Oldway is set in 17 acres of gardens, which are laid out on an Italian theme by the French landscape gardener Achille Duchesne. Beneath the eastern elevation of the building is the maze, which consists of dwarf box hedging and flower beds. To the south of the mansion there is the grotto garden where a waterfall passes over a rocky cave into a pool below. The formal gardens and parkland are Grade II listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
Around 1871 the Fernham estate in Paignton was purchased by Isaac Singer, the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The old building on the site were demolished and he commissioned a local architect, George Soudon Bridgman, to build a new mansion as his home. As part of the designs, Singer instructed Bridgman to build a theatre within the house. Singer spared no cost in terms on Oldway Mansion’s construction; he sourced the finest materials from around the world and instructed Bridgman to design the interior in exuberant French style. The work was completed in 1873. Singer died on 23 July 1875, shortly before work on the original mansion was completed.
Paris Eugene Singer, Isaac Singer’s third son, supervised the alterations at Oldway Mansion between 1904 and 1907. The rebuilding work was modelled on the Palace of Versailles and the eastern elevation of the building was inspired by the Place de la Concorde in Paris. The interior of the building is noted for its grand staircase made from marble and balusters of bronze. The ceiling of the staircase is decorated with an ornate painting based on an original design for the Palace of Versailles for Louis XIV by the French painter and architect Charles Le Brun.