The Old Dairy Bookshop at Stowe

Two women wearing coats and bobble hats read books in a second-hand bookshop

When you visit the second-hand bookshop at Stowe, every penny you spend helps us care for this special place and supports our local community projects. We're open daily 10am-5pm and close at 4pm in the winter.

A new chapter

Our Georgian coaching inn welcomes visitors all year long and is bustling with book lovers. We've moved our second-hand bookshop from the Hayloft to the Old Dairy within the historic Parlour Rooms on the ground floor allowing us to share even more books for you to choose from. 

Visitors and supporters on social media voted on the names of the new location and we're excited to start a new chapter in The Old Dairy Bookshop.

Step through the door

Browse through a treasure trove of second-hand books in our Old Dairy. Flick through the variety of genres and pop in to find what's new.

We've got a wide variety on offer as well as historic collectors editions. All donations go towards the vital conservation, restoration and local community projects taking place across Stowe.

Find a wide selection of gardening, wildlife, walking and children's books in The Old Dairy Bookshop at Stowe.
Young boy reading a bird book
Find a wide selection of gardening, wildlife, walking and children's books in The Old Dairy Bookshop at Stowe.

Literary connections

The mysteries of Stowe continue throughout the literary world. The gardens influence has rubbed off on many authors and inspiration can be found in many books. A book with possibly the strongest connection to Stowe is the sequel to Gulliver's Travel's called Mistress Mashsam's Repose written in 1946 by T.H White. As a former teacher at Stowe, White took strong inspiration from the gardens when creating the setting of the story. A map printed at the back of the book also shows clear comparisons featuring lakes and islands, woodland and temples just like Stowe.

The gardeners also took inspiration from books when creating the gardens. The design of the Sleeping Wood, located next to the Octagon lake, was inspired by Charles Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty. The Sleeping Parlour once sat within a mazy wood, with paths winding through the shrubberies and leading to the centre revealing a secret clearing. This represents the castle becoming hidden in the thorns, the winding paths are your 100 years journey to get through to the clearing and break the spell.

Top reading spot

We've chosen Grenville's Column as the best spot to take a seat on the grass for a moment to read surrounding yourself with scenic views. The statue of Heroic Poetry stands on top representing one of the four types of poetry - Heroic, Pastoral, Satyric and Lyric. Tucked away in the Elysian Fields, she faces across the River Styx towards the Temple of British Worthies reading from a scroll which reads 'Non nisi grandia canto' meaning 'Of none but heroic deeds I sing'.

A row of books on display in the Library at Mompesson House

Special interest books

We've a wide ranging collection of rare, old and signed copies to choose from in The Old Dairy Bookshop at Stowe. Take a look through our Special interest list and get in touch to reserve that second-hand book you've been searching for.

Where will I find the bookshop?

To discover The Old Dairy Bookshop, head into the historic Parlour Rooms on the right-hand side of the old coaching inn when you first arrive and walk into the courtyard.

We also welcome book donations from the public, if you have any you'd like to give please contact us on 01280 817156 so our team can be on hand to help.