Free open day - Celebrating 'Capability' Brown

2016 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth the most successful gardener in British history – Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and it all started at Stowe. To celebrate the occasion, we'll be opening our doors free of charge across the Stowe estate on 31 August for you to soak up the magnificent legacy he left on the Buckinghamshire landscape.

Whether it’s a great day out with the kids or little more history you’re after, they’ll be something for you to enjoy across the breadth of the estate. Working together the National Trust, Stowe House Preservation Trust and Stowe Church have created a whole day of activities for you to choose from as well as going behind the scenes to discover areas not usually open to the public. 

Things to do, for free

  • Explore the 250 acres of landscape gardens and 750 acres of parkland 

  • Take a Capability Brown tour of the gardens

  • Head to Brown’s masterpiece at the Temple of Concord and Victory to enjoy works by the Embroiderers Guild

  • Reveal the history for a family once richer than the King in the Stowe House Welcome Discovery centre 

  • Take tours of Stowe House

  • Climb Lord Cobham’s Pillar to see 5 counties

  • Children can play Brown bingo to spot how this gardener designed on a monumental scale

  • Listen to authors, scholars and the Head Gardener on pop-up talks across the site

  • Find the hidden gem of Stowe Church and see the marriage register of Brown and Bridget Wayet from 1744

  • Talk to the experts helping to restore Stowe through restoration

  • Have a go at some of the ‘50 things to see and do before you’re 11 ¾’ with the family explorer guides

  • Bring a picnic and have a great day out

  • Enjoy musical performances by Cantlos in the atmospheric Parlour Rooms

Treat yourself to

  • An enjoyable cup of Capabili-tea at the Temple of Concord and Victory. Refresh yourself with cool drinks, cake and ice cream 

  • Homemade lunches and cakes in the café

  • Brown related books (and other lovely items) in the shop

  • Raffle tickets, help us raise funds for the Urn in the Grecian Valley

  • A treasure trove of second-hand reads in the Hayloft Bookshop

The activities, entrance to the Stowe estate and car parking will all be free of charge on 31 August. Both Stowe House and Stowe Church are accessed through the National Trust New Inn visitor centre and gardens.

" The Grecian Valley and the Parkland are amongst Lancelot ‘Capability’ Browns most influential pieces of work and something Buckinghamshire can be proud of. We’d love to welcome you along to join in the festival feeling on Wednesday 31 August, 10am-6pm"
- Jane Greenhaf, General Manager
A very wide building in golden coloured stone is larger than most palaces, with an impressive lawn leading up to its steps

Stowe House

Stowe House is perhaps the greatest temple of all here at Stowe. Lovingly looked after by Stowe House Preservation Trust, you can visit the Welcome Discovery Centre and take tours of the State Rooms.

A small church with graveyard infront with winding path is sheltered by lush green trees of the gardens at Stowe

A hidden gem

The only remaining building from Stowe village lies in the heart of the gardens, Stowe Church. Open daily for you to see there are treasures to discover.

The mosaic domed ceiling at the Gothic Temple sits high above the buildings central room

No ordinary holiday cottage

Sitting proudly in the Hawkwell Field is The Gothic Temple. Enjoy Stowe in all it's splendour by hiring the temple as a holiday cottage.

Help raise funds

Help us raise funds by purchasing a raffle ticket when you visit. This year all of the donations are helping us to return the Urn in the Grecian Valley. What's more you could be the lucky winner of a variety of prizes.

Peacock butterfly on a flower

Things that flutter by

Learn all about the world of butterflies and moths this August at Stowe. Take a peek or print it to bring along with you when you visit.

A family walking along the Temple of Concord and Victory in winter.

A year to make memories

Become a member when you visit Stowe and your money will help care for the gardens whilst you get to enjoy a whole year of family fun.

The Temple of Concord and Victory stands tall. A huge golden Grecian style temple with large coloums, collonades and portico with craved murals and statues sit on the top.

'Capability' found at Stowe

Rising through the ranks, Lancelot 'Capability' Brown learnt his trade experimenting at Stowe, making his mark on the landscape before moving on to transform the the English countryside and many aristocratic estates.