The grounds around many of England’s castles and palaces bear the mark of Lancelot Brown—better known as Capability Brown—an 18th-century landscape architect and royal gardener. Here are a few places to admire his work.
Hampton Court Palace, London
Hampton Court Palace sits in Richmond upon Thames in London and was once a royal residence of King Henry VIII. King George III appointed Capability Brown as chief gardener in 1764, and Brown landscaped the canals and gardens seen today. Book a priority ticket to skip the line.
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
This 18th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site is set on the banks of River Glyme. Famous for its spectacular baroque architecture, Blenheim Palace has equally impressive formal gardens, lakes, and woodlands. Book a guided tour that combines Blenheim Palace with a visit to the Cotswolds.
Alnwick Castle, Alnwick
Alnwick Castle was built in the 11th century following the Norman Conquest when Capability Brown molded the landscape’s views over the River Aln for the first Duke of Northumberland. Guided day trips combine this castle with Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, and other highlights.
Warwick Castle, Warwick
Book a ticket to Warwick Castle, an expansion from the original built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Admire the chapel, Great Hall, and library, and don’t miss a stroll through the manicured gardens planned by Capability Brown. The castle sits by River Avon.
Chatsworth House, Peak District
This grand Tudor mansion in the heart of the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire is surrounded by sweeping lawns, tree-lined gardens, serene lakes, and rolling hills. One of the finest UK country houses, Chatsworth boasts panoramic views over the low hills between the Derwent and Wye valleys.
Cardiff Castle, Cardiff
With mighty flanks and high towers, the medieval Cardiff Castle—built by Norman invaders in the late 11th century in the heart of present-day Cardiff—is one of Wales’ top attractions. Capability Brown remodeled the grounds and lodgings in the late 18th century, and it’s one of the few sites at which he worked outside of England. See it on a Cardiff hop-on hop-off bus tour.
Highclere Castle, Hampshire
These distinctive grounds and gardens have reached an on-screen audience of millions as Downton Abbey. Seeing Highclere Castle in person offers the bonus of strolling among the ancient cedar trees planted by Capability Brown.