This review of Knebworth House and Gardens, nr. Stevenage, Hertfordshire has been written when the house is currently closed due to Covid-19. Unfortunately the amazing Fort Knebworth adventure playground area is also closed. The gardens, parkland and dinosaur trail were fully open though.
The formal gardens at Knebworth
The map makes these gardens look massive, but actually they’re not. I mean, they’re HUGE by normal garden standards, but I know several other similar properties with much bigger formal gardens. Don’t let that put you off though. The formal gardens at Knebworth House are AMAZING. They’re packed full of sculptures, including lots from fallen trees and tree stumps. The reason the map makes it look so big is because there’s loads packed in.
Highlights for us were the mound (aka huge hill that’s perfect for rolling down) and the ponds in the rose garden. In there we found two dragonflies, a newt, pond skaters and tons of water boatmen. All three kids spent ages looking here. A really nice gardener also told us that there were a couple of sparrow hawks nesting on the house so we went over to have a look. We got to see the two chicks and got to see the mum feeding them. It was awesome! That’s one to add to the 30 days wild list!!
The gardens at Knebworth have got lots of different sections for you to explore. Even though everything is right next to each other you wouldn’t really realise it. Each distinct area seems separated from the next thanks to lots of hedges.
There’s a maze as well, but it’s only about shoulder height. It was closed when we visited. Apparently it only takes a couple of minutes to go round it.
The Dinosaur Trail at Knebworth
This is AWESOME. It’s in the wilderness garden and there are over 70 different dinosaurs and animals hidden around. Obviously they’re not life sized, but they’re really big. All three kids absolutely loved the dinosaur trail at Knebworth. We spent 45 minutes in the dinosaur trail alone. You’ll find plenty of your favourite dinosaurs in there like T-Rex, but there’s also some less common ones. We’ll ignore the fact that woolly mammoths and sabre-tooth tigers weren’t around at the time of the dinosaurs. Nor were cavemen. You’ll find statues of all of those dotted around as well.
It’s a decent sized space with lots of different paths all interconnecting. There isn’t really a set path to take so that you see everything. There’s a fair amount of doubling back on yourself, which is fine.
There are a couple of other things to look out for; the Knebworth house bug hotel, the giant chair and the cave painting chalk board.
Social Distancing Concerns
As I mentioned, we visited Knebworth house and gardens to do this review when social distancing measures were still in place. It’s not particularly easy to do that in the dinosaur trail. There are two entrances and, as I say, there’s a lot of little paths to take. I think the paths are a bit bigger than 2m. This wouldn’t really be a problem if people paid attention to what is going on around them. When we visited there were far too many people not really sticking to the 2m rule. They have a member of staff on each entrance and hand gel available. You cannot expect places to fully police everything, but people really do need to pay attention where you have busy, smaller spaces. Ho hum.
Pre-covid we would have loved this place. The kids did love this place. I loved the dinosaur trail, but it did make me a bit nervous. Not Knebworth’s fault though. The trouble is, if you shut this bit then there wouldn’t be anywhere near as much fun.
O. M. G. This place looks amazing! I’ve seen photos, but I don’t really think they do it justice. This adventure playground is huge. There’s some incredible slides, little mushroom houses, a massive wooden fort and much more. I am genuinely gutted that it was closed today. This is absolutely a reason to come back. I’ll update this review of Knebworth house and gardens when I do.
The parkland is sooooo big! You’re not allowed to have picnics etc in the formal gardens, and you’re only allowed in there for your time-slot, which lasts 2 1/2 hours. Outside of this you are free to explore the parkland though. There’s not really a lot to see in the parkland. I think (from the poop) they usually have sheep grazing and there’s mention of deer, but we didn’t see any. It’s a great place to just let the kids run around in complete safety.
Our Knebworth House and Gardens Review
This place was so much better than I was expecting. Before visiting, I had been concerned that, with so much of the estate closed, it wouldn’t be particularly good. I was wrong. I love it when I’m wrong and something turns out to be great! We were in the garden from the very start of our slot until the kicking out bell rang (there genuinely is a kicking out bell!). Unfortunately the park closed at 6 as well so we didn’t have as much time to explore that as I would have liked. I think, when everything is fully open, you could very easily spend a whole day here.
This review of Knebworth House and Gardens was written during social distancing restrictions. Some of the things I’ve mentioned only apply whilst these measures are in place. As government guidance changes, certain things may change. Please look on their website for the latest updates.
At the time of writing tickets are £7 per person / £25 per family of 4. This is a reduced cost due to the reduced facilities on site. They’re not currently advertising their normal ticket price but I believe it’s around £35 for a grounds family ticket and £50 for a house and grounds ticket. Please check their website for the latest prices.
The only toilets that were open when we visited were the ones at the car park. I believe there are others available, I’m assuming at the house and Fort Knebworth, but don’t quote me on that!
Parking / How to get there
Parking – There is a large free car park on site. There is also a car park near the adventure playground area.
Address – Knebworth House, Old Knebworth Ln, Stevenage SG1 2AX. It’s just off the A1(M) and is really easy to get to. You couldn’t hear the road though as the estate is so vast.
Picnics are not allowed in the formal gardens. They are however actively encouraged in the parkland. There’s also a cafe on site.
Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook