Bedfordshire, MK45 4HR
Wrest Park was home to the De Grey family from the 13th century until 1917.
The present house was built in 1834–39 to the designs of then-owner Thomas de Grey – 2nd Earl de Grey and first president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He drew inspiration from French architectural books and buildings he had seen on trips to Paris. The decorative layout and features of the house were produced by his own hand.
Wrest has some of the earliest Rococo Revival interiors in England. The Countess's Sitting Room and the Archer Pavilion are particularly stunning examples. The house was restored by English Heritage in 2007-11, and a new visitor centre added.
Surrounding the mansion are 90 acres of parterres, fragrant borders, sweeping landscapes and woodland walks, showcasing French, Dutch, Italian and English styles side by side. The original 18th-century design was laid out by George London, with Capability Brown adding new features 1758–60.
Within the grounds is a bath house featuring a thatched roof and cobbled floor inlaid with a pattern of deer bones, a Chinese temple and bridge, and over 40 statues, including a memorial to Brown. Wrest Park and its gardens were the shooting location for Lily Allen's music video, The Fear.
The store at Wrest Park houses over 153,000 historical artefacts spanning over 2,000 years of England’s history. Highlights include fragments of 17th-century painted window glass which Sir Christopher Hatton designed to impress Queen Elizabeth I and bell jacks from the roof of Colombia Market. These can be viewed on special behind-the-scenes tours which take place at the beginning of every month. See the website for more details.