Family activities at Stowe

Get the kids outdoors with acres of space to run and stretch their legs. Adventures await your family with so much to discover whatever their age. We want you to leave your worries at the garden gate, forget you’re a grown up and set off hand in hand with your children into a dream world of monumentally sized gardens.

Family adventures

Re-wild the children at Stowe when you get outdoors, away from the tech and tune into nature. The gardens and park provide the ultimate backdrop for igniting imaginations, explore a world of lakes, magical woods, ginormous temples and twisted trees as you play and have fun on your family adventure. 

Enjoy the Autumn colours at Saltram
A little girl lies amongst orange autumn leaves
Enjoy the Autumn colours at Saltram

Discover autumn at Stowe

As the leaves change colour to yellow, bronze and magenta, Stowe is the best place to kick up some crispy leaves, relish the rustle and savour the smells of autumn's rich earth and woodsmoke. Here are five great things you can do on an autumn ramble at Stowe:

Chase falling leaves

It's harder than you think to catch a falling leaf. Particularly if you get a sneaky little breeze that spirals your chosen leaf up and away. See who can catch the most by the end of your visit. Extra points for the biggest and brightest?

Tree ID

You might want to take this spotter sheet with you to see how many different types of tree you can identify. Knowing the name of a tree doesn't make it any more beautiful, but some of us just get a kick out of classifying. 

Autumn leaf spotter sheet (PDF / 0.5MB) download

Squirrel spot

Squirrel holding a nut

Squirrels can get bad press, but trees rely on squirrels to move their heavy fruits like conkers, acorns and beechnuts around. Can you spot any squirrels nibbling nuts? Or even nibbled nuts on the ground? Dormice gnaw neat round holes, wood mice gnaw rough holes in hazelnuts and break open beech husks. Squirrels and woodpeckers just bash them open. 

Reflect on your day

Double the colour with this short walk taking you around the lakes to admire the reflections of the colours in the water. 

Stowe autumn ramble reflections walk (PDF / 3.8MB) download

Collect feathers

It’s a good time to pick up feathers in autumn. Waterbirds moult at this time of year as they’ve finished nesting so don’t need to be looking their best to find a mate. It’s hard work growing new feathers, and the abundance of fruit and seeds around helps keep up their energy levels. They no longer need their old ones, though, so feel free to forage them for craft projects or Christmas wreaths. Do make sure you wash your hands after handling them. 

Swans by the lake and south front of Stowe house, Stowe.

Family-friendly checklist

  • Free entry for under 5s and free entry for National Trust members.
  • Seasonal spotter guides available to download from our website and app.
  • Baby-changing facilities in access-friendly toilets.
  • Buggy friendly routes around the garden. We recommend sturdy buggies for the garden rather than strollers.
  • Breastfeeding welcome.
  • Children’s scooters and balance bikes without pedals are welcome in the garden.
  • Children’s menu available from the café. High-chairs available to use, ask a member of the team when you arrive.
  • Picnics are very welcome around the garden and picnic benches at New Inn.
  • Pocket money gifts and children's books available in the shop. 

Bikes

We'd love for you to cycle to Stowe, please lock bikes up in the spaces provided in the car park. You need to be on foot patrol in the gardens so you don't miss anything. Small scooters and balance bikes can be taken into the gardens. We kindly ask that bikes with pedals don't go in the gardens.

 

Video

Nature Words

The study commissioned by the National Trust accompanies a striking, unscripted video that shows seven to ten-year olds who are losing nature meanings in their language and then the joy of reconnecting with the nature meanings of words.

Weather experts

Here are our top tips for embracing the outdoors whatever the weather at Stowe.

  • When the sun is shining, you'll find the wooded areas and temples a good place to rest and find some shade

  • We recommend good footwear, especially wellies in the winter, as the gardens can get muddy in places

  • The gardens are large. For fun days out with smiling kids at the end, bring sunhats, sun cream and bottles of water to stay hydrated. Plan a route to decide how far you'll go and choose rest stops along the way

  • To dodge rain showers, use the temples as shelters

  • Temples with shelter, some benches or to use for picnic spots are: The Lake Pavilions, Concord and Victory, Ancient Virtue, The Cascade (there are small nooks to sit in), Hermitage, The Fane of Pastoral Poetry