The Garden Landscape Guide

Rousham House and Garden

Rousham is the purest example of an Augustan landscape garden, designed by William Kent on a framework made by Charles Bridgeman in the 1720s. One's first Roman encounter is with statues recalling the Imperial games: a lion mauls a horse and a gladiator dies with restrained agony. A path leads into the woods and the Venus Vale, with statues of Pan, a faun, and Venus, from whom Caesar claimed descent. A sweetly serpentine rill flows in a stone channel from the Cold Bath into the Venus Vale. In another glade, a Temple overlooks the River Cherwell. The terrace overlooming the river is named the Praeneste after the ancient temple complex in the modern town of Palestrina outside Rome.

Steeple Aston, Bicester, Oxfordshire, England, OX25 4QU

All year. Daily. Open 10am to 6pm (last admission at 4.30 pm or dusk if earlier). Rousham House is only open by prior arrangement - please visit Rousham's web site ( for information on how to book a tour of the house.


Visit the Rousham House and Garden website

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Designers and Influences


  • almost 3 years by Anne 5 / 5

    We fell in love with this wonderful garden, it is the most beautiful and tranquil garden we have ever seen. We arrived at 10am and had the garden to ourselves for the first 2 hours. There is most wonderful array of plants and the display of roses took out breath away. We meandered around the landscape garden and down to the river and every turn we took brought another lovely surprise. I cannot put into words the joy we felt in this special place. We will be returning for more of this garden at a different time of year to experience the changing seasons and what they have to offer. If you love gardens and nature you will love this place called Rousham Gardens.
  • over 3 years by Gary Webb 4 / 5

    I enjoyed a September Saturday visit in warm sunshine. The garden was peaceful, only after midday did any number of other visitors arrive with colourful picnics to adorn the lawns around the ponds.
    A very intimate garden for sure, with shaded walks, cool pools and an exquisite rill, a garden for the hot summer months for sure. The countryside view to the ruin on a distant hill is there, but I found the garden itself more than enough to keep my eyes occupied, especially with the beautiful garden buildings and statuary.
    One of the prettiest early to mid 18th century gardens to visit, and very well cared for.
  • about 5 years by Selina Botham - Garden designer 4 / 5

    You feel a bit like you are sneaking a peak at a private garden when you visit Rousham and this adds somehow to the treat... I think this is mainly because there is no one to welcome you and take your money instead there is a ticket machine. You just follow the signs and turn the corner...
    The first area you come to is definitely for the men - it's a large, impressive, square, front lawn which perfectly frames the house and means the full magnificence of the house is visible from far away.
    A series of arches in hedges and walls then leads you along and out into a walled garden which is bursting with ancient fruit trees, all in flower when I visited. Set against a backdrop of old red brick and blue sky what a picture.
    This is just for starters and there is so much more to discover, including rich wildlife, we watched newts feeding in the pool, and a rather grown up calf noisily suckling just yards away from us. It was a beautiful experience and felt like a weeks holiday.
  • over 5 years by Richard 5 / 5

    beautiful gardens
  • almost 6 years by Tom 5 / 5

    Could you clarify re pronunuciation. I read that: "Rousham" is stressed on the former half ("ROUsh'm"), and pronounced as in "row", meaning uproar ("Last night there was an awful row upstairs")
    With regard to 'Augustan' it is used to mean 'the landscape of the Augustan Age' rather than to mean 'Imperial'
  • almost 6 years by Robert Holden 5 / 5

    Rousham (pronounced Rowsh-ham according to the family) is interesting as a small formal landscape garden (very un Augustus-like by the way, it is friendly, and intimate in design terms not at all imperial) with avenues and straight lines interleaved with winding paths. It is arranged for views to the surrounding countryside: in Chinese terms it "borrows' the landscape.
  • almost 6 years by Fiona Smith 5 / 5

    Having visited Rousham yesterday, we were not disappointed. It is such a delighful, tranquil, reflective experience. Go for the day, take a picnic and book and enjoy the peace!

    Cost is £5 per person.
  • almost 6 years by John Dixon Hunt 5 / 5

    Rousham is 'the jewel of the English landscape movement' (Garden and Grove, p 165)
  • over 6 years by Charlotte 5 / 5

    This is an exceptionally beautiful garden - so peaceful and so uncrowded! It was featured on Monty Don's programme and I had wanted to visit for many months before I finally got there. It really did live up to my expectations.

    Worth making a detour for and open throughout the seasons - this is a lovely place to walk.
  • over 7 years by Anonymous 4 / 5

    Unspolit and peaceful! Fanastic for photography!
  • almost 8 years by Jane Markham 5 / 5

    What a joy to visit a wonderful garden unspoilt by signs warning of 'deep water' or telling you to 'keep off the grass'. The gardens are beautifully maintained so that the vistas that William Kent designed still work beautifully. You wouldn't be surprised to see ladies and gentlemen in 18th century costumes wandering across the lawns or dallying in Praeneste temple! Fabulous.
  • over 8 years by Adam Hodge 4 / 5

    Once you are beyond the lawn and have entered the green glades a peaceful and yet hugely romantic aura pervades . A place to stroll hand in hand with your nearest and dearest. The walled garden is delightful in its slightly rickety sort of way ..half the formal beds are slightly wonky and yet lovely..lots of flowers always brighten the beds
    Great place !

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.

Temple at Rousham House Garden Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Statue at Rousham House Garden Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Rousham House Gardens Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Rousham Photograph ©
Gate, Rousham House and Garden Photograph © Charlotte Weychan
Rousham House and Garden, Oxfordshire Photograph © Charlotte Weychan
Rousham House, Oxfordshire Photograph © Charlotte Weychan