The Garden Landscape Guide

Bowood Gardens

An eighteenth century house and park with a nineteenth century 'Italian' garden. Lancelot Brown's plan for the park survives and is one of the clearest examples of his serpentine style of garden design. It has circular clumps, an encircling tree belt and a serpentine lake. A Doric temple sits beside the lake. The lake discharges via a cascade designed by Charles Hamilton of Painshill. The conservatory was designed by Robert Adam. In 1851, George Kennedy designed an 'Italian garden' to mediate between the house and the park. It has terraced, balustrades, urns and steps. It lacks the dignity of the house and park but is enhanced and softened by a good planting design.


Capability Brown Parkland and Rhododendron Walks

Plants of note

Rhododendron walks Arboretum

Bowood, Derry Hill, Calne, Wiltshire, England, SN11 0LZ

April to October. Daily. Open 11am to 6pm. Rhododendron walks open daily for 6 weeks in May and June, depending on flowering period.

Adult House & Gardens £8.60, Rhododendron Walks £5.60 (£4.60 if you are visiting the House and Gardens on the same day)

Visit the Bowood Gardens website

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Designers and Influences


  • almost 4 years by Anonymous 5 / 5

    The most beautiful garden of our garden visit trip ! If you have to visit only one chose this one ! Even with the weather not on our side the walk was enjoyable.
    The recoded price for adult is not up to date : £10 for house and garden, £13 with the Rhododendron walk.

  • almost 6 years by Adam Hodge 5 / 5

    As it wasn't possible to visit just the gardens and £8.40 is a bit steep to admire two terraces, the Rhododendron Woods were a good alternative.
    It is a glorious woodland, generously planted with a lot of the fragrant Rhodo. Loderi cultivars amongst many other lovely cvs. The most exquisite fragrance... rich vanilla exuded from great bushes of Rhododendron Kewense sp. were intoxicating.
    Drifts of bluebells acted as a lovely footmark to the rich voluminous dollops of flower from the Rhodos.
    The grounds are enjoying additional plantings of choice trees - I hadn't heard of or seen Cornus rutgersensis Ruth Ellen so had to bone up on it aided by Hilliers Manual.

The reviews and ratings originate in all cases from third parties. Gardenvisit is in no case responsible for the correctness or accuracy of the reviews. Reviews and similar information are not an expression of Gardenvisit's opinions.

Bowood Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood
Bowood Gardens, Wiltshire Photograph ©
Bowood Gardens, Wiltshire Photograph © Bowood
Bowood Gardens Photograph ©
Bowood, 2008 Photograph ©
Bowood Gardens, July 2008 Photograph ©
Rhododendrons, Bowood Gardens Photograph © Bowood
Rhododendron Walks, Bowood Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Rhododendrons, Bowood Estate Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Rhododendron Wood, Bowood Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Spring, Bowood Estate Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Bowood, Spring Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Rhododendron Loderi, Bowood Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Bowood, Derry Hill Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge