Visitors come to Chester County’s Brandywine Valley with varying plans in mind — the diversity of options here is one of the reasons it’s such a great destination for travelers and adventurers of every persuasion. But no matter the initial draw, the vast majority of Chester County visitors have two local heavy hitters on their list: Longwood Gardens and Winterthur.
Longwood Gardens is the county’s most-visited destination, a 1,083-acre space of outdoor beauty and wonder encompassing ornate gardens, rambling meadows, magical displays, and the famous Main Fountain Garden. Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library is a stunning step back in time, the former country estate of Henry Francis du Pont is a masterpiece of turn-of-the-century architecture and design.
And summer, making the most of a Brandywine Valley escape is even easier — and more affordable — with the new Follies & Fountains ticket deal. With the purchase of one ticket, visitors can enjoy special garden attractions at both destinations.
Follies: Architectural Whimsy in the Garden at Winterthur is a celebration of whimsy with 13 “follies” displayed throughout the estate grounds, including a 22-foot tall Needle’s Eye floating in a pond and a Faerie Cottage with a thatched roof. Some of these are brand new and based on classic and contemporary examples of estates elsewhere, such as the Gothic Tower, inspired by sham castles and fake ruins popular in European landscapes in the 1700s.
The Follies exhibition can be enjoyed on foot or from the garden tram, and tickets include Enchanted Woods, a three-acre garden for children, and an introductory tour of the mansion.
Then hop over to nearby Longwood Gardens, one of the world’s great display gardens, and home of the most significant fountain collection in North America. Built in 1931, the Main Fountain Garden completed an extensive two-year revitalization in 2017 and today puts on dazzling fountain performances featuring 1,719 swirling jets that can reach as high as 175 feet and 30 jets that combine water and flame. Day and night, Longwood hosts a series of fountain performances set to music from a variety of musical genres.
In addition to the Main Fountain Garden, enjoy the enchanting Italian Water Garden and Open Air Theatre fountains, which also perform daily, not to mention the garden grounds and seasonal exhibits.
Follies & Fountains tickets are available through August 31 for $34, a 20% savings over normal pricing.