Accessibility at Stowe Gardens
We believe Stowe Gardens should be open and accessible for all. Read more to discover how you can best access this special place and full information on accessibility for those with disabilities or additional access needs.
Access for people with disabilities
The National Trust has a variety of ways individuals with specialist requirements can access places free or at discounted admission rates.
Contact the Supporter Services Centre to discuss your specific requirements in relation to the passes outlined below:
Essential Companion Card - free admission for one companion or carer of a disabled person
Essential Companion Admit Two Card – as above but for more complex care needs
Access for All Admittance Pass – in situations where it may be more appropriate for the disabled person to go in free with a paying companion
If you need to bring a carer or essential companion to accompany you as a disabled visitor, you can now book a carers ticket in advance, free of charge.
To find out more contact the Supporter Services Centre:
Tel: 0344 800 1895 (9am-5.30pm weekdays, 9am-4pm weekends & bank holidays)
Send an enquiry via email.
More information about physical disability access is available on the AccessAble website.
We're passionate about making Stowe accessible to all needs and disabilities. For detailed information, this document outlines the various facilities we have in place to cater for your requirements. For Stowe’s full access statement please look at the homepage.
‘I can be independent and free as Stowe is so accessible. I can take my family for a walk feeling confident to take the lead with the simple layout. Stopping to have lunch or a coffee in the fully accessible cafe and dog-friendly seated area makes me feel included. Stowe is the reason for us joining the National Trust.’
‘“As a visually impaired person, I think Stowe is a wonderful place to visit and myself and my guide dog always receive a warm welcome from the staff. I like exploring the wide range of trees and taking the time to appreciate and run my fingers over the different textures of the bark. I feel more relaxed and that I have connected with nature when I leave Stowe, and always look forward to the next visit.”
Arriving at Stowe Gardens
Top five tips for enjoying your day
- Contact us at least one week before your visit so we can ensure you have access to everything you need ready for when you arrive. (Please note, you don’t have to do this, but it really helps.)
- Plan your route ahead of time to make the most of your day.
- Visit the toilet before you explore Stowe Gardens.
- Dress for the weather. Comfy shoes recommended.
- Speak to our team at any time if you need advice or assistance.
Routes and paths
Stowe Gardens, by its nature, can be challenging. Most pathways are gravel or hoggin. Mown grass paths can be slippery when wet. There are steep slopes and uneven 18th-century steps leading to many of the monuments. These are a fundamental feature of the character of the estate. But
much of it is still accessible to visitors of all abilities. Ask for our access map and guide on arrival to help find the best route for you.
All parking at Stowe Gardens is free, and there are plenty of accessible spaces in the main New Inn car park and the overflow car park. The main car park is surfaced with a mix of hard tarmac surfaces and hard gravel. It is sometimes dusty in dry weather. The overflow car park is made up of mainly grass and gravel surfaces. There are a limited number of coach parking bays which we can reserve if booked in advance.
It is approximately 80 metres from the accessible car park to New Inn. The entrance to the garden at Bell Gate is about 800m from the car park. If you
need support getting to the garden entrance, hop on our free shuttle service, which leaves regularly from outside the cafe.
All dogs on leads are welcome at Stowe Gardens. Assistance dogs are allowed everywhere on site.
Services and facilities
Access map and guide
There are many ways to enjoy Stowe Gardens and we detail them all in our access guide and map - simply ask for one on arrival. Please follow the suggested paths based on your personal capability. It shows recommended routes, the distances between key monuments, rest spots, toilets, quiet spaces, and more. It also helps explain the different services we have on offer to you during your visit.
We also have our essential visitor information available in Braille or Large Print. Please ask at the information kiosk or garden entrance to make use of these.
There are toilets at New Inn and in the café corridor, and temporary toilets at the entrance to the garden. Accessible toilets are found in all these locations. A separate baby-change facility is located in the toilet block at New Inn.
All permanent toilet facilities are equipped with automatic hand driers and lit mostly with natural light. The temporary toilets are equipped with hand sanitiser and paper towels.
Unfortunately, we do not have an adult changing table or hoist at this time.
Free access equipment
Please call or email in advance to book manual wheelchairs, mobility vehicles, or festival trollies for transporting heavy bags or picnics. They are available for hire for either a morning or afternoon slot. We recommend booking these at least a week in advance of your visit for best availability. You will be given a short briefing at the beginning of your session to show you how the vehicle works.
If you are bringing your own mobility vehicle, please remember to charge it fully before setting off.
A free shuttle service runs regularly from outside the cafe to Bell Gate (the main garden entrance). The entrance is about 800m from the car park so if you need help getting there, please speak to a member of our team on arrival. Pick-up points are marked on the access map.
We have a variety of buggies to suit different sized groups and needs including a smaller buggy for up to 3 people, a larger buggy for up to 7 people, and a 6-seater buggy with a wheelchair ramp. We have removable ramps to help stepping up onto the buggies if required.
For special openings and private events, we have a stairclimber available for access into the temples and monuments. Please contact us on 01280 817 156 in advance if you require this service.
Induction and T-loops are available at the following locations: café, shop, bookshop and Bell Gate kiosk (the garden entrance).
Eating, drinking and shopping
There’s level access from the car park to the main café, shop and the Potting Shed Kiosk. All are found at the back of New Inn. Every penny spent here goes back into conserving and restoring Stowe. So, whether stopping for a scone, slurping on a bowl of soup, or enjoying a cuppa with friends, thank you.
The café has level access throughout with automatic doors along the corridor. There is also level access to the two outdoor seating areas. If you need help with carrying your items please ask a member of the team.
Please let staff know if you have any allergies. A full allergen list is available for items on sale.
Straws and large-handled cutlery are available on request.
Staff will be happy to help you with opening doors, reaching items, or reading price tags. Please ask.
This is located within our historic Parlour Rooms, and only accessible via steps. Our volunteer bookshop team are more than happy to come out to you and chat through books you might be looking for.
Want to enjoy a visit to Stowe from the comfort of your own home?
Explore the site with our virtual tour: National Trust - Stowe (tourmkr.com)
Mobile phone reception and Wi-Fi
Mobile phone reception is generally good across the site, but there are some weak spots. The same goes for data coverage. Our National Trust free
Wi-Fi is available for you to use in and around our main visitor facilities.
Maps in international languages
Take the kids on an outdoor adventure this autumn and half term as you explore a world of lakes, magical woods, enormous temples, colourful reflections and twisted trees.
Discover the stories behind the paths of vice, virtue and liberty that run throughout Stowe Gardens and the individual beauty and significance of each area.
At the heart of Stowe's garden is Stowe House, which is not owned by the National Trust. Discover how you can visit for refreshments and tours at certain times.
Pop into the shop and plant centre for the perfect gift or plant for your garden and enjoy hot or cold drinks and food made fresh at Stowe Gardens every morning.