- | 01438 812661
- | knebworthhouse.com
- 50% off entry with National Art Pass.
- View venue & entry details
The Lytton family home for over 500 years, Knebworth provides a fascinating insight into the lives of its former residents.
Robert Lytton, a friend of Henry VII, purchased the Knebworth estate in 1490 in order to be closer to the royal court in London. Incredibly, it cost him just £800 at the time.
The house itself was constructed in 1563 and is still lived in by the family today. Each generation has added something of its own style and taste to the property; most significantly three wings were knocked down in the 1800s as part of Elizabeth Bulwer Lytton's ambitious remodel, while her son – the famous Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer Lytton – added the Gothic detail that makes Knebworth so distinctive.
Despite Edward's dramatic additions of turrets, domes and gargoyles, the renovations were only at surface level and the original red brick Tudor house still remains beneath.
Over the years Knebworth has enjoyed visits from an array of notable guests; Charles Dickens is said to have joined Edward for elaborate midnight feasts in the Minstrels' Gallery, while more recently Mick Jagger left his underpants after a stay at the house.
Within the grounds there are avenues of colourful plants and pollarded lime trees, vegetable and herb gardens, a maze, dinosaur trail and adventure playground. Sculptures by contemporary artists are shown seasonally.