This fantastic Romantic park was created by William Beckford, who fell in love with the Serra de Sintra. The park and palace of Monserrate, formerly a farm with fruit orchards and crop fields, were first imagined by Gerard DeVisme, who rented the farm from the Melo e Castro family in the 18th century. He was followed by William Beckford, who also lived here, and by Francis Cook. It was, however, Francis Cook, the first Viscount of Monserrate, who, together with the landscape painter William Stockdale, the botanist William Nevill and the master gardener James Burt, created the contrasting scenarios that are to be found in the park, where narrow winding footpaths intertwine amongst ruins, nooks and crannies, waterfalls and lakes, in what, at first sight, seems to be an apparently disordered fashion.
Spontaneously growing species from Portugal (arbutus-trees, holly trees, cork oak-trees, amongst others) combine with others originating from all of the world’s five continents, inviting visitors to enjoy a stroll through plant varieties of the whole world, ranging from such countries as Australia to Mexico and Japan. Altogether, there are more than 2500 species. Particularly worth a mention inside the palace are the Music Room and the luxurious reception rooms, such as the Indian living-room, the dining-room and the library, all of which are to be found on the ground floor. The tour of the palace also takes visitors to the first floor, where the private apartments were located.