Monday, 5 June 2017

Beautiful Bowood House and Gardens - Review

Bowood House
Bowood is somewhere that I remember going as a child and I have wanted to visit again ever since. I remember it being very beautiful and having lovely gardens, as well as a stunning lake. There is also an imposing stately home too, which I knew Phil would love, as he is a massive history buff. It's situated in Calne, in Wiltshire and is famous for its rhodedendrons, which are available to view at an additional cost. There is also a private walled garden that you can pay extra to visit. So, we set off in the middle of half term through the country lanes of Wiltshire to Bowood House and Gardens. This is our review of what we found there and if it lived up to my wonderful memories!

Thanks to Visit Wiltshire for arranging for a contribution to the cost of our visit in return for this review. You can find a wealth of information on what to do in Wiltshire over on their website. This is going to be a very photo-heavy post, but I hope you will forgive me, as there are so many beautiful sights to see. I can't take photos of the inside of the house, as is common with stately homes, but I can tell you that it is choc-full of sparkly things and some of the most facinating artefacts. It's a real wander through history. The Napoleonic Collection features artefacts from Napoleon himself, including his death mask. These came into the family via the father of the fourth Marchioness, who was Napoleon's aide-de-camp. For some seriously impressive bling, you can also see the stunning Keith Jewels, which contain all kinds of jewel-encrusted pieces and originally belonged to the grandfather to the fourth Marchioness, Admiral Lord Keith. 

Bowood House Side Aspect

There is a lot to see for anyone with a love of stonework and buildings. I am a big fan of architecture myself and found a lot to admire in the building itself and the gardens. 

Bowood House Terrace

The main house has a very interesting history. Originally built in 1725, it was eventually acquired by the First Earl of Shelbourne in 1754, following financial problems for the original owner, and then extended. In the 1770s the big house and the little house were joined together by an enormous drawing room. The big house was utilised by the Royal Air Force during WWII and subsequently demolished, in 1955. The main house is still a very significant size and contains many rooms open to the public, as well as the living quarters of the current Marquis and Marchioness, which are expanded during the winter months, when the house is closed to the public. Probably the most historically significant room is the laboratory where Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen. Bowood was designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark in recognition of this discovery. 

Bowood House and Gardens

The gardens are really impressive and consist of a series of terraced gardens and formal topiary, with sweeping lawns leading down to the lake. As mentioned before, there are other gardens available at additional cost, but we didn't visit these.

Bowood Terraced Garden


The one aspect I am going to really struggle to convey about our visit, was the wonderful fragrances from the flowers. In particular, this wall of roses completely enveloped you in scent everytime you walked past. I only wish I could offer you a scratch and sniff! 

Bowood Wall of Roses

Here you can see the affect of the formal landscaping. These archways created little doorways into the terraced area and it felt almost like walking through into another room. 

Bowood Topiary Archway

The lake was really imposing to look at and the fabulous vista it created was further enhanced by the little building on the far side of the lake, the Doric Temple Folly. 

Bowood Lake

If you can manage to walk to the lake and then around it, there are other natural landscapes to see, including caves and more trees. It is a very long way and if there was one thing I would improve, it would be to introduce some sort of transport for older people, those with young children and those with disabilities. There were a lot of small tractors buzzing about and I'm sure one of those could have towed some sort of people-conveyance to make the area more accessible. When you get there, you will find what is possibly one of my all-time favourite British countryside walks. The Glade. 

Bowood Cascade

Isn't it stunning? It's well worth making the effort to get to if you can and there is a way to walk to it, whilst avoiding all the rocky steps down if that is likely to present a problem. Ask a member of staff before you set off, as I'm sure they will explain it better than me. So this concludes our tour of Bowood, I hope you've enjoyed it. A day ticket for one adult at Bowood costs £12.50 and Concessions are £10.50. In conclusion, I think on a beautiful sunny day like we had, this offers pretty good value for money. I do feel there would be a lot less to see if the weather was inclement and this is something I would definitely bear in mind if we visited again. Check the weather forecast, to get the most of your visit, or be British and take your wet weather gear! 



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1 comment

  1. Oh wow! What a beautiful building and gardens...I love places like this but all the one's near us are a nightmare to get to by bus.
    It sounds like a fab day out. So much to see x

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