Andalusia Historic House and Gardens offers a scenic escape from the city

The Peony Walk at Andalusia.

Andalusia is back open for another season, and this year, there are a few new additions to look out for with the Historic House and Gardens

Overlooking the Delaware River and 13 miles from Philadelphia, this picturesque property once belonged to the Biddle Family. The 19th-century Greek Revival home is currently surrounded by stunning, native woodlands and spectacular formal gardens, but the land and what it holds date back to the 18th Century.

A bit more of history on the venue: It was first purchased by a local merchant, John Craig, as a summer retreat in 1795, and the house (known now as the “Big House”) was built two years later. In 1814, the property was passed to Craig’s son-in-law, Nicholas Biddle, best known as the President of the Second Bank of the United States during the 1820s and 1830s.

The Rose Garden in May. Andalusia

It was Biddle who built the surrounding grounds into what they are known for today, through his love of architecture and agriculture. And it still shows, as the 100-acre property is home to more than 800 trees, including nearly 250 unique specimen and cultivars from around the world.

And Philadelphians can discover it all, as the property just opened back up to the public, and will remain open until Nov. 3 of this year. Self-guided tours have even been reduced in price this year to $15, or, visitors can join in on guided tours for $30. 

Andalusia will also host six Open Saturdays, the first was this past weekend, but future dates include May 20, June 10, Sept. 23, Oct. 28, and Nov. 4. As a release states, each Open Saturday features special public programs and offerings, including the daffodil and spring bloom garden walk that just took place in April, a garden photography day in May, a celebration of local rivers in September featuring beer on sale from Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company, and a fall foliage tree tour in October. 

The schedule for Open Saturdays runs on an extended time period for the grounds as well, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. And on Open Saturdays, the Historic House tours are offered at 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 and 2:30 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets for these specific dates in advance from the Andalusia website. (Note that admission is free for children 12 and under.)

What should you look out for? A spring highlight includes the blooming and fragrant crab apple trees in the Graperies, noticeable thanks to the tall stone wall covered in purple wisteria. The Woodland Walk also offers a peek at daffodils that are said to brighten the wooded floor each spring. The Easter Gardens are another fan favorite, boasting an array of blossoming magnolias, redbuds, and tulips designed to be at their peak this time of year.

But, you and your group can plan your visit around different seasonal highlights including herbaceous perennials and bulbs (daffodils, tulips, Virginia Bluebell, Lily of the Valley, peonies), shrubs (rhododendron, lilac, roses, wisteria and hydrangea), trees (pink flowering dogwoods, Japanese Cherry, Southern Magnolia, fringe tree), and more.

It can all be the backdrop to an outdoor lunch if you wish as well. According to a release, Andalusia highly encourages guests to pack a picnic basket and settle among the gardens, or along the riverbank, for a “blissful afternoon recess.” They are also encouraged to explore the exterior architecture and design of the Big House, but guests who wish to see the interior can purchase tickets for guided tours of the Big House beforehand online.

The Easter Garden in April. Andalusia

Another popular highlight is the Champagne Garden Tour, hosted by horticulturalist and Andalusia Board Trustee Kristin Biddle. Taking place on June 10 and Sept. 23, from 4 to 6 p.m., guests will receive a glass of champagne and light refreshments on the grand porch of the Historic House. A guided tour of the formal gardens will then take place, afterwards, guests can return to the House to relax while overlooking the Delaware River or stroll along The River Walk.  Champagne Garden Tour tickets are $65 per person, and access to the Historic House is not included.

Philadelphians can also head to the historic grounds on May 4 for the first ever first-ever Andalusia Garden Symposium. The event will feature a panel of speakers, lectures from world-renowned experts, afternoon tea, book signings with the speakers, and ample time to explore the grounds. 

There are also memberships available, which include invitations to all special events and programs and the biannual newsletter, The Column, filled with news, articles and more. Members also receive free Garden Admission and Big House Tours during public hours (free reservations are required for Big House Tours to ensure availability).

For more information on Andalusia Historic House, Gardens and Arboretum (1237 State Road, Andalusia) visit