A fantastic day out is on offer at Shuttleworth with something for everyone to enjoy. Originally the home, gardens and vintage aircraft and vehicle collection of the Shuttleworth family, it is now one of Bedfordshire’s most interesting visitor attractions. The Collection and Swiss Garden are open to the public daily.
The Collection of aircraft and cars was started by Richard Ormonde Shuttleworth, a passionate racer and pilot. Based in the aerodrome, the Collection contains some of last airworthy aircraft of their type remaining anywhere in the world.
The Collection opened to the public in 1963, and further aircraft and vehicles have been added over the years. Events that encompass flying displays and vehicle parades draw crowds from all over the world. The Collection’s aircraft and vehicles, as much as possible, are all kept working as intended – it’s where history flies and drives!
Look out for our Blériot XI, dating from 1909 – the world’s oldest airworthy aircraft; the racing aircraft DH88 Comet – which won the MacRobertson air race from England to Australia in 1934; and the Supermarine Spitfire being restored in the Engineering Workshop.
Adjacent to the aerodrome that houses the Collection, the Swiss Garden is an outstanding example of the Regency fashion for creating landscapes in a picturesque alpine style.
It is a peaceful, tranquil space, and one which has new vistas revealed at every turn. Within the garden are 13 listed structures, and an adjacent woodland sculpture trail. It’s a delight to explore and recent restoration work in 2014 has ensured it has accessibility for all visitors.
Resident in the garden are three delightful peacocks, and ducklings can be seen swimming on the ponds in Spring. During school holidays workshops and activity trails for children are available, and events such as outdoor theatre and music take place every year.
The on-site restaurant offers everything from full English Cooked Breakfast, bacon butties and a tasty pasties, through to full home cooked meals such as fish n’ chips and cottage pie. On Sundays you can enjoy a full roast lunch.
There is a fantastic play which includes special ‘high activity’ units for older children and much of the equipment has been designed for inclusive play to provide opportunities for children whatever their physical abilities. The Play Area is suitable for children up to 12 years old. No dogs are allowed. Even better, the play area is free to use on non-event days.