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Things to do in Stowe's landscape garden

View of the Corinthian Arch and sheep roaming in the snowy parkland at Stowe
View of the Corinthian Arch and sheep roaming in the snowy parkland at Stowe | ©National Trust Images/John Millar | © ©National Trust Images/John Millar

Come and witness the beautiful cool and crisp winter colours in the 250 acres of 18th-century landscape garden at Stowe this winter. Take in views of the rolling expanses of grass which are framed by artfully placed trees and shrubs and reflected in tranquil stretches of water. See the many temples and monuments and choose your path through the garden. Discover something special all year round as the changing seasons provide different highlights.

Winter at Stowe landscape garden

Blow away the cobwebs on a brisk winter walk as you take a moment to pause and reconnect with nature. Look out for different sights and sounds as you explore the garden undressed for winter.

It won’t be long before you see the gardens bursting with snowdrops or as we fondly like to call them ‘Stowedrops’. Enjoy chilly walks in the New Year to spot the early signs of them peeping through as they develop in the masses throughout the Elysian Fields, Sleeping Wood and Lamport Garden.

We look forward to bright days reflecting rays across the glittering lakes, the chatter of birdsong filling the air and crisp breezes that take your breath away on refreshing walks in the gardens.

Stowe is incredible in the winter, from watching the morning light beam through the Corinthian Arch to the frost blanket that covers the estate. The lakes are at their most reflective this time of year too which enhances the entire landscape. My perfect winter walk would include visiting the Elysian Fields to capture the perfect view of the British Worthies, Ancient Virtue or the Grotto. Then walking back, I would pause at the Octagon Cascade to enjoy the setting sun over the Eleven Acre Lake.

- Barry Smith, Head Gardener & Countryside Manager

View across the river towards the Temple of British Worthies at Stowe
View across the river towards the Temple of British Worthies at Stowe | ©National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole | © ©National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Standing with Giants

Visitors to Stowe between 19 October 2023 and 4 January 2024 will be able to walk amongst the silhouettes of 200 life-size soldiers in the historic landscape gardens. This large-scale art installation will be a moving statement of commemoration, remembrance and honour, offering visitors space to reflect and connect with the natural landscape around Octagon Lake.

Christmas decorations

Marvel at the giant Christmas tree that fills the New Inn courtyard, decked with twinkling lights and lovingly decorated by the team at Stowe. Travel back to Christmas past as we decorate the tap room in a truly Victorian style with festive foliage, rich red berries, traditional decorations, and Christmas tree.

Christmas Shopping Event

Visit the Stowe shop and explore the Christmas range, enjoy a selection of food and drink samples and indulge in mulled wine and mince pies. There will also be a gift wrap station, with decorative foliage from the gardens.

A Winter’s Tail – Seasonal Wildlife Trail at Stowe Gardens

What will you find on this seasonal wildlife trail? Match tails to their owners, spot giant bird sculptures, find clues, solve puzzles and look out for the elusive fox tail. This event runs from 18 November 2023 - 4 January 2024.

Wildlife at Stowe – Photography Exhibition at Stowe

A special exhibition of images featuring Stowe’s fabulous wildlife, by resident photographer, David Humphries. Stunning images of creatures in their natural habitats: hedgerows, wood pasture, watercourses and grassland. David’s stunning images will be on display at New Inn from Boxing Day. Display prints will be sold at the end of the exhibition to raise funds for nature conservation at Stowe. This event runs from 26 December 2023 -18 February 2024.

Discover the varied landscape

Both the scale and beauty of Stowe Gardens have attracted visitors for over 300 years. Picture-perfect views, winding paths, lakeside walks and temples have all been created by human hand. Certain paths at Stowe Gardens entice you to views only revealed at the last moment. Meanwhile, the grass paths add even more horticultural interest, such as seasonal colours and contrasting foliage.

