London audio tour: Canons Park: The Life and Times of the Duke of Chandos

Canons Park: The Life and Times of the Duke of Chandos

Walking Tour

60 mins

About the Tour

Why was Canons Park once one of Britain’s finest palaces? In the early 1700s, it was home to the Duke of Chandos, who poured millions of pounds into the house and gardens, turning it into a centre of collecting and connoisseurship which astounded everyone who visited. It even rivaled Blenheim Palace in its grandeur.

Based on years of research, and developed in collaboration with the Friends of Canons Park and the Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities at the University of Oxford, this walking tour will allow you to explore the rise and fall of Canons Park. You’ll retrace the Duke of Chandos’ steps through the grounds, find out what the trees in the garden say about his taste in art and architecture, and how a temple reveals something of empire and slavery.

Highlights on this tour include hearing about:

• How Chandos made his millions with the Duke of Marlborough
• The boom and bust in the South Sea Bubble
• Canons Park’s hidden legacy of empire and slavery
• Why the grounds and gardens were at the forefront of science
• The story of how a church led Handel to compose the Chandos Anthems
• Canons Park’s fame and subsequent infamy, thanks to Alexander Pope

Whether you’ve lived near Canons Park for years or you’re just visiting, this tour brings to light the life and times of its most famous resident like never before.

Tour Producer


Aaron Graham

I'm a historian and lecturer, based at University College London. I've also held several posts at the University of Oxford, and was a Knowledge Exchange Fellow with The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities.

My research looks at politics, finance and slavery in Britain and the British Empire between about 1660 and 1850. I've published several books and over thirty articles on these topics. You can find more details at my website below

Major Landmarks

  • Canons Park

Directions to Starting Point

The tour begins at the Bothy in Canons Park. This can be accessed from the entrances at Canons Drive, Whitchurch Lane, Donnefield Avenue and Howberry Road. On-street parking is available at all four entrances, subject to local restrictions, and there is a station carpark at Donnefield Avenue. Maps at these entrances will guide you to the Bothy.

Canons Park is within walking distance of Canons Park Underground Station on the Jubilee Line, via Donnefield Avenue. There is also a bus stop at Whitchurch Lane (Buses 79, 186, 340)

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

The Good Friends Cafe at the Bothy is open every day except Mondays from 11am to 4pm. There is also a toilet, which is opened during the day by volunteers and maintained by Harrow Council on a weekly basis

Best time of day

The park is open from dawn to dusk. Although part of the route is over flat pathway that is accessible to wheelchair users, the remainder is over grass, which can be muddy in winter or after heavy rain!


No precautions, the park is safe.


Fantastic tour, well detailed and entertaining!

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 5 months ago

Very well put together tour that is streamlined with your location. Really found it fascinating and have often walked the park in the past wondering what had happened

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 5 months ago
Canons Park: The Life and Times of the Duke of Chandos