Mummy Diaries | Spring afternoon around Stowe Gardens

View of Stowe House over the lake

I've only ever been to Stowe once before (even though it's only about 25 minutes away) and Mum had never been, so we decided to make a Sunday of it. We took a packed lunch and planned to arrive late morning, so that I could get back in time to cook a roast dinner… in reality, I think we arrived just before midday!

I've had a look back and our last visit was Good Friday 2021 – and I have to say it was so different this time around. Maybe, we did a different route, but I don't remember any of it and when I look back at the photos there weren't many similarities. Perhaps it could have been because we did the Easter Trail last time.

I'm glad we wore boots as it was muddy in places, and Alfie enjoyed walking through (and jumping in!) all the puddles. We visited the Parlour Rooms and Second-hand Book Shop first. The bookshop is housed in The Old Dairy and is crammed full of books for all ages and preferences. Mum took a look at the classic Ladybird books, while Alfie chose a couple of mini Where's Wally books (in the bargain basket – and two for 50p).

Statues of the Roman wrestlers in Stowe Gardens

We then went for a wander. We didn't really follow a route as such, although we had a map of the gardens. There are so many different walks to embark on, ranging from less than a kilometre all the way up to 6km for the extended Royal Route. It's also worth noting that from the car park to the main entrance is 800m – quite a walk – even though it's a straight path. I think throughout the day we walked around 7km and still didn't manage to see everything – Stowe is huge! There are 245 acres of gardens to explore, as well as an additional 700 acres of surrounding parkland.

We walked around one of the lakes, passing several points of interest, including the Temple of Venus, and en route to lunch, we also the Statue of Queen Caroline and the Roman Wrestlers… we actually found a bench (which was dry!) overlooking those. We dug into sandwiches, crisps, and sweet treats from The Delicious Dessert Company.

After we’d eaten, we carried on following the path. We saw the Rotunda (perhaps the only thing I recognised from my previous visit) and the Temple of Ancient Virtue. Crossing Shell Bridge, we were led to the Grotto. It was quite damp crossing the bridge and going through the cave-like structures.

Gothic Temple at Stowe Gardens

Alfie wanted to visit the Chinese House, but sadly it was still covered up for the winter – and although the plastic cover depicted what it would look like, we will have to go back to see it in its all its glory another time. The Gothic Temple was also stunning and I wondered why there were a couple of cars parked outside the front… turns out you could stay there! I‘m sure the views when you wake up are beautiful.

Stowe is so lovely, and the gardens offer something different at every turn. The views are pretty incredible too, especially when you see the arch (that you drive through to arrive) from a distance. We didn't visit Stowe House on this occasion, but it's also not owned by the National Trust and must be booked separately (although National Trust members do get a preferential rate). Maybe next time we’ll visit that too.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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