With 250 acres to look after, the gardeners are very busy at Stowe Gardens. If you spot one of them during your visit, please stop and have a chat. They're a friendly bunch and will be glad to answer your questions.

Find your top garden spot

Walk through the Grecian Valley

With lots of benches along the way, the Grecian Valley is great for a circular walk. Look out for a wide range of flowers and seasonal interest in the shrubbery throughout the year.

Discover temples and monuments

You'll find some of the best-loved and most iconic temples and monuments at the eastern side of the garden. Don’t miss the Gothic Temple, the Temple of Friendship and the Palladian Bridge.

Pause at the South Vista

See the classic view of Stowe Gardens from the South Vista. Take in the symmetry of the House, the Lake Pavilions and the majestic Corinthian Arch.

Stowe Church

Stowe Church is tucked away in the heart of the gardens, and you can pop in any time on your walk through the Elysian Fields. Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown was married here and four of his children christened here too. Sit on the bench outdoors and enjoy this mini haven in the vast landscape.

A family walk with their dog beside the water at Stowe, Buckinghamshire
Wander beside the water at Stowe | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Discover hidden meanings in the garden

Stowe was never just a garden. Its creator, Lord Cobham, set the garden out to reveal his beliefs about the politics and morality of the day. Which path will you choose – Vice, Virtue or Liberty?

A visitor walks in front of the Rotondo, which is set against a bright blue sky, at Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire.
The Rotondo at Stowe Stowe Landscape Gardens | © National Trust Images / John Millar

The Path of Vice

Greek mythology was well-known in the 18th century. The Paths of Vice and Virtue represent the Greek god Hercules’ struggle between these two choices. The Path of Vice runs through the Garden of Love (designed by then head gardener, appropriately called Mr Love). The temples in this area allude to stories of seductive women, sordid goings-on and partying to excess. Not for the faint-hearted.

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Wildlife welfare

If you notice any wildlife in distress or have any concerns about the welfare of any widlife on site during your visit, please phone our Duty Manager on 07990 771841 or email us at so we can ensure to respond to the situation as quickly as possible. We rely on members of the public as well as our own teams to make us aware of any wildlife welfare concerns across the 1,200-acre estate. Thank you.

A little girl is sitting on her father's shoulders with the house at Stowe, Buckinghamshire, in soft focus in the background.

Discover more at Stowe

Find out when Stowe is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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Visiting Stowe Gardens with your dog 

Stowe Gardens is a three pawprint rated place. Dogs are welcome on leads across the garden and parkland. Find out more about what to be aware of when walking your dog and the facilities available.

Looking across a still body of water towards the Temple of British Worthies and the Shell Bridge at at Stowe, Buckinghamshire.

History of Stowe 

Unravel layers of history with a broad look at Stowe throughout the centuries, as well as the people who made it into the grand Georgian estate you can see today.

The Gothic Umbrello and the Wolfe Obelisk at a distance with parkland in the foreground at Stowe, Buckinghamshire.

Exploring the parkland at Stowe 

There’s more to Stowe than the famous Georgian landscape garden. Discover more views and monuments in the 1,000 acres of parkland surrounding Stowe's garden.

View towards the Gothic Temple and Palladian Bridge with snow on the ground in December at Stowe, Buckinghamshire

Christmas at Stowe 

Join us at Stowe this Christmas to make memories as you reconnect with family and friends at festive events and activities.

The south front of Stowe House, seen from a distance with its extensive manicured lawns in front at Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire.

Visiting Stowe House 

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.

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Gardens and parks 

From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.

A gardener tending to the borders at Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Gardening tips 

Discover our gardeners’ top tips so you can make the most of your garden, plot or window box.

Snow on the ground and plants peeking through the snow in the walled garden at Hughenden

Gardens in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire 

Gardens from the grand scale of Stowe's landscape garden to formal parterres at Hughenden and Cliveden and the intimate walled garden 'rooms' at Greys Court.