Historic Gardens: English Heritage Perspective

Dean Hristov, Nick Naumov, Petia Petrova

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – This paper aims to provide an exploratory investigation into contemporary interpretation methods used in historic gardens and their fundamental role in enhancing the visitor experience and sense of a place.

Design/methodology/approach – A series of semi-structured interviews (n = 65) with Wrest Park visitors – who had the opportunity to experience new interpretation methods provided on-site – have been carried out in an attempt to explore their sense of place through interpretation.

Findings – The research suggests that interpretation has a fundamental role to play in “telling the story” of historic gardens, with 92.5 per cent of the sample understanding elements of the place’s history, significance and evolution. The findings further suggest the presence of two distinct visitor typologies – history explorers and leisure seekers.

Practical implications – The study provides implications for theory and practice and recommendations for historic garden practitioners.

Originality/value – The importance of conceptualising and operationalising interpretation in historic gardens has received relatively little attention across the extant body of heritage interpretation literature. English Heritage’s Wrest Park, which is amongst England’s most prominent historic gardens, is used as a
case study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-215
Number of pages26
JournalTourism Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2018


  • Tourism
  • Visiting Attractions
  • Heritage
  • English Heritage
  • Wrest Park
  • Audience Development
  • Interpretation


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