Holdenby House was built in the 16th century by Sir Christopher Hatton, Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth I.
The beautiful house is just two miles across the fields from Althorp, home of the Spencer family. Around the mansion, once the largest house in England, Sir Christopher created a splendid garden.
The house and garden were built as a suitably magnificent setting for Sir Christopher to entertain the Queen. During the reign of Charles I Holdenby was used as a palace but after the King's defeat in the Civil War the building became his prison.
Holdenby House provides a superb backdrop to the wonderful grounds.
Little remains of Sir Christopher Hatton's orignal plan but Rosemary Verey has created the Elizabethan Garden, a small scale reconstruction of the magnificent garden. This charming garden has been created using period plants.
There is also a Silver Border and the Fragrant Border has been replanted by Rupert Golby, designer of Country Life's Centenary Garden at Chelsea.
Other features at Holdenby evoke the property's historic past.
At the Falconry Centre visitors can see demonstrations of this traditionally royal pastime and even try it for themselves.
The Victorian kitchen provides refreshments and there is a shop full of crafts and souvenirs.