Harewood House announces plans for new gardens, playground and visitor centre in old bakehouse after closure of Bird Garden

Harewood House is to get new gardens, a playground and a visitor centre as part of a major ‘reimagining’ project as a result of the closure of the Bird Garden.

The removal of aviaries and relocation of captive birds from an area that had been used as a zoological collection site since the 1960s has opened up a large part of the grounds that can now be repurposed.

The Bird Garden’s closure came after owners the Harewood House Trust, which manages the Grade I-listed stately home between Leeds and Harrogate for the Lascelles family, said the attraction had become outdated and difficult to maintain.

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In new plans announced on Tuesday, the Trust confirmed that new gardens will be laid out celebrating seasonal and sustainable planting, leading from the main estate courtyard to the lake through the old Bird Garden.

Harewood HouseHarewood House
Harewood House

The Grade II-listed Bakehouse within the courtyard complex will be converted into a visitor centre with family activity space, and a new adventure playground will also be built.

The gardens and landscapes will be designed by the Landscape Agency in partnership with award-winning garden designer Matthew Wilson. The Landscape Agency have worked on the grounds at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Castle Howard and Bramham Park.

Harewood House Trust chief executive Rachel Crewes said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of such impressive teams at the outset of this project. Their combined experience of creatively developing public heritage spaces, with great sensitivity to conservation, sustainability and accessibility, will undoubtedly deliver fantastic enhancements to Harewood’s visitor offer. The project kickstarts an exciting time of growth for our independent educational charity and we are excited to share our vision.”