Old Warden itself is a beautiful picturesque quiet village in the heart of rural Bedfordshire with a host of interesting houses, thatched cottages, quaint english manicured gardens and a quality country pub hosting many good ales and good traditional food.
In the local vicinity in and around the village are a multitude of places of interest.
The most famous and one of the most visited in Bedfordshire being the Shuttleworth Collection. A large and rare collection of early aircraft secured in public viewing hangers but also parade on aircraft open days and various summer events.
The Birds of Prey Centre continues to grow and is popular for visitors. With the collection of birds growing to almost 300, the centre decided that it was time to open a Centre for the benefit of the general public, which is what they had been working towards for many years. They believe now that they have established one of the finest collection of birds of prey in the Country.
Feel the beauty and the tranquillity of the Swiss Gardens on the Shuttleworth grounds. It is manicured with many trees, flowers, exotic flora and fauna and summer house. These grounds are used for wedding photos and special events including music around the summer house, but is open to visitors during the visitor season.
The village also hosts Shuttleworth College on Old Warden Park. It is a 172 hectare landscaped park containing the Mansion House - the college based on a large part of this land and is a large established agricultural, animal and countryside based courses college. Shuttleworth College is now comes under the Bedford College Umbrella. The park has also been host to the Bedfordshire Country Show over the last number of years.
The refurbished Queen Anne Summer House on the Shuttleworth Estate in Old Warden Wood is also worth a visit. It lies in an open glade in Warden Warren which rises on the south east side of the village. A public footpath pathway runs from near the Hare and Hounds Pub up into the trees. Queen Anne summer house is through a gate on the left half way along the path. There is an information board to mark the entrance.
Nestled between the picturesque villages of Old Warden and Cardington, vines were first planted on this beautiful Bedfordshire field in medieval times by monks at the Cistercian Abbey of Warden. This award-winning five acre vineyard is now run by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity as a community project. Tours are run by the Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard to raise funds to support the community vineyard.
The vines are now cared for throughout the year by volunteers and community groups who enjoy being in this beautiful and historic setting. The project works with other local charities and schools to provide:
• A great chance to be involved from vine to wine for local people
• A unique setting for horticultural therapy
• Wildlife & heritage projects
• Learning and skills development
• Help for people into employment or voluntary work
• Great wines to celebrate Bedfordshire
The main and northern parts of the village settlement were in the main created by Lord Ongley in the later part of the 18th and early part of the 19th centuries as a model estate village to replace the old village at Warden Street.
The present village is a carefully created almost artistic composition reflecting the picturesque by the deliberate use of a variety of ornate cottages in irregularly and loosely spaced groups surrounded by a setting of trees, hedgerows and slopes.
Old Warden Park containing the Mansion House was built for Joseph Shuttleworth and completed in 1880. This imposing building lies toward the centre of the park, replacing an earlier house on the same site. It is now a corporate hire venue and is popular for wedding day hire too.