Stowe advent calendar walk
This Christmas the beautiful gardens at Stowe have been transformed into a giant advent calendar. Follow the trail to discover the 24 advent ‘doors’ at Stowe hidden across the landscape, with surprises to discover around every corner. From reindeer to a winter wonderland in a temple, these decorations are sure to get you in the festive spirit. This trail covers Stowe's monumental landscape advent calendar, available 1 December - 4 January.
New Inn, Stowe, grid ref: SP681364
Begin your advent calendar walk at New Inn – there are four 'doors' to find here. Keep your eyes peeled as you enter the courtyard under the arch and make sure you visit the shop and Hayloft bookshop. Feeling peckish? You can pick up refreshments at the Nevillery café before heading out on your winter quest.
As you leave the New Inn make sure you stop by the Farmhouse Garden to find a familiar figure keeping the birds off the plot.
Head down Bell Gate Drive making sure you ring the bell as you enter the garden for 'door' number 15.
As you enter the gardens turn left, past the lake pavilions, at the fork in the path turn right and then take the lakeside path on the left. Along this path you will find the Hermitage, decorated for us by Buckingham Primary School. Continue along the path and up to the Temple of Venus to discover more about nearby Claydon House and its lost wing.
Leave the Temple of Venus and head left up towards the Labyrinth. Find the old Ice House hidden at the base of the statue of Queen Caroline for ‘door’ 16.
Re-trace your steps and walk around the Eleven Acre Lake and up Gurnet’s Walk towards the Rotunda. Find Dido’s Cave and our nativity scene created by St James and St John C of E Primary School.
Continue on to the magnificent Stowe House where you will find two more ‘doors’ to spot. Pass the house and head along the path to find Stowe Church tucked away behind the trees. Pop into the church to see their nativity scene, ‘door’ number 23.
Head out of the church, taking a right at Captain Grenville’s Column and then take the path on the right to head around the back of the Temple of Ancient Virtue. Along this path you will find our newly returned Gothic Cross and find out which monuments are missing from Stowe’s landscape for ‘door’ 3.
Continue along this path and head right, up to the Doric Arch for ‘door’ number 2. Re-trace your steps down from the Doric Arch and around past the front of the Temple of Ancient Virtue. Continue past Captain Grenville’s Column and down into the magical festive Grotto where Father Christmas’ reindeer have stopped for a break.
Leave the Grotto and take the path on the right which leads up to the Temple of Concord and Victory, ‘door’ 24 and the highlight of our monumental advent calendar. Head up the steps to see the winter wonderland created by our fantastic gardening team in this magnificent temple.
Leave Concord and Victory and continue on the path to find our statues in the Grecian Valley. Here you will find one of the statues wearing a Christmas hat and scarf for ‘door’ number 12, but who?
Follow the path around both sides of the Grecian Valley and look out for our Orchard, through a gate on the left, to discover what the Marquess of Buckingham had for his Christmas dinner in the early 1800s.
Leave the Orchard and re-join the main path, following it round, past Queen’s Temple and along to Lord Cobham’s Pillar. Here you can find out more about what happened to the pillar after it was struck by lightning in 1957.
Continue your walk down past the Gothic Temple and over the Palladian Bridge. Take the path on the left towards the Chinese House (which is wrapped up for winter) and on into Lamport Garden. Here you will find two ‘doors’… find out about the restoration work that has taken place here and then head up to the milestone to look out over the site of the lost village of Lamport.
Leave Lamport Garden, past the Chinese House, and follow the main path round past the Temple of Friendship.
As you continue along the path, and take the right hand fork down towards Octagon Lake where you will find the Pebble Alcove and a rather small door 4.
You’re nearly finished, but we’re ending with a bit of a challenge! Follow the path back to the Bell Gate, head through the gate and take the track off the Bell Gate drive to the left. Following the line of the ha-ha, you will reach a bit of a ‘bridge’ with metal handrails, before you go over this head right up the edge of the field. You should then see a signpost for the Farey Oak, our magnificent old oak tree.
That’s it you’ve completed the monumental advent calendar! Retrace your steps and head up Bell Gate drive for a well-deserved treat in the Nevillery Café.
Bell Gate, Stowe, grid ref: SP677369
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