Stowe is home to an astonishing 250 acres of gardens and 750 acres of parkland. That’s what you call gardening on the grandest scale. The mansion is now home to Stowe School which, thanks to the Stowe House Preservation Trust, is still open to the public. The last family to reside in the house had extravagant tastes and was very poor with money management. After inheriting the estate in 1839, the second duke of Buckingham and Chandos was keen to undertake repairs on the house and gardens but ran up a debt of over £1 million with creditors.On an official royal visit to the estate by Queen Victoria in 1845, in an effort to impress the Royal Family, the duke borrowed more money to buy expensive new furniture for the house and areas of the gardens. By the end of the decade, everything broke down. Bailiffs seized the estate and a large auction took place. Somehow the family managed to hang on, but by the early 1920s, there were no male heirs and the estate, along with much of its contents, was sold off. The estate changed hands twice in two years before Stowe School was founded in 1923. The school gifted the gardens to the National Trust in 1989.Whether you’re more of an ambler than a hiker type of person, there’s a walk that will suit you at Stowe. The Visitor Centre offers a not-to-scale walking map, with approximate distances between monuments in the garden marked in metres. We were there all day and probably covered two thirds of the grounds, which means that we still have some of the 28 temples (yep, Stowe has an incredible 28 temples within its grounds – no wonder there were monetary difficulties) to discover another time.
Published by Ruth
Life in West London; married to The Brainy One; mum to The Boy Child. This is where I share most aspects of my everyday life. I hope you'll stay awhile. View all posts by Ruth