Wiltshire, best known for its white horses, prehistoric monuments and, of course, its famous ham. If you’re not local to the area, you may recognise the county solely as the home of Stonehenge. While these landmarks are impressive and well worth a visit, there are plenty of hidden garden gems in Wilshire that you should add to your South West itinerary.
No matter the season, there will always be a garden in Wiltshire to welcome you with vibrant colours, seasonal plants, flowers and vegetation, stunning walks and plenty of space to enjoy a breath of fresh air.
Whether you’re seasonally green-fingered or just like to appreciate nature, below are five of the best gardens in Wiltshire to suit all group sizes, interests and budgets. The range in seasonal plants, variety of sizes and availability to all budgets makes this list the of the best Gardens in Wiltshire.
When it comes to the best gardens in Wiltshire, it doesn’t get much more impressive than Bowood’s exquisite gardens and surrounding country estate. Bowood’s gardens span over 100 acres of beautifully landscaped ‘Capability’ Brown Parkland and has been home to the Lansdown family since 1754.
Explore Bowood’s terrace garden, private walled garden and the woodland garden, which all capture the best of each season. During Spring, tulips of multi-colours decorate Bowood’s Italian-inspired terrace gardens, with fragrant roses lining the upper terrace come Summer.
For a breath-taking Spring spectacle, visit Bowood’s woodland garden during the flowering season. These gardens are only open for six weeks and cover over 30 acres with an oasis of bluebells, azaleas, magnolias and rhododendrons—an unmissable sight for any floral fanatic.
Behind the Private Walled Gardens, Bowood’s arboretum is home to a collection of over 700 species of trees, including 23 Champion trees, the tallest and largest of their kind in Britain. Although it’s a marvel all year-round, this arboretum truly comes into its own during Autumn when the leaves transform into rich shades of gold, orange and brown.
Little legs will enjoy Bowood’s adventure playground and life-size pirate boat. Keep an eye out for seasonal events around the grounds, such as Bowood’s Easter Eggs-travaganza.
Much like Bowood, Stourhead is one of the best gardens in Wiltshire and provides an array of seasonal colour all year-round. There are numerous walks around Stourhead’s gardens, meaning each visit can differ from your last. Start at the Manor house and wind down the woodland hill towards the magnificent lake and well-maintained gardens. Dogs on short leads are welcome in the gardens and around the wider estate all year-round.
The gardens and woodlands offer the best of each season, with stunning flowers in Spring and fiery leaves in Autumn. The wildlife at Stourhead also reflects the season, and you’ll catch glimpses of swans, dragonflies, butterflies, birds and more, depending on the time of year you visit.
If the prospect of wonderful wildlife and stunning scenery can’t tempt you, then maybe Stourhead’s fun features can! Not only will your walks be accompanied by flowers and rare birds, you’ll also encounter grottos, tunnels, waterfalls, out-houses and trails that turn any ordinary walk into something more magical.
Stourhead is owned by the National Trust, so there are parking and entry charges for non-members. The grounds and gardens are expansive, and there’s a café on-site, so be assured there is plenty to explore for a full day’s outing.
Searching for the perfect place for a picnic? Look no further than Salisbury’s Queen Elizabeth Gardens. Set in the heart of Salisbury, this Wiltshire garden opened in the 1960s to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and is still a much loved and well-maintained public space in the city. With views of the famous Cathedral and a stream running through the centre, it truly is an idyllic spot for a picnic lunch with friends or a family walk.
It’s a lovely location for little ones too, with free entry, toilets, and a newly refurbished play area. In the summer months, why not roll up your trousers and take a quick paddle in the stream? If you’re not a fan of getting wet, take to one of the garden benches with a good book and soak in the sun.
The Queen Elizabeth Gardens host a variety of events and concerts throughout the year, which are all free to attend. The popular Music in the Park concert takes place during the Summer and everyone is encouraged to enjoy an afternoon of live music with a picnic.
There is a pay and display car park nearby in Lush House car park, and easy access to the Town Path.
Corsham Court is a house dowsed in rich history dating back to 978 when it was used as a summer palace for the Kings of Wessex. Throughout the years, Lords, Ladies and Royalty have owned and stayed at Corsham, and it is now owned by James Methuen-Campbell, the eighth generation of the Methuens to live there.
The house and grounds are open to the public, with many people visiting to view Corsham’s significant art collection. The formal gardens extend for approximately 17 acres, surrounded by long herbaceous borders featuring high walls with climbers. The Wiltshire gardens have a distinct Nineteenth Century feel, which will captivate both history and nature enthusiasts.
During Spring, there are a number of mature magnolias which provide a spectacle along with Corsham’s other Spring blossoms.
There is a fee of £10 per adult and £5 per child to enter the house and gardens. However, the entry fee is halved for those who just want to visit the grounds.
Another one of Salisbury’s open spaces is Churchill Gardens. This public park is ideal for families with kids of all ages. While it might not have floral delights on the same level as Stourhead or Bowood, it does have wide-open green spaces for running wild, ball games, picnics and, in the summer, sunbathing.
Little ones will love the choice of two play areas, while teenagers and big kids will find plenty to do at the large skatepark and street sports area, built for basketball, football, rollerblading and street hockey. For any age, the green park provides the perfect space for impromptu sports or just taking in the scenery, and the outdoor gym is also the ideal spot to work up a sweat.
With a crisscross of pathways throughout the park, there are plenty of walking opportunities for you and your four-legged companion. The paths are equally as good for running or cycling.
Churchill Gardens are open throughout the year and are free for all to enjoy.
Wilshire is a country blooming with green gardens and historical estates for all to enjoy. Run wild with a game of football in one of Salisbury’s public parks, spot exotic Spring flowers in manor house gardens or bask in the fiery leaves of Autumn trees. Whatever takes your fancy, no matter the season, Wiltshire will have a perfectly glorious garden for you.
Now we are past the turning point of the new year it’s acceptable to dream about Spring. Almost imperceptibly the days are getting longer, and the first bulbs are starting to poke through. It’s a sight that never fails to warm the heart.
The weather might still be too cold to spend hours outdoors, but now is the time to start planning in earnest for the garden year ahead. Think about the structure of your space and what changes you would like to make in Spring.
What were the successes and failures of last summer? Many of us spent a great deal longer on our gardens last year due to the pandemic, so maybe you just fancy changing things up. It’s also worth considering how you want your garden to look a year from now
Whilst Bowood is a more classically inspired garden you could do worse than take a leaf out of ‘Piet Oudolf’s Field’ in nearby Somerset. He is the champion of growing perennials that also look good in winter. Bare stems and branches can still be beautiful if carefully chosen, for example.
While you are planning, put in your orders for seeds and young bedding plants, the cut off is often the end of February. Check vulnerable plants protection against late frosts and make sure your staking hasn’t been damaged by the high winds we have had.
Tie up loose growth and make sure the older cord isn’t rubbing. If you grow early vegetables, we’d recommend you put cloches in places now to start warming up the ground.
Seasonal produce is at the heart of our menus so we always try to plan with this in mind. In our kitchen garden we’ll be sowing carrots, peas and beans as well as my favourite: beets.
Make sure you finish your winter pruning before any Spring growth gets seriously underway and most important of all don’t forget to feed the robin.
While you are outside enjoying that crisp winter air, make sure you keep an eye out for other wildlife. Roe deer are often spotted from the gardens and even the guest bedrooms.
Across the sparse winter fields hares are always a magical sight, especially if they are boxing. One of my favourite UK mammals.
Look out too for the dynamic flight of the kestrel, they are normally spotted hovering over open country, body stock still but wings going like the clappers. They have a beautiful buff underside streaked with black.
If you are really lucky you might see even spot one of the county’s strangest birds: the woodcock. They love the damp woodlands around here but the RSPB have reported them in back gardens recently, possibly attracted by house lights. Large and short legged with a long beak they migrate from Finland and Russia to enjoy our warmer winters.
As nights draw in and the breathtaking autumnal colours begin to show, Wiltshire becomes a magical place. Wiltshire is a no-stress destination that nourishes the senses, opens up new experiences and really helps you unwind. With its blend of ancient landscapes, bewitching gardens and great things to do – it is the perfect choice for an autumn staycation.
To make the most out of it here are our top 6 things to do this autumn!
On the same estate as Bowood House & Gardens, the boutique-style Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort provides the perfect reason to escape to Wiltshire this autumn. One of the county’s finest luxury hotels it specialises in unforgettable breaks. The Spa at Bowood offers a wide range of reviving treatments and relaxing massages. The two AA Rosette Shelburne Restaurant showcases superb locally-sourced, seasonal food in an elegant surrounding. Afternoon Tea is a firm favourite at Bowood with delicious treats carefully crafted by the Hotel’s own pastry chef. For the keen golfer, there’s the superb PGA golf course designed by renowned golf course architect Dave Thomas. The supremely comfortable bedrooms boast spacious bathrooms, beautiful décor and views of the grounds or woodland. After a day of exploring, get cosy in the Hotel Library by an open log fire and soak in the stunning autumnal surroundings.
Those crisper autumn days are a delightful time to visit Bowood House & Gardens. The home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, the estate has 100 acres of beautifully landscaped ‘Capability’ Brown parkland, complete with a mile-long lake. The estate is famous for its Italian-inspired Terrace Garden, beautiful herbaceous border and blazes of autumn colour amid the trees. During October Half Term, families can experience the popular ‘Autumn Trail’ that winds through the arboretum. The House & Gardens are open daily until 1st November. You can book day tickets here. Entry is complimentary for guests staying at Bowood Hotel.
Ditching the car and travelling at a slower pace can really feel like an escape. The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust runs some excellent autumn trips on the Barbara McLellan boat. This 65 foot beauty has comfortable seating, toilets and a well-stocked bar and is based at the wharf in Bradford on Avon. Mid-October sees her heading out on a four hour Autumn Colour Cruise across Avoncliff Aqueduct and on to Dundas Aqueduct at the peak of seasonal foliage displays. Expect the trees to be a riot of red and gold.
Image credit: visitwiltshire.co.uk
The massive ceremonial monoliths at Stonehenge remind us that some places have long drawn visitors at key points in the seasons. At the vast Wiltshire stone circle the autumn equinox was probably one such time. And while a visit to Stonehenge is always enjoyable, autumn – with its mists and moody skies – is an ideal time to explore slightly further afield. The National Trust has devised four walking trails in the Stonehenge Landscape. Ranging over chalk downland and covering 2 to 5 miles, they explore the wider, ceremonial landscape. They reveal some surprising archaeological features and put Britain’s finest archaeological site in its broader, highly impressive context.
