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A few days ago, on the drive to a weekend away at the Henge Estate, we passed by the magnificent Stourhead Estate. A stunning property set in 2650 acres on the Wiltshire/Somserset border, Stourhead was originally created in the mid 1700’s by Sir Richard Hoare, a very wealthy banker. The garden was the brainchild of Sir Richard’s grandson Henry Hoare (‘The Magnificent’) who, after inheriting Stourhead, wanted to transform the gardens of the estate into a living work of art after doing a grand tour of Europe in the 1740’s.
The Hoare family owned Stourhead until they eventually passed the estate into the care of the National Trust in 1947 (If you don’t already have a National Trust membership, I would highly recommend it as they have SO many spectacular properties in their care and a years membership makes it so much more affordable to visit them. Read my post 30 Of The Best National Trust Properties if you’re interested in seeing more of the amazing places you can visit through them).
This landscaped garden isn’t referred to as a living work of art for nothing. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing the gardens at Stourhead are and it remains one of the National Trust’s most popular sites. There are a lovely selection of classical style temples to explore as you take a stroll around the lake, including the Temple of Flora, the Pantheon and the Temple of Apollo which you might recognise as the location where Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth Bennet in the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice. If you have the weather with you, make sure to stop for a picnic by the Palladian Bridge, you’ll get the best views out over the lake with a gorgeous reflection of the Pantheon on the water.
Find out opening times and directions to Stourhead on the National Trust website.