Park tours to commemorate Capability Brown’s landmark year

Southill Park. Picture: Sam Whitbread
Southill Park. Picture: Sam Whitbread

A rare chance to view the landscape of Southill Park will be on offer to mark the tercentenary of designer Capability Brown.

Tours of the grounds, covering the development of the landscape from the 18th to the 20th centuries, which also includes work by Henry Holland, will be given on May 16, 19 and 20.

Brown, born in 1716, worked at Southill for Lord Torrington in 1777 and the plan was to sweep away much of the formal gardens and replace them with a more natural landscape. The project ran into financial difficulties and it was not until almost twenty years later in 1796 that work was restarted by the new owner Samuel Whitbread. He employed Henry Holland, Brown’s son-in-law, to remodel the house and work on the landscape. The resulting landscape is therefore the work of both Brown and Holland.

The tercentenary of Capability Brown provides visitors a rare opportunity to explore the parkland of the beautiful house and to understand more of the work of a major landscape gardener whose legacy can be seen across the UK as well in other Bedfordshire estates.

Visits must be pre-booked and cost £12 which includes a guided tour of landscape and private gardens plus refreshments. Under 18s admitted free. No dogs please. Visit or direct at