In January I was inspired by Makelight to choose a word to guide me through the year, instead of or as well as New Year’s Resolutions.

My word for 2017 is Explore.

To me, Explore means meeting new people, learning new things and visiting new places. I find exploring in this way really opens the mind, allows creativity to blossom and creates a great work life balance.

Today I’m talking about my visit to Stowe.

The entrance to Stowe is via the 18th century New Inn built by Lord Cobham. In times past it had been a place for visitors to stay and later an agricultural building. The National Trust restored it into it’s present glorious state and added the Visitor Centre.

The September light on the old red brick walls was so pretty.

I love the little hen house …

… and these climbing roses.  Generally, the greater emphasis in the main part of Stowe gardens is bringing out the beauty of natural elements – meadows, trees and streams – punctuated by meaningful architectural structures and so this is not a place for formal flower gardens.

The surrounding countryside was flooded with September sunshine. The grazing sheep seemed content.

On afternoons like this I do think that England looks it’s very best.

The creators of Stowe were 18th century Whigs, an English political party who, above all, believed in liberty.

The structures within the garden were built to represent the Whigs’ political beliefs.  The Gothic Temple is a great example of this.  In the 18th century the term Gothic was synonymous with liberty.  The Gothic Temple is devoted ‘To the Liberty of our Ancestors’.

Above, the Palladian Bridge with the winding path to the The Gothic Temple.

Many visitors today are unaware of the political story embedded in the gardens.  They are there simply to enjoy them and there are plenty of quiet corners to sit and savour the surrounding beauty.

There are so many beautiful tree covered walks.

On the first day of September the signs of Autumn were beginning to emerge.

This little family seemed to be enjoying themselves too!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and it’s inspired you! There are so many wonderful places to see — whether it’s something local or far away. There is so much to learn and so many new people to meet.

Stay safe and cosy until the next time.

Yvonne x

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