When the nights start falling earlier, the Wiltshire village of Lacock really comes into its own. The unspoilt huddle of houses is a jumble of undulating roofs and traditional stone buildings – no wonder it’s appeared in films and TV shows ranging from Harry Potter to Wolf Hall. The village is set out on a compact grid of four streets and has been looked after by the National Trust since the 1940s. A few locals’ cars aside, it looks much as it did 200 years ago. Take a tour of the impressive Lacock Abbey and Cloisters, then on a fast-darkening autumn afternoon, wander the atmospheric streets before visiting the age-old George Inn for a drink beside the open fire.
Image credit greatwestway.co.uk
If you enjoy woodland walks and nature-spotting, then we highly recommend a visit to the Longleat Estate in Wiltshire. Probably most known for its popular Safari Park, you will discover attractive forest walks, open woodland, as well as Shearwater Lake – a haven for fishing and sailing. Take in the beautiful views of the Wiltshire Countryside and admire the autumnal scenery in all its golden glory.
We recommend following the footpath through Nockatt Coppice car park, which will lead you to the aptly named ‘Heaven’s Gate’. There are plenty of benches and wide lawns where you could stop for a picnic.
Long, lazy lunches on soft grass…summer evenings basking in the sun. Picnic season is here, making every weekend feel like a holiday.
When it comes to places to picnic in Wiltshire we’re spoiled for choice. If you were here forever and a day, you could uncover all the county’s secret and scenic spots. But here are our absolute favourites. 7 heavenly picnic spots, to save you the trouble of searching.
When you stay with us, our garden is your garden. With 2,000 acres of private Wiltshire countryside, you won’t have to travel far for a picnic spot.
A short stroll from our hotel, you’ll discover Bowood House & Gardens (open April – October). The mile-long serpentine lake, designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, is a cooling chink of blue among the green. On a hot day, the lakeside is refreshing. Swans glide peacefully along as a light breeze stirs the surface of the water, ripples reflecting the trees.
If you’re looking for an adventure, stretch your legs on the Calne-Bowood estate circular walk. The loop takes you along a beautiful route through our grounds, conveniently passing the Landsdowne Arms should you desire a local ale or cider.
Wiltshire is primarily a rural county, with the green fields, downs and winding rivers of middle England. But its sleepy air belies a full history, that is perfectly preserved in its landmarks. Take the iconic white chalk horses as an example.
From Bowood House you can enjoy a scenic walk to Cherhill White Horse. The Cherhill house has guarded the hill since 1780, commanding a soaring view of the local area. Hike up the hill to see the Bowood estate from a unique angle and work up an appetite. On the top of the hill, you’ll also discover the Lansdowne Monument; built by the 3rd Marquis of Lansdowne (when it was at the edge of the Bowood estate) to commemorate one of his ancestors, Sir William Petty.
Once you’ve eaten and drunk your fill, it’s just a leisurely stroll back down.
When you visit Lacock Abbey Gardens you are a witness to almost 900 years of beauty. Every custodian of the land has made their mark upon the landscape. Today, the National Trust gardens are a piece of living history, from the medieval medicinal herb gardens to the pleasure grounds of the 18th century.
It’s a stunning place to picnic whether you are a history buff or a nature lover.
In less than twenty minutes you can reach the picture-perfect villages of the Cotswolds AONB. Castle Combe, Corsham, and Lacock are just a few. This is the English countryside at its prettiest. Drive or wander down narrow lanes, stumble upon cobbled streets of wisteria-clad cottages and pick up homemade scones and jam from honesty boxes.
Under a half an hour’s drive will take you to the beautiful former ancient forest of West Woods. In late spring the forest floor is carpeted in a gloriously scented cloud of bluebells.
It’s a wonderfully sheltered oasis, whether you’re after a gentle walk or a place to set down your picnic rug (or both). On warmer days, the dappled shade offers some pleasing respite from the full sun. The woods support a wide variety of wildlife so your picnic will be accompanied by the soft chitter and burr of birdsong.
You’re right, Bath isn’t in Wiltshire, but at a mere 40 minutes from our door it would be a crime to omit it.
You might expect to leave, not enter, most cities when off on a picnic. But Bath isn’t most cities. It’s a World Heritage Site in itself, with Roman Baths that have been in action since c. 60 ad. Centuries later, the city remained the beating heart of England, the most fashionable and elegant of the Regency ‘tons.
Promenade along the Royal Crescent or keep an eye out for Lady Whistledown outside The Holburne Museum. Much of Bridgerton was filmed in and around the city – nowhere does Regency England quite like it.
Victoria Park is one of our favourite places to picnic and people watch. The green stretches from the Royal Crescent to the Botanic Garden. But the most impressive view is to be found at Alexandra Park, and on summer evenings it is not uncommon to see hot air balloon displays from this vantage point.
If you succumbed to Bridgerton fever in January – and you would not be alone – could we tempt you to call on The Duke of Hastings’ home? Wilton House featured as Simon Basset’s home in Bridgerton, with the grounds becoming Hyde Park and various other garden scenes.
