Stowe secret places walk

Walking trail

Remember those magical childhood tales of hidden, secret gardens, which you crept into through a creaky, wooden door mantled with ivy?

Discover hidden treasures

Our Lamport garden was a genuine secret for many years. But now you can discover it along with a whole host of rarely seen locations as part of our secret places walk. Normal admission charges apply.

National Trust Stowe, Buckinghamshire


Map route for Stowe secret places walk


New Inn, Stowe, grid ref: SP681364


Brown's Cascade. Turn right out of New Inn and follow the drive down to Bell Gate. Turn right and cut across the grass towards the Palladian Bridge. Follow the path and directions to the Chinese House. Take the grass path on the other side of the Chinese House and follow the path through the gate. Head down the steps to arrive at the Cascade.

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Secret Garden. Cross the bridge and go through the gate on the other side to arrive at our Secret Garden.

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Signor Fido. Turn right and follow the path around the lake, keeping the lake on your right. Follow the path back to the gate at the top of the Cascade. Go through and follow the path as it curves to the right and leads you away from the Chinese House. Turn right to cross the Palladian Bridge and then turn left, keeping the lake on your left. Go through the gate and turn right for Thanet Walk and go uphill. Look for the leaning tree on your right – opposite this is a secret path that is the entrance to Signor Fido’s monument. Follow this down.

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Modern Virtue. Take the curved grass path to the right of the path that you came in on. Follow this round and turn left to arrive at the Worthies. If you turn right, take the first bridge on the left, which is Shell Bridge. Walk into the Temple of Ancient Virtue. Exit the Temple of Ancient Virtue and head into the dell to find the remains of the Temple of Modern Virtue under the yew trees.

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Walking yew trees. Follow the path that leads around to the back of this temple and head downhill. Continue down the path until you reach an open area. Head across the grass and go under the large yew trees on your left.

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Sleeping Parlour. Leave the trees and head straight, rejoining the path. Follow this with the lake and the bridge on your left. Continue along – Stowe House will be on your right. Turn right when you are opposite the Lake Pavilions to enter the Sleeping Wood.

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Ice House. Take the well-defined path that is the second exit from this space: you should have Stowe House on your right and another path between you and the house. Follow to the end and turn left onto the path. Take the first path on your right and turn right when you reach the water. Follow the path along with the water on your left. You will pass the Rotunda. Take the grass path on your right for Queen Caroline’s Statue. When you reach the statue, take the path on the left and follow it round to the back of the statue, where you will find the Ice House.

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Lower Cascade. Head back the way that you came and turn right when you reach the sign for Queen Caroline’s Statue. Take the next path on the left. When you can see the Ruins on the Cascade across the lake from you, take the grass path on the right. Go through the gate and follow the path down to see the Lower Cascade. You can also follow the path just before the gate (with the fence on your right) to see the wheel.

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Venus Suntrap. Head back out and turn right to rejoin the main path. You will see the Temple of Venus on your right. Head through this or follow around to the back. From here you can follow the path on your right to get back to Bell Gate.

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Bell Gate, Stowe, grid ref: SP677369

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Stowe secret places walk


Walking mainly on a mixture of grass and hoggin paths and including gentle gradients at certain points. Some parts accessible via steps only. Paths may be uneven in places and not suitable for pushchairs, especially in muddy conditions. Certain viewing points may require you to leave the path and walk down grassy slopes towards water. Route across narrow bridge optional.

Dogs on leads welcome in gardens and parkland.

Stowe secret places walk

Contact us

Telephone: 01280 817156



Stowe secret places walk

How to get here

Stowe, Buckingham, MK18 5EQ
By train

Bicester North 9 miles (14.5km), then take X5 bus heading to Cambridge, stop at Buckingham and walk; Milton Keynes Central 14 miles (22.5km), then take X5 bus heading to Oxford, stop at Buckingham and walk.

By road

Off A422 Buckingham to Banbury road. From M40 take exits 9 to 11, from M1 exits 13 or 15a (sat nav: MK18 5EQ); parking: free (£2 non-members).

By foot

1½ miles (2.4km) from Buckingham.

By bus

X5 bus, Cambridge to Oxford, stops Buckingham, 1½ mile (2.4km) walk to entrance.

By bicycle

1½ miles (2.4km) from Buckingham, visit Sustrans

Stowe secret places walk

Facilities and access

  • Enjoy freshly produced and seasonal meals in the café
  • Gift shop with local products and a range of National Trust gifts
  • Spaces to lock bicycles and motorbikes in the car park
  • Toilets, baby changing and feeding facilities at the New Inn
  • Normal admission charges for Stowe apply
  • Dogs on leads welcome in gardens and parkland