An engraving of the Bell Gate garden entrance
Stowe – a tourist destination
During the early 90s, The National Trust sold visitor admission tickets from a ticket shed by the front gates of the Oxford Avenue that led you up past the parkland and Stowe House. Visitors would enter the gardens near the Temple of Concord and Victory. As visitor numbers grew so did a welcome area until the facilities were no longer suitable.
In 2003, after acquiring the New Inn the National Trust began planning the restoration of the historical visitors’ entrance to the garden. In the 1700s tourists experienced monumental views as they drove up Stowe Avenue to the Corinthian Arch and stayed at the New Inn. Guests would then walk down the Bell Gate Drive, to ring a bell and pay the gardener a fee to be admitted. Now modern visitors can follow in the footsteps of eighteenth-century tourists, exploring the garden and house as intended by Lord Cobham.