Set in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside near Salisbury, Wilton House has been home to the Earls of Pembroke since the 1540s. With an impressive 14,000 acres of grounds, it is little wonder film crews love this real-life estate. You may recognise it from Emma (2019) and The Crown (2015-2020), too.
Looking for a spring or summer staycation to Wiltshire? Our glorious two-night Summer Staycation break includes a delicious Pantry Picnic which you can collect to take out to your chosen picnicking spot. You’ll also enjoy use of the relaxing spa, Two AA Rosette dining in the Shelburne Restaurant and complimentary access to Bowood House & Gardens. Click here to view the offer.
Few moments in life are so magical as a beautifully planned wedding, unfolding with finesse. For those who have only been guests, it’s a spectacle of design, ambience, timings, and sound that appear to effortlessly blend. They get to enjoy themselves and burn the midnight oil, without having lifted a finger.
The planning of a dream wedding is an intense, exciting, and sometimes stressful process—with much to think about. Most people have little experience of arranging events, and their wedding serves as a crash course. From table décor, to food, and everything in between. Each wedding feature has a tide of options. Picking a venue is just the start.
Here at Bowood, we fully understand the planning process and how unknown it feels to begin with. Therefore, we’d like to introduce you to our experienced and talented wedding coordinator, Ella Lee, and answer some of our frequently asked wedding questions. Our pastoral country estate in the heart of rural Wiltshire is a gorgeous location to host your wedding and with Ella’s help, planning will far more relaxed for you.
Some of us are lucky enough to have a calling. For our wedding coordinator Ella, this is weddings. For almost a decade she has been translating the imagination of happy couples into reality and has been the organisational rock of many a dream wedding. Her warmth, empathy, and genuineness are a positive and calming influence on couples planning their big day. It’s a busy, fast paced position, and hats off to Ella—she does a fantastic job.
Ella is a country girl, who grew up only a stone’s throw from Bowood. Our estate played a big part in her childhood—and it was her dream to join the Bowood wedding team one day. It’s touching to be a part of someone’s lifelong aspirations, and it seems like fate she should be here with us now. When Ella’s not hard at work on weddings she can be found walking (or being walked by) her two cherished dogs. She’s also a film fan, with diverse interests, ranging from Disney classics to spooky flicks. Which we’re told, go well with bourbons and ice cold Dr. Pepper. Sounds good to us.
Let’s find out more about Ella and weddings at Bowood.
I studied media and photography at college, where we were assigned a project to create our own event, ticket it, and run the day. This gave me a little insight into the hospitality and events industry, and I could see myself making a career out of it.
Talking with a couple and helping visualise ideas is always great. Decorations are fun too—and I love the ‘drop off’ meeting when I finally get to see all the planning come to life.
Personalise, personalise, and personalise—and involve your guests as much as possible. Perhaps with a big photo collage, having their favourite sweets as favours, or you could include all your memories together as table names. A real ‘wow factor’ for me would be to organise fireworks – this makes a fantastic surprise for your guests!
Think outside the box. I would say that traditional elements are important but make it yours. If you have seen something online or dreamt of an idea, let us know.
It’s good to know what you want your wedding to be, but also be open to new trends and outside suggestions. Sometimes by playing around with ideas, you can create something fun and unique.
Easy. The Golden Gates. They are so iconic – it is a must! It’s lovely to head up there with your photographer and have five minutes to yourselves, away from your guests, taking it all in. You may even want to ride a golf buggy up there. Why not, hey?
There are so many moments I love. From the bride walking down the aisle, the arrival after church, the drinks reception, the entertainment, to the speeches and walking around a room filled with happy faces and clean plates. But I must say, my favourite moment is when we announce the wedding party into the room and all the guest’s faces light up and all you can hear is “wow”, “this looks amazing”, and “what a lovely venue”.
We offer a corkage service where we charge a fee to bring in your own alcohol. This is based on the amount you consume on property; however, we have an extensive drinks list and can also personalise this offering.
Yes, from cake makers to discos, to room décor and photobooths, you can use whatever supplier you wish. Just make sure they have the correct documentation and a good reputation. It’s important to choose a company you trust. For ease, we have an amazing list of recommended suppliers we’ve worked with for years, who deliver the best service.
We permit outside vendors such as sweet and ice cream carts but provide everything else. If you have a favourite dish, or a vision you want to come to life, let us know and we’re sure we can accommodate. Our talented chef is endlessly creative.
We have many beautiful spaces to take advantage of. The entrance ‘Golden Gates’ is extremely popular and an iconic backdrop. There’s also our tree lined driveway, the hotel flower beds, the original farmhouse building, and the private Kerry Suite terrace, perfect for group shots. In spring, with blankets of bluebells and in autumn with fiery leaves—anywhere on the grounds is truly cinematic. We can also head over to the House and Gardens between April and October, please ask for more details.
Unfortunately, no dogs are allowed in the Resort, but there are public paths to enjoy what Bowood has to offer.
You’ll have a dedicated wedding coordinator to assist in the planning of your big day, and a toastmaster to attend to your every need on the day.
A drop off meeting will be organised on the week of your wedding, where you deliver all your decorations to us. These are securely stored in a cloakroom until the Kerry Suite becomes available. This could be the night before or may be in the early hours on the day of your wedding, upon which our dedicated team will professionally dress the room for you. We do everything from putting favours out, to dressing the gift table and positioning your centre pieces. Before your wedding starts, you’ll have an opportunity to check you’re happy with everything and your wedding coordinator will be on hand for final touches. The team will then de-rig the room and store all your belongings in the cloakroom for you to collect the next day.
