Bowood House and Gardens, Wiltshire

Bowood House and Gardens, Wiltshire

Set within 100 acres of landscaped Capability Brown parkland, the Georgian Bowood House and Gardens is an ideal destination for all the family. From adventures in woodland gardens to fascinating house tours to pirate playtime in the grounds, there’s something for all ages and all weathers.


Home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, the historic Bowood House has been the seat of the Lansdowne family since the 1700s. First built around 1725, it was bought by the 1st Earl of Sherbourne in 1754 and has been the home of his descendants ever since. In a constant state of evolution over the centuries, the Grade I listed building was originally decorated by the famous neoclassical architect Robert Adam and has undergone several transformations over the centuries. It even acted as auxiliary Red Cross hospital in WW1. 

These days, as well as being a much-loved family home, Bowood House is an intriguing visitor’s attraction that welcomes guests of all ages to discover its rich and fascinating history. Particularly popular for rainy days, the house’s state rooms showcase a diverse array of unique art pieces and antiques that reveal secrets of its past. Just some of the rooms you can visit include the Library, the room where oxygen was first discovered by Joseph Priestley, the Sculpture Gallery, the Orangey and a range of exhibition rooms covering 300 years of history. 

Another time, when the sun is beaming, the estate’s expansive gardens make for a superb family-friendly attraction. Widely regarded as one of the best-preserved examples of Capability Brown parkland in the UK, you can expect to find miles of pathways, a large waterfall and lots of beautiful spots to rest and admire the views. The grounds even boast a beautiful lake which was once a valley home to a little village. To this day, the ruins of two cottages still remain at the bottom of the lake. 

For natural inspiration, visit the house’s award-winning walled garden, the Italian-inspired terrace gardens and the herbaceous east border. Or, for quiet strolls, head to the arboretum with its 700 species of trees and the magical 30-acre woodland gardens. If you have little ones with you, then the thrilling Adventure Playground will be next on the list, featuring a life-size pirate ship, treetop walks, swings, slides and much, much more. For more fun, there’s even a soft play area and children’s den focused on exciting play for the under 7’s. 

If you find that all the exploring has worked up your appetite, then you are welcome to make use of the grounds to tuck into a well-deserved picnic spread. Or, if you’d rather see what else is on offer, you can head over to the onsite Treehouse Café which serves a range of hot and cold sandwiches, wraps pasties, pies and more. Depending on the season, you may also be able to grab a seat at the House’s Stables Restaurant, which serves delicious cake and refreshments during the day. 

Bowood House, Old Rd, Derry Hill, Calne SN11 0LZ | 01249 812 102 | www.bowood.org 

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Wiltshire here.


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