Myddelton House Gardens

1032 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2017

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with


Reasons for trip

Despite being only 20 minutes away by car, I’d never heard of Enfield’s “Myddelton House Gardens”: or it’s illustrious owner, Edward Augustus Bowles. However, friends were regular visitors and suggested an afternoon outing.

There’s a smart new visitors centre (funded by a Heritage Lottery Grant) and what is rather grandly called the ‘Bowles Museum’ but was a manageable number of information boards which told us that E A Bowles was the Great-Great Uncle of the more well-known Andrew Parker Bowles. He lived there until 1954 and was a keen gardener and known as the Crocus King because of his great passion for the bulbs – the gardens have a National Plant Collection of crocus would be a lovely sight in spring.

The house (now offices belonging to the Lee Valley Organisation) has a small, but beautiful glass conservatory attached and it was easy to see how lovely it would have been pottering around in it and growing many of the unusual plants the gardens are noted for.

The Lunatic Asylum and Hollow Lawn was originally destined to be a Japanese Garden but Bowles changed his mind and, as he took a great interest in plants showing abnormalities, he constructed a ‘Lunatic Asylum’ for the ‘demented’ plants he collected. The first ‘crazy’ plant was a Corkscrew Hazel which was described as the ‘maddest of them all’.

We walked along the New River Lawn, a sweeping grassy area, and formerly a river which dissected the gardens in two. It was filled in 1968 with rubble from the newly-created, neaby Victoria Line. Two original bridges still stand.

Whilst most of us would hate the thought of the dreaded Japanese Knotweed in our garden, two plants were preserved as an educational example of the danger of introducing alien species and to help visitors identify the rogue.

There was a walled Kitchen Garden with a lovely range of vegetables and a hand cart which displayed some of the excesses for sale. A wall, had an amusing story about how an Irish man had taken a button into a tailors and said, “can you put a shirt on this button” but I’m not sure what the connection was and there were lots of greenhouses with a great selection of sedums and cacti.

In a central area, was the old market cross which stood in the centre of Enfield until 1904, when it was removed to a builders’ yard and was destined for rubble until rescued by Bowles.

The tea room is small, but we sat in a shaded lovely courtyard area. Service was a little slow but there was a good range of cakes and jacket potatoes. We had four coffees and shared two large cakes for less than £10. In the centre was a small selection of plants that were as reasonably priced, as the cakes.

Compared the “RHS Garden Hyde Hall”: we’d visited the day before, this was a much lower-key experience but one that we enjoyed just as much – it was a bit like comparing a flashy, glitzy party with a small homely supper with close family.

Entrance is free (the pay and display car park is £2.50) and wheelchairs were available.

Helen Jackson

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.