Play your part day and Volunteers' Week

Go behind closed doors to discover the real daily secrets of the National Trust at Stowe on Friday 1 June. See how the world famous gardens are cared for by volunteers and have a go at different activities to try your hand at helping out.

To kick off the celebrations of Volunteers Week, we’re opening the gardens free of charge for Play Your Part Day. On Friday 1 June from 10am-5pm, meet members of the team to ask them those questions you’ve always wanted to know the answer to, discover how much your support helps us and have a taster at some of our have-a-go volunteer activities.

Things to do, for free:

  • Explore the 250 acres of landscape gardens and 750 acres of parkland. Start the kids on a '50 Things to do before they’re 11 ¾' challenge, our nature team will be at the Lake Pavilion for you to start your bug hunting, blooms and bees, snail race, rolling down a big hill activities

  • Meet Jenny and the team to find out more about becoming a volunteer, the wide range of roles available and how it can open the door for you by supporting the country’s largest heritage charity

  • Tackling a big garden takes big tools. From our largest tractor to our small diggers, Darren our Gardener will be at the Farmhouse Garden for your family to get up close to these countryside machines

  • Step into 300 years of history with our archive team

  • Visit the Stowe House State Rooms

  • Digging deep, Assistant Head Gardener Paul will be at Hermitage showing you how we use old maps of the gardens to go digging in search of eighteenth-century paths alongside the archaeology work we undertake to restore the gardens to their original heyday

  • Drop in for a chat with our membership team. Discover over 500 special places and return to Stowe as many times as you like throughout the year to relax, refresh, play and broaden your mind for free

  • Have-a-go gardening in the Labyrinth with our Gardener Anna to help clear out those pesky weeds

  • See how we recycle everything from the garden to provide our own compost in the Labyrinth

  • Our visitor centre is heated using a biomass boiler and woodchip from our own trees, find Steve and the buildings and maintenance team at the New Inn to see what it takes to feed the boiler

  • Does your company support a local charity? We offer volunteering days for companies and organisations to bond as a team and help our gardeners tackle some fun tasks. Jenny will be on hand to tell you more

  • Join an Intro Talk from our team of history buffs

  • Discover the Whistler engraving in Stowe Church

  • Bring a picnic and have a great day out

The activities, entrance to the gardens at Stowe and car parking will all be free of charge on 1 June. Activities will be available on a first come, first served basis. All donations help restore the gardens at Stowe. 

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.

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.

Treat yourself to:

  • A raffle ticket to help us return the nine missing muses and be in the chance of winning £10,000
  • An enjoyable lunch in the cafe or let the kids refresh themselves with cool drinks and ice cream 

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

  • Wildlife kits for the kids and plants from the shop

  • Tea and cake in Stowe Church 

The team at Stowe working in the gardens
Four ladies are standing by some of the flowers and fauna at Stowe discussing the planting, they work for the National Trust
The team at Stowe working in the gardens
" At the Stowe and Aylesbury Portfolio during the 2018/19 season, volunteers worked in 66 roles, donating 54,456 hours. These were given by hundreds of people – our volunteers, corporate groups, schools and members of the community. We simply couldn't achieve what we do without their contribution. Join the team and help us look after your local special place."

Stowe House

To celebrate the start of Volunteers' week Stowe House will be opening the doors for free so that you can discover all about the invaluable work that volunteers do at the house. Hear more about the history of Stowe, see the restored eighteenth-century State Rooms, come and have a chat with the passionate volunteers and even have a go at some of the volunteer roles for yourself with our family friendly activities. 

Getting stuck in - Volunteering week

Later in the week experience an immersive day of volunteering with our gardens and park team on a blitz day. You can speak to Jenny and the volunteer recruitment team on the Friday, or sign up online to help us look after the garden. All activities are between 10am-3pm

  • Saturday 2June - Sleeping Wood gardening. Drop in
  • Monday 4 June - wildflower surveying in the Deer Park Booking necessary
  • Tuesday 5 June –  Grecian Valley path edging. Bookable and availble for you to drop in
  • Wednesday 6 June - Help weeding in the Labyrinth. Bookable and availble for you to drop in
  • Thursday 7 June - Farmhouse Garden planting and shed painting. Drop in
  • Friday 8 June - Lamport Garden pruning and weeding by The Temple of Friendship Booking necessary
The team at Stowe get green fingered to keep everything looking fresh
A lady is sat on the grass with her hands in the beds gardening at Stowe
The team at Stowe get green fingered to keep everything looking fresh
Artist's impression of Stowe Gardens statues

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 Apollo and the nine missing muses to the Elysian Fields. What's more you could be the lucky winner of a variety of prizes.

A guide with pink bakground and images on showing varieties of leaves to look for at Stowe and some bees to spot on flowers

Summer strolls guide

Experience summer with your senses, spot the leafy trees and play bumble bee bingo whilst you find some of our top 50 things to do before you're 11 3/4 using this guide. 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.

Thank you

Did you know...

From joining us a volunteer to becoming a member to supporting our fundraising to purchasing a slice of cake in the cafe, it all helps us protect special places like Stowe. For ever, for everyone.

Two ladies sit on a golf buggy, with bunting. They hold a small chalkboard which reflects on what makes Stowe special to them.

Volunteering at Stowe

If you’ve got some spare time to lend a hand and would like to learn something new or share in a passion you have, then we’d love to hear from you. There's a variety of positions available for volunteers, or tell us what interests you most.

Two girls lay back in their tent reading books and enjoying the sunshine

Big Camp at Stowe

Big camp at Stowe is back for 31 July - 2 August. An exciting chance to camp out by the Temple of Friendship for two nights and immerse yourself in the monumental world of Stowe.