The property today known as Longwood Gardens was originally owned by William Penn who in 1700 sold 402 acres of land to George Peirce. Peirce's descendants established a working farm and also began planting an arboretum which by the mid-1800's contained one of the finest collection of trees in the nation. The area became known as Peirce Park.
In 1906, when trees on the land were about to be sold for timber, Pierre Samuel du Pont, chairman of the Dupont Company and General Motors Corporation, purchased the property. Throughout his life, du Pont continued to develop the property and welcome the public to share in its beauty. Mr. du Pont maintained a summer retreat on the property.
When du Pont died in 1954 he left the Gardens "for the sole use of the public for the purposes of exhibition, instruction, education and enjoyment."
Today, the gardens are run by Longwood Gardens Inc., a not-for-profit organization which receives no government funding. The primary funding for the upkeep of the Gardens still comes from Pierre du Pont's endowment as well as from admission income and sale of merchandise.
Longwood Gardens today consists of 1,050 acres of gardens, woodlands and meadows; 20 outdoor gardens, 20 indoor gardens, numerous fountains including the Main Fountain Garden near the Conservatory. Longwood maintains numerous educational programs and is well known for producing some of the best-trained experts in horticulture in the world. Throughout the year, numerous arts and entertainment events are held in the Gardens.
Celebrate the Seasons
At Longwood Gardens, each season is celebrated with its own unique events and shows.
A Longwood Christmas
November 22, 2019 - January 5, 2020
January 18, 2020 - March 22, 2020
March 28, 2020 - May 3, 2020
Festival of Fountains
May 7, 2020 - September 27, 2020
October 1, 2020 - November 15, 2020
Christmas at Longwood
Some highlights for 2019 holiday season include:
Garden Railway: During regular open hours from October 3, 2019 to January 5, 2020, enjoy a seasonal display of miniature model trains outside the Terrace Restaurant.
Open Air Theatre Fountain Shows: A five-minute extravaganza of colored lights and 750 spraying jets from November 22, 2019 to January 5, 2020. Shows run on the hour from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and every five minutes starting at 2:00 p.m. every day.
Wreath Making Class: Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 9 a.m and 1:30 p.m.
Strolling Musicians: Christmas caroloers singing songs all throughout the gardens on select days from December 3rd to January 5th.
Admission and Hours
Seniors: $22 (age 62+)
College Students: $22 (with valid ID)
Children: $13 (ages 5-18)
Age 4 and under: Free
(rates are higher during the Christmas season)
November 22, 2019 - January 5, 2020: 9:00 am–10:00 pm
January 6, 2020 - March 6, 2020: 9:00 am–5:00 pm
March 7, 2020 - May 6, 2020: 9:00 am–6:00 pm
May 7, 2020 - August 29, 2020: Sun–Wed: 9:00 am–6:00 pm;
Thurs–Sat: 9:00 am–10:00 pm
August 30, 2020 - October 31, 2020: Sun–Wed: 9:00 am–6:00 pm;
Thurs–Sat: 9:00 am–9:00 pm
November 1, 2020 - November 15, 2020: 9:00 am–6:00 pm
Longwood Gardens is located on U.S. Route 1 about 3 miles northeast of Kennett Square, PA, 30 miles west of Philadelphia and 12 miles north of Wilmington, DE. For more information call 610-388-1000.