Car Park project and future plans

The background
When we first opened to the public in 1957, visitors drove up the hill and parked in front of the House, in a small car park or on the drive itself. As visitor numbers continued to grow (now at more than 350,000 annually), this became increasingly challenging to manage. On busy days, some visitors had to park over a half a mile from the House, and then walk up the drive through a double line of cars, converging from all directions.

Aside from the damage to grass verges caused by parked cars, and the inconvenience to visitors, this also compromised Baron Ferdinand’s original idea and the experience that he wanted to be so much part of his guest’s arrival.

Recent developments

Discussions have taken place over many years to consider how parking and the arrival experience can be better managed, to prioritise safety and comfort for visitors, and to plan for the future. This included a visitor consultation in 2011.

Over the next few years there will be major investment in new facilities, designed to welcome all of our visitors and to also ensure that everyone experiences the arrival and the magical views from the drive as originally intended. Having considered various sites, it was agreed to locate a new car park with 1,000 spaces in a discreet location, almost entirely invisible from the entrance drive, and therefore protecting the beautiful views and the surrounding landscape. Once planning permission had been granted in 2013, the car park was commissioned, and partially opened for the Christmas season, along with temporary visitor welcome facilities. A new fleet of shuttle buses have been introduced, in order to transport the majority of visitors from the car park directly to the top of the hill. 

Future Plans
A permanent ticketing pavilion is currently being designed which will include lavatories and a covered waiting area for the shuttle buses. It is expected that this will be constructed during the 2014 season, to be open in early 2015.  

See our plan for the New car park

See our plan for the new Welcome Pavilion