Bowood reveals its 2020 plans
The welcoming of its five millionth visitor since opening to the public in 1975, a series of large-scale outdoor events (including a running festival, country & game fair and open-air music concert) and TV screen appearances on BBC TV’s Gardeners World, Poldark and ITV’s Sanditon were just some of the many highlights of Bowood House & Gardens’ 2019 season that concluded a month ago. The 2019 season drew to its close by delighting all ages with its Enchanted Autumn trail over Halloween and the half-term break. Now Bowood’s plans for spring 2020 and the start of its 45th season are shaping up enticingly.
Re-opening on Wednesday 1st April - and in good time for the Easter weekend (Friday 10th - Monday 13th April), Wiltshire’s Bowood House & Gardens (between Calne and Chippenham) has already confirmed the following events for its 2020 calendar:
- From Friday 24th April: Woodland Garden re-opens for its annual six-week season as Bowood’s celebrated rhododendrons, magnolias and azaleas come to life again with the bluebell flush heralding their arrival.
- Thursday 23rd April – Monday 4th May: Giffords Circus – new attraction for Bowood and second location for the circus during its 20th anniversary year tour. Tickets are already on sale!
- Sunday 10th May: Classic Car & Motorcycle Show – returning to Bowood for a third year. (Two further events for automobile enthusiasts are also scheduled: Sunday 26th April’s Triumph Car Display and the Porsche Club Rally on Sunday 17th May).
- Sunday 7th June: Outlaw Triathlon - Outlaw comes to the south west with the event organiser having determined that ‘Bowood offers good accessibility, a stunning backdrop and a course that is in keeping with rest of the Outlaw Series.’ The inaugural Outlaw Half Bowood features a 1.2-mile swim in the lake, a single-loop 56-mile ride and a three-lap, 13.1 mile run with the finish line in front of Bowood House.
- Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th June: making good advantage of the wide-open space and stunning scenery on the Estate, Bowood Triathlon staged by LPS Events - with their autumn Bowood Duathlon on Saturday 10th October.
- Saturday 25th July: a month earlier than the previous three years’ August timing, Classic Ibiza returns for its fourth year at Bowood. Conductor Stephen Hussey, The Urban Soul Orchestra, DJ Goldierocks and vocalists bring classic Ibiza anthems to Bowood’s Capability Brown parkland starting with early evening chill-out set and concluding with laser light show. Tickets are already on sale!
- Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th September: a long-established fixture on the Estate, Wiltshire Game & Country Fair’s celebration of rural pursuits draws once more on Bowood’s setting.
For a totally different sense of scale and focus, seasonal creative workshops will resume next year in the Gardeners’ Bothy - a dedicated space for talks, readership events and presentations. The Crafty Gardeners’ workshops will be back in April, May, June, July, September & October while Clive Nicholls’ Garden & Flower Photography Masterclass will be held on Friday 4th June.
The ever-popular guided tours of Lord and Lady Lansdowne’s four-acre, private Walled Garden will return again too, with monthly midweek dates from spring through to autumn. Garden lovers can sign up individually for a Bowood scheduled date or plan their own visit as a private group of 15+ visitors. Angled around the season and
what is in bloom at the time, the 60-minute tours also take in the Italianate Terraces that front the Diocletian wing of Bowood House and the Pleasure Grounds surrounding it.
Bowood House itself will be the subject of 2020’s exhibition in the Robert Adam designed Orangery – an apt setting for ‘Bowood Revisited: Decline & Revival’. Marking the 65th anniversary of the 1955 demolition of what had previously been known as ‘The Big House’ and the redesign of ‘The Little House’ to become Bowood House as it is today, the exhibition will open and close with the 2020 season.
Work is underway on a brand new playtime attraction to be unveiled next spring in the space previously occupied by the Tractor Ted Little Farm (next door to the Treehouse Café). With the opening of the Adventure Playground in 1976, Bowood has consistently updated its offerings for children from generation to generation. After a very successful seven-year collaboration with Tractor Ted, Bowood’s next exciting enterprise for youngsters will entice them towards inspiring play (away from the computer screen!), indoors and outside, that will engage their imagination and creativity and encourage a sense of wellbeing. More details will be announced in the coming months.