© HMTG (Hannover Marketing und Tourismus GmbH)

Just as the ladies and gentlemen of the court once used to do, today’s visitors too stroll pleasurably between the richly ornamented beds, which on summer evenings are festively illuminated. Springing water babbles in hidden corners, while the Great Fountain rises to an impressive height of 80 metres.

 In summer the gardens become a dream backcloth for the concerts and performances of musicals and drama that make up the Herrenhausen Festival Weeks. Electress Sophie, who had Grosser Garten laid out between 1696 and 1714, said: “The garden is my life.” Herrenhausen Palace, the summer residence of the Royal House of Hanover, was destroyed in the Second World War; a reconstruction is planned for the near future.

 The splendours of court life are still evident in the glorious garden, the Galerie with its frescoed baroque banqueting hall, and the unique historical hedge theatre. A fascinating modern addition is the interior of the Grotto, transformed by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle into a walk-in work of art that radiates happiness and joie de vivre from its brightly-coloured figures, dazzling glass mosaics and polished pebbles.