Requests can be noted, and we will do our best to allocate the ready rooms for you and your wedding guests, but we do not guarantee anything. Check in is from 3pm and check out is at 11am.
The more the merrier for a show around. Please do invite anyone you wish. Or it can be just the two of you, and you can introduce others to the venue at your leisure.
Menu tasting is complimentary for you as part of our wedding packages, but others can join, and there is a supplementary price to do so.
If you are planning an intimate gathering, we do have a range of rooms we can offer, such as The Old Dairy & The Fitzmaurice. The Kerry Suite also partitions into three different rooms making it feel cosier. There is also the opportunity of having an outside ceremony on our Pavilion Terrace or even having a blessing at the Bowood House and Gardens private chapel, or Queenwood Lodge.
When you stay at Bowood, you’re not just staying in our hotel. You are staying in the heart of our stunning estate.
From the moment you enter the grounds through the spectacular Golden Gates, continuing along the tree-lined driveway to the heart of the resort, you are transported into the world of an English country estate. Glimpse sweeping parkland through the trees as you arrive, ready to relax and enjoy your Bowood staycation.
Around you lie 2,000 acres of private Wiltshire countryside— yours for the duration of your stay.
Long walks around the estate, cocktails on the terrace…this is a place where decision making is no more complex than what to order from the menu, or which direction to wander through the grounds. Bowood is the perfect place to visit on a summer staycation with acres of space, plenty of fresh air and time to relax. Here are 10 reasons to take one this summer…
Long summer evenings and cocktails are a good mix. Which one to start?
Quench your palate with our signature Bowood Garden (a refreshing swirl of Hendrick’s Gin, Pomegranate and Elderflower Cordial, Cloudy Apple Juice, and a Dash of Soda), or opt for a classic Daiquiri.
On a warm day, we like to drink in the rays while taking our afternoon coffee in an Espresso Martini. Few things get you into the holiday spirit like sipping cocktails overlooking the stunning parkland, as the sun makes its long arc overhead.
On a fine summer’s day, let us pack you up a picnic. Simple, delicious bites. Delicate rounds of sandwiches, golden scotch eggs, asparagus spears, and strawberry tart. At other times some local cheese, a dish of fat green olives, and a still-warm loaf.
Chance upon a delightful spot with just the right amount of shade and sunlight, perhaps by the cooling water of the lake, or under the woodland’s dappled light.
Spread out your blanket, open a bottle of lemonade or chilled wine and enjoy an afternoon doing very little. Reading books, soaking up the air, eating, and stretching out under a deep blue sky.
Whether you pride yourself on having a hefty handicap or not, Golf makes for a diverting day out.
Golf enthusiasts are in their element at Bowood. We are the PGA Official Golf Course and Academy for the South West. Beginners can hone their skills on our 3-hole Academy course, or perhaps take a golf lesson from one of our PGA Pros. Even top players will be challenged on our 18-hole course, designed by the great Dave Thomas, it was named as number one in Wiltshire by Top 100 Golf Courses.
Stay with us for Two Nights of Dinner, Bed and Breakfast and you will receive a complimentary Afternoon Tea on the day you arrive.
The indulgent, relaxing, and uniquely British ritual signals the start of your holiday. We serve Afternoon Tea in the Shelburne Restaurant, our intimate Library or on the spacious terrace. Fresh tea and homemade delicacies are the perfect ‘pick-me-up’ to tide you over until the evening.
Luxury Two Night Escape:
From £180 per person
A lot can happen in fourteen weeks. If you have something to celebrate which you’d like to do justice to – no matter how big or small – the resort is an ideal place to celebrate.
The resort is at your disposal and our expert team is on hand. We love playing a part in making birthdays, anniversaries, proposals, graduations, honeymoons, babymoons, and any milestone a truly memorable experience.
Get in touch with us to see what personal touches we can provide to make your stay as celebratory as can be.
GET IN TOUCH HERE
Say ‘I do’ at Bowood.
When we are able to host small weddings at Bowood, which might be as soon as July, our extensive grounds will be available as your venue. Our stunning wedding pavilion overlooking the parkland is the perfect place to say ‘I do’.
Spacious and secluded, the Bowood Estate is a dreamy location for a romantic summer wedding.
Photograph © Creative Studio
We may be in the heart of England but you can still travel to sun-drenched Tuscany in Bowood House & Gardens nineteenth century Italianate garden. The south-facing Terrace Gardens were commissioned by the 3rd Marquess to remind him of his time in Italy.
Stone balustrades soak up the sun, and are topped with urns spilling over with flowers. Fountains of trickling water are surrounded by colourful formal beds edged with neat box hedging. Allium, geranium and rose flowers fill the garden with silken colours and sweetness.
The topiary yews grow up into the sun, evoking the cypress trees that dot the Italian countryside. Having passed through the yew arches you are then met with a spectacular view across the ‘Capability’ Brown designed lake to the temple in the distance.
All hotel guests receive complimentary access to Bowood House & Gardens.
The grounds at Bowood House & Gardens (less than one mile from the resort) were redesigned by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown at the height of his career. They are now regarded as one of his best preserved works.
