A National Trust Property
The gardens at Stowe, just outside of Buckingham, offer some of the finest examples of landscape gardening in the eighteenth century. Celebrated by the poets William Congreve, Alexander Pope, James Thomson, and Gilbert West, adorned with temples designed by James Gibbs, William Kent, and Sir John Vanbrugh, and designed in its evolving forms by Charles Bridgeman and Lancelot "Capability" Brown, the gardens provide a fascinating combination of appeals to the head and the heart, the eye and the intellect, of the visitor.
Those with the means to travel to or within Britain and experience the gardens first-hand may begin by visiting the official Web site of the National Trust to learn about admission times and prices and to get directions. Those without the means to visit are the inspiration for this unofficial Web site, which offers an interactive virtual tour replete with maps, photographs, and background information.
This site takes much of its substance and some of its organization from the The Stowe Garden Survey, commissioned by the National Trust in 1990 and published by Land Use Consultants in 1992. Survey material is supplemented by information from other sources on the list I have provided on a separate page (please follow the link to the left), and by insights of my own gained from my ongoing study of landscape gardening and my experiences as a National Trust volunteer at Stowe during the summer of 1993 and the fall of 2005. It is my hope that my students and I will continue to add to the present material in the coming semesters, for just as with a real garden, the tending of a virtual garden is a never-ending labor of love.
For a tour of the garden that provides the most background material and history, please choose the first link on the left -- actually a series of tours of the ten character areas designated by the Survey and an eleventh for the park.
For a tour that provides information on and photographs of particular buildings and monuments without regard to the character area in which each is located, please choose the second link on the left.
For a virtual tour of the garden that allows you to move around on a map in one frame while seeing photographs of your virtual location in another, please choose the third link on the left.
For a series of virtual reality panoramas that allow you to "stand" in a particular spot and "look around" by using your mouse to control the direction of view, please choose the fourth link on the left. This garden tour was made possible by a technology grant from the Associated Colleges of the South, and a fellowship awarded by the British Studies at Oxford Program.
My own personal Web site, located on the server for Birmingham-Southern College where I am a professor of English, may be reached by following this link.
This Web site is not affiliated with the National Trust.
This Web site first went online 7 November 1996.
One or more parts of it were last modified on 17 August 2011.