Harewood bird garden to close in just nine days’ time
Feb 10, 2023
The bird garden at Harewood House

The bird garden at Harewood House will close for the final time at the end of February half term.

The Harewood House Trust announced in January that the attraction would close in the face of a £4 million bill to bring it up to modern standards.

At the time, the charity said the birds would be re-homed over a six-month period, with a final closure date to be confirmed later in the year.

Now, that date has been set: Sunday, February 19 will be the last opening day.

The only exception is the penguin pool, which the trust said it hoped could remain open until the summer.

A spokesperson said:

“Over the next few weeks, the birds – many of which are exotic or endangered – will be re-homed in licensed zoos in the UK better equipped long-term to ensure they continue to have comfortable and enriched lives and to ensure their life-long care.”

The Harewood House Trust said it had faced a difficult few years, particularly with the covid pandemic, and its trustees were “acutely aware of the financial pressures” on the historic estate.

Read more:

The bird garden was first opened more than 50 years ago and while its last zoo inspection praised the health and care of the birds, it also identified problems with the site’s infrastructure.

The trustees investigated refurbishment and potential sources of funding but, in the face of a £4 million investment, decided to close the bird garden. It will be replaced with a woodland garden with opportunities to see native species of birds and animals.

The farm experience will remain on site, and the trustees are hoping to improve the area around the courtyard for visitors, opening up views across the estate.

A statement today expressed the trust’s sadness at closing the bird garden, which it said had been a favourite experience for many generations of visitors, but said it could not make the bird garden the experience it should be.

The spokesperson added:

“We realise that many of Harewood’s visitors love the Bird Garden and have children who love it too. It has been an incredibly difficult conclusion to reach but it is the most responsible and ethical decision to make, to ensure the health and care of these beautiful creatures, but also to ensure Harewood can stand the test of time and be here for as long as it has stood already…

“Thank you to all our members, visitors, volunteers and supporters for your continued support and your understanding. Harewood looks forward to welcoming you throughout 2023 and beyond.”