Brown helped to revolutionise landscape design in the eighteenth century. He believed a gardener’s role was to accentuate, rather than supplant, nature. He wanted his gardens to emulate ‘all the elegance and all the comforts that mankind wants in the Country’.
It’s certainly a grand claim. But he was so successful that you’d be forgiven for believing many of his designs are natural, including our lake. His plan for the park at Bowood survives, and is one of the clearest examples of his ‘serpentine’ garden design.
The ‘serpentine style’ uses free-flowing lines to unite the landscape and the house together. Sweeping lawns lead right up to the house, then outwards until they merge with grazed parkland. A fringe of woodland encircles the estate, and clumps of distinctive trees break up the parkland.
Brown loved organic curves of woodland and water in his landscapes and this is evident in one of our favourite views. Looking out from the terraces in front of the house, the sweep of our mile-long lake meets a tree line, and gives the illusion that the water goes on forever.
The Arboretum’s mature woodland was planted by ‘Capability’ Brown in 1762. He planted his trees knowing that his generation would not see them the full impact of his design. In 1765 Lady Shelburne noted in her diary, ‘Mr Browne’s plantations are very young but promising’.
Today the Arboretum at the House & Gardens is at its best, with a majestic canopy of stately, well established trees. Look out for the largest cedar in Europe, a cedar of Lebanon. The strikingly shaped evergreen was particularly favoured by Brown. The Arboretum is home to 11 ‘Champion trees’, so called because they are the largest or tallest of their kind in Britain.
While the forest is a living emblem of our history, it is also growing. Our gardeners continue to plant saplings and encourage biodiversity and there are over 700 species and counting.
If you enjoy the meditative effects of visiting spas, why not go forest bathing in the Arboretum? This self-led wellness practise involves spending time in a forest and breathing in the chemicals (phytoncides) which are naturally emitted by trees. This has been shown to reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels and strengthen the immune system.
Walkers and runners can enjoy the scenery not just within the picturesque estate but also its surrounding countryside.
We are near the gently beautiful Cotswolds AONB, plus a visit to local villages like Castle Combe and Lacock would not be amiss for anyone with a penchant for picturesque cottages. In the other direction, we are next to the North Wessex AONB which has plenty of footpaths and is teaming with historic sights.
We recommend walking to the distinctive Cherhill White Horse which has flanked the hills since 1780. It was once one of thirteen white horse hewn into the chalk of the Wiltshire hills. Now only eight remain and the Cherhill horse is a cherished part of our local landscape.
You can extend your walk to Avebury Stone circle. Avebury Stone Circle dwarfs Stonehenge. The stones were first put in place over 4,500 years ago and today form the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world.
Even closer to our resort, the Calne-Bowood estate circular walk is a lovely way to explore the area without any need to get in the car.
Our friendly spa team at Bowood Spa are helping followers with self-care rituals to bring that much needed spa treatment to their own homes. Here’s a DIY facial that requires minimal ingredients…
Missing your Bowood Spa fix? Why not treat yourself to a much-needed spa day to be redeemed when we re-open our doors. What’s more our gift vouchers are now valid for 18 months so you have longer to enjoy your gift!
The coronavirus outbreak in the UK and the Government’s lockdown response has shocked our normal existence. For those who are young and fit, in good health and with no underlying conditions, the stress and anxiety of the situation has no doubt affected us at times. Headaches, sleeplessness and feeling tense are just some of the symptoms we might experience.
The good news is there’s lots of advice out there and we’ve put together a programme of Six Stay at Home Wellness Tips that we hope goes some way to help:
With the help of our friends, we’ve also developed a free Bowood Little Book of Wellness for you to download. We hope you enjoy it and that it helps make your at-home time that little bit easier.
The Government has advised that we can take one daily form of exercise each day while ensuring we are social distanced from others (at least 2m apart). A daily walk or run gets the blood pumping around the body, releasing those feel good endorphins and gets us out into the fresh air. Exercise is also one of the activities listed to help people relax if feeling anxious at this time on the NHS’ useful advice page.
For those of you that are usually more active, there’s plenty of free online yoga and fitness exercises available at this time. Joe Wicks’ daily 9am workout for children on Youtube is probably the most well-known at present and many adults join in too. There are many more online exercise classes available. In fact, Bowood’s own PT Trainers are posting workouts on their Instagram accounts – follow: @martyndrake_pt @chrisalchin_pt @ptryanbodman
A bad news story spreads much quicker than good news, which is why our newspapers and online news sites are full of bad news. If you consume all coronavirus news, the majority will be bad news stories. Give yourself a break and turn it off. You’ll be thankful for it.
If you do like to know what’s going on or the latest Government advice, set yourself a time limit or a restriction on the number of articles you read. And only do it if you are feeling strong enough. Make sure you seek out the good news stories such as Captain Tom’s incredible NHS fundraising. There’s also a global good news site you can visit too https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/
Mindful activities are those that keep you in the moment, switch off your thinking and help you relax while at home. This can be by becoming more aware of your thoughts at a given moment or by connecting more with your physical self.
For some people this might even be doing the washing up but for others baking bread, playing an instrument or colouring in a picture are all deemed mindful activities (see our Little Book of Wellness at the end of the blog).
