National Trust Stowe
Looking for a beautiful place to explore in Buckinghamshire? For more than 300 years the magnificence of Stowe has captivated countless visitors.
Visit Stowe while staying at Villiers Hotel
This enchanting place boasts stunning views, winding paths, charming lakeside walks, and elegant temples.
THE HISTORY OF Stowe
Stowe which shares its name with a village in Buckinghamshire has a history that spans nearly 1,000 years.
The estate was first mentioned in the Domesday Book, an ancient record. In 1589, John Temple purchased Stowe Manor and the surrounding estate.
His father had been renting the house for 18 years.The Temple family's wealth came from sheep farming and wool, and Stowe was a perfect location for their family home given their farms in Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.
When Sir Peter Temple passed away in 1653 his son, Sir Richard Temple, inherited the estate. As the fourth owner Sir Richard began developing the garden by planting a vineyard and building a walled kitchen garden.
In 1676, he started constructing a new mansion designed by William Cleare. The mansion was smaller than the current house and forms the core of the present structure.
Later that year Richard Temple, Sir Richard's son, became the fifth owner of Stowe. During this time Temple has employed garden designer Charles Bridgeman and architect Sir John Vanbrugh to enhance the gardens.
The initial additions on the South Front were more formal with tree-lined avenues and precisely shaped ponds. The garden developed rapidly in the following years.
Over 30 gardeners worked on the estate and many renowned garden designers experimented with various styles at Stowe.
Vanbrugh and Bridgeman laid out the initial areas around the house creating some of the first monuments just meters away.
In 1749, Viscount Cobham passed away and the estate was inherited by his nephew, Richard Grenville, Earl Temple, in 1752.
During his ownership Grenville aimed to naturalise Stowe by softening the edges of woodlands and reshaping the lakes to achieve a more natural appearance.
However, by the late 1830s, some areas of Stowe started to show neglect. The second Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, who inherited the estate, had extravagant tastes but struggled with managing his finances.
In an attempt to impress the Royal Family during Queen Victoria's visit in 184, he borrowed more money to undertake repairs on the house and garden and purchased expensive new furniture.
By the end of the decade the estate faced a breakdown. Bailiffs seized the property and a large auction was held resulting in many items being sold quickly and at low prices.
A 40-day auction at Christie's only raised £75,000. Fortunately the third Duke of Buckingham and Chandos managed to save the Stowe estate despite the decline.
The second Duke passed away in 1861 and just four years later his son was able to move back into the house.
During the 1840s and 1850s the house remained closed and the garden was used for grazing cattle and sheep.
The number of gardening staff was significantly reduced leaving only a few caretakers for the estate and major maintenance was neglected.
However, throughout the 1860s several repairs were carried out including the restoration of various temple and the reopening of Bell Gate to visitors as well as the replanting, and the restocking of the museum onsite.
Stowe managed to regain its status within a few years. However, this did not last long.
After the third Duke's death in 1889, with no male heir, the estate passed to his daughter, Lady Kinloss. She had little interest in the estate and initially considered selling it.
The house was sporadically used by family members for short periods.Tragically, Lady Kinloss's eldest son died during the First World War, preventing him from taking ownership of the estate.
Shortly after the war Stowe was put up for sale. In July 1921 the estate was sold for £50,000 to Harry Shaw which was followed by further sales of contents and statues.
In October the governing body that later formed Stowe School purchased the estate.
Over the next six months the house was adapted to accommodate classrooms and student sleeping quarters.
After years of the garden remaining stagnant Stowe School gifted it to the National Trust in 1989.
WHERE IS STOWE IN BUCKINGHAM? HOW DO I GET THERE?
Location: National Trust Stowe is located on New Inn Farm in Buckingham.
Address: National Trust Stowe, New Inn Farm, Buckingham MK18 5EQ
By Car: To ensure accurate navigation enter MK18 5EQ into your navigation.
Parking: Once you arrive there is free on-site parking for National Trust member and non-members.
Come and visit Stowe to discover its magnificent Georgian gardens, temples, and monuments.
National Trust members enjoy free entry and for the complete admission prices you can click HERE.
While you're there you can also explore Stowe House although it is not under the ownership of the National Trust.
For information about the house’s opening times please visit their website at www.stowe.co.uk/house.
Visitors whether they have a ticket for the gardens or not are encouraged to explore the café and shop at Stowe.
And don’t forget to stop by the shop and plant centre before you depart.
STOWE NATIONAL TRUST PARK MAP
Check out all the relevant information on Stowe including opening times, admission prices & much more HERE.
STOWE NATIONAL TRUST FAQ’S
Q: Is Stowe free to National Trust members?
A: The gardens at Stowe are owned by the National Trust. If you are a member of the National Trust you can enter the gardens for free and parking is also included as part of your membership.
Q: Has anything been filmed at Stowe?
A: Stowe is a well-known place for filming, and it has been chosen as a location for various productions, including Netflix's popular series Bridgerton.
Q: How much does it cost to get into Stowe Gardens?
A: Admission prices vary. For the most up-to-date prices check out the official Stowe National Trust website. National Trust members go for free.
Visit Stowe while staying at Villiers Hotel
New Inn Farm MK18 5EQ Buckingham