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Water Garden

Having been abandoned and fallen into disrepair after the Second World War, the Water Garden was rediscovered in 1989, nearly 100 years after it was created. It was originally visited on the way to the Dairy and glasshouses. This private garden can be visited on special tours throughout the year.

Looking its best: Winter - snowdrops, hellebores, witch hazels, winter sweets; Spring: lilacs, deutzia, philadelphus and crab apple flowers

dairy panoramic

Dairy Water Garden

A Water Garden makes use of water for an ornamental effect. Hidden in the landscape at the Dairy, are a series of small lakes interconnected by Pulham rockwork, waterfalls, cascades and narrow winding pathways.

Once part of the garden experience that was linked to the great glasshouse, Top Glass, and Paradise, Waddesdon’s Victorian kitchen garden. Sadly, neither Top Glass or Paradise now exist, but the Dairy and Water Garden are a reminder of what once existed.

One of the most horticulturally diverse gardens, it is only open on limited occasions as part of a guided walk.


Exposed brickwork at the Dairy Water Garden

Pulham rockwork

Artificial rock grottoes were a feature of late-19th-century gardens. An elaborate example can be seen at the Dairy Water Garden and between the Aviary and North Avenue. They were created by James Pulham & Son who invented a way of making realistic looking blocks out of lime mortar poured over brick and rubble – a cheaper and quicker way than hewing blocks of stone.

Choice herbaceous plants grow out of nooks and crannies in the rockwork.

Check out our interactive rockwork trail>

Fun fact

Concealed below a rocky outcrop in the garden was the Manor's underground water reservoir, so large it required a dinghy to cross it.

Mike Buffin, Gardens Manager
Water garden wildlife


The Water Garden regularly attracts plenty of local wildlife and has resident ducks, geese and water fowl. A family of black swans breeds here every year.