Photos of Stowe Gardens
Stowe Gardens, in Buckinghamshire, must be one of the most impressive gardens in England, covering a huge area - over 400 acres - with plenty of what can only be described as 'follies'. Owned by the National Trust the gardens are easily reached and seen, even for wheelchair users for much of it. You can even hire a 2 seater powered wheelchair - like a golf -buggy - if you pre-book and there are Braille and tape guides, too.
There is plenty of room for a picnic and a fine tea shop. The gardens are a monument to having too much money but the world would be a worse place without these wonderful and publicly accessible gardens.
From the National Trust's Site:
"Stowe was owned, enhanced and expanded under the auspices of one family for almost 350 years. Today it reflects the work of two members in particular, Lord Cobham and his nephew, Earl Temple, when the aristocratic dynasty was at the height of its power, wealth and influence.
Peter Temple, a sheep farmer from Burton Dasset in Warwickshire, took the first lease on Stowe in 1571. The Temple family claimed that Lady Godiva and her husband, Leofric, Earl of Mercia, were ancestors. However, their origins may well have been more humble, as yeoman sheep farmers near Witney, Oxfordshire. It is likely that Stowe's ambitious owner was as attracted by nearby Buckingham's status as a 'rotten borough', with only thirteen voters electing two MPs, as its suitability for sheep.
John, Peter's son, inherited Stowe in 1578. The estate continued to thrive and he purchased the manor outright eleven years later."