There are lots of simple online bread recipes to try out, while many people have become more adventurous and started making sourdough. The kneading and proving of the bread can become a meditative activity. While the achievement of the finished loaf also provides a feel-good factor, and something nice to eat – if you can locate some flour in the first place!
When resting, an adult breathes about 17,280 to 23,040 times a day or 12 to 16 breaths per minute. If we exercise we take more breaths and being stressed out can also mean the rate rises.
Most of the time we take short, shallow breaths using only the very top part of our lungs, into our shoulders and chest. Whereas deeper breaths into our stomachs and diaphragm aren’t usually regular, unless we focus more on how we are breathing.
Breathing exercises can help us relax by slowing down our heart rate and sometimes as a result, our thinking. A big part of yoga is deeper breathing so if you want to exercise and focus on your breathing this is a great activity. If you’d prefer to sit in quieter mediation there’s many online breathing apps or web advice pages available.
Sleeplessness often goes hand in hand with anxiety and for some, disrupted sleep has a big knock-on effect on day-to-day living. Good sleep has numerous benefits but one that we will all be thankful for at present is it boosts your immune system. It also boosts mental wellbeing.
To improve your chances of getting the six to nine hours of daily recommended sleep for an adult, there’s lots of things you can do to including: taking a relaxing bath before bedtime, establishing a regular routine going to bed at the same time each night, no screen-time in the hour before bed, or reading a book prior to going to sleep to quieten the mind.
A good night’s sleep also increases your sex drive, which could be another way of getting a good night’s sleep as exercise also helps!
We all know by now that we need to eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables but eating well and regularly ensures balanced energy levels. Too much sugar in our diet gives us energy peaks and troughs, affecting our mood and how we feel – high or low.
The correct balance of food groups, vitamins and minerals, also boosts our immune system while lowering the risk of illness and more serious disease.
We now have the time at home to enjoy the activity of cooking good food while taking care of ourselves, so try out new vegetarian recipes or vegetables you’ve never tried before. You might be pleasantly surprised and do yourself some good in the meantime.
Finally, while a glass of red wine might go well with a meal, don’t be tempted to drink too much alcohol at this time. Ensuring you drink 6 to 8 glasses of water or fluids doesn’t include booze. Everything in moderation will help keep your at-home health and wellbeing programme on track.
To assist we’ve developed our free Bowood Little Book of Wellness for you to download. We hope you enjoy it and that it helps make your at-home time that little bit easier.
Stay well from the whole team at Bowood x
Although it might seem straightforward, deciding where to host a special occasion is a head scratcher.
No matter where you live there are lots of options. It’s easy to book somewhere you know, perhaps your favourite local restaurant or pub. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s good to change things up sometimes. Especially if you’re feeling a little bored with the usual.
Then, the question arises. How do I make it special, truly special? Perhaps you want more than simply a meal out. What you want is to properly mark the occasion, and make it one to remember. This is exactly what visiting Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort is all about.
One of the main things we pride ourselves on at Bowood is being able host events and occasions of all types—whether intimate or grand, and everything in between.
It could be you’re planning an anniversary with your partner, and need some well earned “us” time, or you have a family birthday partay, party, coming up. These intimate special occasions are perfect at Bowood. You’ll find a magnificent rural setting, and stylish, accommodating spaces to hold your private event.
Or, you may not be planning a small event at all. Has the office Christmas party fallen on your shoulders? Are you searching for a conference space? Gala dinner? Or even space to hold a religious ceremony?
At Bowood we can accommodate groups of up to 200 people. If in doubt, try us. Whatever the size and scope of your event, we’ll do our very best to help.
For our passionate culinary team at Bowood, being in Wiltshire is a pleasure. Right on their doorstep is some of the finest produce our country has to offer.
For us, the quality and origin of our ingredients is everything. We’re committed where we can to supporting local businesses and making sure what we source is consistent and excellent. Whilst it’s possible to make a delicious meal from inexpensive ingredients, it’s not possible to make one from poor ingredients. Also, it doesn’t matter if we’re cooking for the two of you or a full entourage, we’ll ensure your experience is exceptional.
Unlike a restaurant or a pub, at Bowood you can improve your special occasion by melting your tension and drifting away at our award-winning spa. We have a varied range of signature treatments, from hot stone and bamboo massages to full wellness rituals and organic skincare.
Especially if you’re coming as a couple, or a group of friends, you could extend your visit to a peaceful spa weekend and leave us feeling rejuvenated.
Check out our spa breaks and find one that fits.
Golf is (in our opinion) the ultimate sport. It’s leisurely, polite, versatile, complex, and lots of fun. On a sunny day, nothing beats a round of golf. Furthermore, it’s a game for all ages and abilities; a rare example of an inclusive sport.
At Bowood we have one of the best 18-hole golf courses in the country. We’re not just saying that either. It’s the PGA official golf course for the South West.
A golf break is an ideal business weekend away, sprinkled with fine food, fine drink, and picturesque Wiltshire countryside. Great for team building, great for health, great for the mind.
Whilst our Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort is separate from our house and gardens, there’s no reason you can’t combine the two. If you’re hosting a family event here, you could stroll around our diverse gardens before an evening meal. We have an arboretum with over 700 species of trees, private walled and terrace gardens, beautiful herbaceous borders, woodland gardens, and acres of Capability Brown parkland to explore.
