Ernst II deserves the credit for having initiated the first English landscape park on the European continent. During a journey in 1768/69 he also travelled to England from where he brought back the gardener John Haverfield.
In Gotha Haverfield laid out a garden based on a design by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. This garden is quite simple and without the usual garden buildings.
After it was completed the Duke had his other grounds in Gotha redesigned as one big park. Ernst II was a freemason and illuminate. As he was interested in many aspects of the arts and sciences, Gotha became a court where they were particularly appreciated and supported.
He helped improve the education system and sponsored the sciences and fine arts. Since he was a freemason he had himself buried on the park islet in his garden, wrapped in a white cloth and without a tomb.