Lydiard Park is a large country park in Lydiard Tregoze in Swindon’s west, which is home to a Grade I-listed manor house and parish church that date from the 13th century.
The site has been inhabited for over 1000 years and a settlement here was mentioned in the Domesday Book. The estate was owned by the Tregoze family since the Norman period and in 1420 it came into the St John family, who owned it until the Second World War.
The two main attractions here are Lydiard House and the nearby 13th-century parish church of St Mary.
What to see at Lydiard Park
The park covers 110ha (260 acres) of land on the western outskirts of Swindon and most of its attractions are clustered together in the group of buildings near the park entrance that include Lydiard House and St Mary’s Church.
Although the Grade I-listed Lydiard House dates from medieval times, it was remodelled extensively in the 17th century with further renovations done in the Palladian style in the 1740s. The house features state rooms with intricate plasterwork and period furnishings including family portraits dating all the way back to the Elizabethan era.The 13th-century St Mary’s parish church includes monuments to the St John family who owned the estate from the 15th to the 20th century.
There is also an 18th-century ice house and a Georgian walled garden that was restored in 2007 to show how it would have appeared in the 18th century. The walled garden is divided into six sections and it includes fruit trees including apple, apricot, cherry, fig, peach, pear and plum trees. It is possible to buy an entry ticket that includes entry to the garden only for visitors who are not interested in visiting the house.
The park is a popular recreation area for Swindonians and it hosts a programme of local events such as festivals, an outdoor cinema and Open Air Theatre productions.
Visiting Lydiard Park
Lydiard Park is in Lydiard Tregoze, which is around 5km (3 miles) west of Swindon town centre. Although there is no direct bus access to the park, bus routes 1 and 1A stop nearby at the Wilmot Close stop on Tregoze Way. From the bus stop, it is around a six to seven-minute walk to Lydiard House.
It is around a half-hour walk from the cluster of hotels near junction 16 of the M4 motorway, which include the Premier Inn Swindon West, the Doubletree by Hilton and the Holiday Inn Express.
Although the park and the walled garden are open throughout the year, Lydiard House is only open Wednesday to Sunday between Easter and Christmas.
Lydiard House and St Marys church are both wheelchair accessible.
There is a gift shop and two cafes (the Forest Cafe and the Coach House Tea Rooms) in the park although many people bring a picnic lunch to eat on the grounds. Because of Lydiard Park’s location in a residential part of Swindon, there are not any places to eat or drink within easy walking distance of the park.
Although it doesn’t take a lot of time to see the house and church, you should allow a couple of hours for your visit when you factor in the time taken to take the bus to and from the town centre.