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Top 5: Capability Brown gardens

Follow on the trail of Capability Brown across the UK

Top 5: Capability Brown gardens
Stowe School, Buckinghamshire. Image: Rod Edwards, National Trust

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01 Stowe, Buckinghamshire
The property where Brown learned his trade and got married. He spent 10 years working on this expansive parkland, loosening up the formal, straight lines into more natural contours. The house is now Stowe School, but the parkland belongs to the National Trust. nationaltrust.org.uk/stowe

02 Croome, Worcestershire
One of Brown’s first clients was the Earl of Coventry, whose estate was badly in need of a redesign both aesthetically and functionally. Brown was given free reign, even going so far as to remove and re-build the church and village. The grounds later became farmland, but Brown’s designs have been restored under the guardianship of the National Trust. nationaltrust.org.uk/croome

03 Blenheim, Oxfordshire
Brown was commissioned to transform the setting of Blenheim Palace by the 4th Duke of Marlborough in 1763. This year, detailed plans and drawings illustrating his work will feature in a special festival exhibiton. The baroque palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is still run by the 12th Duke of Malborough. blenheimpalace.com

04 Burghley, Lincolnshire
Brown described his time at England’s greatest Elizabethan house as 25 years of ‘great pleasure’. As well as reshaping the garden and making alterations to the house, Brown was also given the chance to design buildings including a stable and an orangery. burghley.co.uk

05 Weston Park, Shropshire
This lesser-known gem of Brown’s work comprises a thousand acres of parkland alongside formal lawns, Italian gardens and a medieval deer park on the outskirts of Shrewsbury. A 15-year restoration project has seen Brown’s grounds returned to their original glory. weston-park.com

Read more in the March 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)