Stowe Landscape GardensView map
A glimpse of Georgian England
magine being richer than the king – the cheek of it. Well back in the 16th-century it didn’t seem to trouble the Temple family, who built this incredible house that has since become a school.
Having made their money from sheep farming (yes, really), the Temples then set about building a fitting tribute to their obscene wealth – filling the gardens, with, er, temples (stone ones).
We’re rather glad they did, because the immense landscape gardens are now open to the public and are free to get in – making a great place for a picnic. There are lakes and woodland walks to explore, as well as a teashop, and you can get tours of the house itself during school holidays.
But it’s the temples – all 40-odd of them – that we love, hidden throughout the grounds. Each has its own secret meaning, so, picnic in-hand, wander off towards the Eastern Garden, where you’ll find the heart-warmingly-titled Temple of Friendship.
It was built for relaxing with friends (originally an all-male ‘drinking and talking space’ for Lord Cobham and his chums), but damaged by fire in 1840.
However, if you take a pew sit still for long enough, you might hear the thoughts of the 18th century intellectual elite swirling through the air…