Situated just north of London, in Buckinghamshire, lies the beautiful Stowe Gardens.

As National Trust members (yes…it’s worth the anual fee), we took it upon ourselves to visit many of the National Trust sites, while in England.  And Stowe Gardens was our first visited.

IMG_0026

This 18th-century garden has 250 acres of lawns and lakes.  40 temples and monuments.  Classical ruins.  And, of course, wildlife.  (And I am not just talking about the colourful characters who created this magnificent garden!)   This is all very interesting, and very picturesque to the adult visitors.  But the more curious at heart were solely interested in . . . exploring!

IMG_4317

IMG_4404

IMG_4187-001

And, what a place to explore!  If we could have spend the entire summer in the Stowe Gardens, alone, I don’t think the children would have been fully satisfied.

Bry told E, L, and J that he would give them each a pound coin if they could hug a sheep.

(In our 2 1/2 years in England, though they tried all kinds of sheep in all parts of the UK, the children were only ever able to catch and hug the tamed sheep at a children’s farm, near the end of our secondment.  And Dad paid up!)

STOWE GARDENS TOP TEN LIST:

Explore!  The National Trust offers an Explorer’s Map, for little adventurers.

Approach the resident animals – swans, frogs, and, of course, sheep.  Seriously.  A highlight.  Even if the children don’t earn their pound that day!

Take pictures at this bridge.  Then dream about the day you will build a garden of your own, grand enough to boast of such a bridge.

IMG_4387

Learn about the HISTORY – I cannot help myself! The Temple family owned the gardens for 350 years.  And, at one time, that family was richer than the King of England, himself!  Peter Temple started off as a sheep farmer, signing the first lease for Stowe in 1571.  They cultivated, extended, and spent a fortune on the gardens.  And, for hundreds of years, hosted even royalty on their grounds.  Before 1850, though, the family went bankrupt.  And the gardens were only rescued in 1922, when the Stowe House was turned into a school.

Tour Stowe House, now Stowe School.  We did not do so as it was not open for tours the days of our visits.  See Stowe House for opening times and events.

Fly kites in the fields (watch out for sheep poop).  Did you know that, in England, the public are allowed, and sometimes even encouraged, to walk through all public and private fields.  But, don’t you dare leave the gate opened!

Picnic, or, if you prefer to not carry lunch for the family, you can opt for the Nevillery Cafe and Shop at the New Inn, near the garden entrance.

(“Top Ten List”, in this case, is really more of a title than a description.  I do appologize.  I assure you, it is not due to the lack of adventures to be had at the locale.)

Rain or shine, we’ve experienced the Gardens in both, and recommend a visit to Stowe, any kind of day!

IMG_4361