Bowood House is also a wonder to experience, with many impressive stately rooms, fine art, and exquisite antiques. Here, you’ll be immersed in significant history—including Joseph Priestley’s discovery of oxygen in 1774.
The Bowood Estate is an idyllic backdrop for events and special occasions. Just think of the photos and how fantastic they’ll look. Celebrating is more celebratory at Bowood.
We’re based in quintessential English countryside between the Cotswolds and the North Wessex Downs—two of our country’s most cherished AONBs (Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty). The countryside near us is a lovely, soul-stirring setting for a birthday break, anniversary, mini moon, Valentine’s escape, or spontaneous romantic gesture.
With only modest travelling you’re amongst rolling downland or beneath the shade of a willow on a verdant Cotswolds riverbank. You can be on a hillside, awestruck by giant chalk figures, carved from the white earth, or deep in ancient, wild woodland. We’re very lucky to be where we are, surrounded by iconic scenery—that has inspired art and literature for centuries.
We’re sure it will inspire you too.
For a closer look at events, special occasions, and celebrations at Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort—please click here.
Thanks for reading.
With the shenanigans of Christmas and the New Year’s celebrations behind us, many of us will look towards health and wellness this winter, and of course, any exciting plans we’ve made for the year ahead.
Here at Bowood, we have events happening throughout the whole of winter to keep our spirits up, even if it’s a little bit dull and gloomy outside.
Soothe tired bodies and take some time out from the rush of daily life in our spa at Bowood. It’s only been a week or two of January and, no doubt, we’re already feeling an increase in tension behind our neck and building up of knots in our muscles (and that’s, in addition, to all the socialising with family and in-laws at Christmas).
Our spa days at Bowood offer you the chance to utterly relax. Enjoy our premium facilities including the infinity pool, jacuzzi, crystal steam room, rock sauna and Techno Gym, and perhaps gift yourself a pamper treatment too.
Swimming for just 30 minutes once a week is a method of reducing stress and enjoying some “you-time”. At Bowood, along with our steam and sauna facilities, you’ll no doubt want to spend much longer in our pool and health suite.
Relaxing in the spa can help you feel good. It could help reduce your blood pressure and is a great way to get moving.
All eateries no matter how big or how small seem to be jumping on board with the new awareness month, known as ‘Veganuary’.
With 2019 being a massive year in relation to the growth in popularity of plant-based diets, it is no surprise that this annual celebration is being adopted by so many in 2020.
Should you be making your way to Bowood this January, Vegan or not, you can have the option to chow down on our most elaborate and creative vegan menu to date in The Shelburne Restaurant.
Do you know your history? If so, our next Quiz Night in The Clubhouse Brasserie could be calling for you.
The theme for our next Bowood Quiz Night is 20th Century Events. Think WW1, the first man on the moon, women getting the right to vote to name a few…
We may well be in Wiltshire, however, that doesn’t mean we can’t join in the Scottish Burns Night celebrations.
Warm the cockles with a night of whisky, haggis and January jolliness…
Bowood will brighten the depths of winter this January with a traditional Scottish Burns Night menu in The Shelburne Restaurant.
Expect delicious Scottish traditional food and a choice of Scottish whiskies.
Ok, so if even if you are laying off the calories this January, why not reward yourself by wrapping up the diet a day early with an end of month feasting for only £49 in The Shelburne Restaurant?
That’s right, our Two Dine for £49 is returning with a brand new menu.
This is most certainly going to fill up quickly so make sure you booking well in advance.
We all know the day is coming. And if you want to treat that special someone in your life, then we have just the thing in our Shelburne Restaurant on 14th February 2019.
Enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day Dinner, cooked by our talented Head Chef, Ed Fortune and expect a glass of fizz on your arrival.
It must be love.
Get ahead of the game, ready for summer, with some winter golf coaching Bowood PGA Golf Academy.
Whether you are a complete beginner or are wanting to hone your skills, you’ll benefit from the knowledge and teaching from our PGA Golf Pro’s. And if you’re a Bowood Golf Member you’ll get a discount on your lessons too.
Should you not fancy coaching, then use the quieter winter season to get out on the course for less with 18-holes Monday to Friday from only £35 per person with 50 range balls included and 10% off in the Bowood Golf Pro Shop.
Have you pledged to get fit for the new year? Or do you feel a bit out of your depth at your local gym?
Bowood is a welcoming place for new gym-goers, as well as those with more experience. Our personal trainers will consider your current fitness and work on your strengths and weaknesses.
The mission? To get you in better shape for 2020.
If you are already fairly fit and want to take your fitness to the next level then why not sign up to Bowood’s 10km fun run?
It’s a perfect run if you’re thinking of taking on a half marathon or marathon in the future, the Bowood House 10km is in its 32nd year.
On a slightly different note, engaged couples may choose to make a booking for our Wedding Open Evening in February.
Come and visit the hotel and see if we have what you are looking for to create your perfect wedding.
With beautiful gardens and an adventure playground for children, it is well worth considering purchasing an early bird season ticket for Bowood House and Gardens.
Early-bird sale ends on 31st January 2020.
If you want to enjoy the best winter yet, then become a member of Bowood this January. You can enjoy all these fabulous activities and more, all at a discounted price.
Interested in any of the above goings-on? If so, drop us an email and we’d love to count you in.
Make some time to rejuvenate after a busy and indulgent festive period ready for the spring…