There’s no need to cross the English Channel to admire gorgeous gardens. Indeed, garden lovers will find everything they could possible wish for right here in Alden Biesen. The castle is embedded in the French garden and the English landscape garden that encircle the castle.
In 1785 a section of the French garden was replaced with a landscape park on the initiative of Grand Commander Franz von Reischach. This was a reaction against austere lines and forms and signalled a ‘return to nature’. Garden architect Ghislain-Joseph Henry from Dinant was commissioned to create a garden presenting every aspect of an idealised romantic landscape: slopes, woodland, monumental trees, a grassy lawn, snaking paths and water features with islands and structures, most of which have now disappeared. To this day, a summer pavilion with an ice house stands concealed from view by the centuries-old beeches. Deeper into the trees you will also find the remains of a hermitage and a cave referring to the adventure of Daniel in the lion’s den. The pièce the résistance is the round marlstone temple with the statue of the Roman goddess Minerva on a pedestal.
Due to a lack of maintenance over the last few decades, the park woodland had turned into a dark place with lots of young trees and shrubs, all but erasing the original open character. In 2013 we worked hard to restore the historic character of the park. Over 700 younger trees were harvested to create room for their 200 elder brothers. Today, stins plants such as snowdrop, woodland crocus, wild daffodil and bush lily once again liven up the woodland floor between January and May.
The English garden is open from 1 April until 1 November between 10 am and 6 pm.
Tip: during the tourist season (April through October) you can have a picnic in the English garden with a view of the castle. During this period, wooden tables with benches and waste bins are dotted around the estate.
We’ll even prepare your picnic for you: order your picnic basket beforehand and collect it at your leisure.