beyond that to walk. You can turn up on the day but like anywhere at the moment you may want to book in advance if there’s a set day you want to visit. If you want to know where everything is, there is a map on their website which is worth having a look at.
Would you recommend the Swiss Gardens at Shuttleworth?
Yes we had a lovely time. It’s a really pretty place and with children going free to the gardens when we visited then £20 for a family was good value. My children absolutely loved watching the planes – as did I – it’s very relaxing. I don’t know how many will be flying if you visit though. We would go back regardless just for the gardens and parkland. Whatever you do, plan your day, check their website before going to make sure it’s open and book tickets in advance. If restrictions are lifted on play equipment by the time you visit that that’s fun too. It’s split up into lots of mini sections. You can see the photos below. Enjoyed this review? Do have a look at the local walks section of my website too.
I'm Laura, mum of a 6 year old and a 4 year old. Milton Keynes Kids is a personal blog all about our local adventures. and I do it all late at night once I've finished my day job and the boys are sleeping. I hope you find it useful. Do drop me an email email@example.com if you want to contact me. Don't forget to follow all of our latest adventures on facebook, instagram and twitter.