Work on the gardens began around 1715 and by 1727 they were described as "the noblest of any in Europe". Within the grounds, overlooking the lake, is an unusual turfed amphitheatre, which used to form the centrepiece of an annual event called the Claremont Fête champêtre. Hundreds of visitors descended on Claremont, most in costume (each year has a different theme) to enjoy four days of music, theatre and fireworks.
Also within the grounds is the Belvedere Tower, designed by Sir John Vanbrugh for the Duke of Newcastle. The tower is unusual in that what appear to be windows, are actually bricks painted black and white. It is now owned by Claremont Fan Court School, which is situated alongside the gardens.
In 1949 the landscape garden was donated to the National Trust "for safe keeping". A restoration programme was launched in 1975 following a significant donation by the Slater Foundation.