The site has formal gardens, pleasure grounds and a landscape park. The park covers some 200 hectares, and was laid out around 1759 for the Earl Gower by Capability Brown. The formal gardens cover around two hectares, and were laid out in the 1830s and 1840s by Sir Charles Barry and W A Nesfield.
Trentham, formerly an Augustinian priory, was purchased in 1540 by James Leveson. By 1746 the house made from the priory buildings had been replaced by a much larger building, accompanied by an extensive formal landscape. In 1759 Lancelot Brown was commissioned to rework the lake and park and later to enlarge the south, garden front of the house. In 1833-4 Charles Barry was engaged to transform what was already a large house into an Italian-style palace and to lay out before it a great formal garden. However, by 1907 the pollution of the River Trent, which runs through the site, had made the house uninhabitable, and it was demolished in 1910-11.