Another Sunday, another ‘staycation’, and this week we visited the stunning Stourhead House & Gardens.
The 2,650 acre estate lies in the Wiltshire countryside, around 25 minutes drive south-west of Warminster. Gifted to the National Trust in 1946 by it’s last named proprietor, Sir Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare, the property is steeped in history & majesty in equal measure. It is hard to imagine the wealth belonging to the family capable of achieving such grandeur, though it helped that they were the founders of the United Kingdom’s first bank!
Stourhead House is a Palladian-style villa built as an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life for the family, and as you might expect from this family, it is built atop a bank vault! This place is full of quirks, and nowhere else is this more evident than in the grotto.
Like walking in to the mouth of a mythical dragon, The Grotto (pictured above) serves only one purpose: to amaze, and that it certainly does. It has been standing for over 260 years but is still as mysterious today. Offering stunning views over the lake, this is a highlight along one of the estates many walks and cannot be missed.
Stourhead is situated in the village of Stourton and, although a little tricky to get to, it is worth the extra effort. Bring a picnic, enjoy a local ice cream or sit down to something more filling in the restaurant. We stopped for lunch at the Spread Eagle Inn – a traditional English country pub with delicious food & fantastic service. Bring plenty of water (or a flask of tea), wear a comfy pair of shoes and make a day of it. There are so many different paths, gardens & architectural points of interest, you could spend hours aimlessly wandering around the estate. It is almost timeless.
Entrance to the house and gardens is £16.60 per adult or free to National Trust members. Parking is £4 per day and is only really accessible by car. The nearest bus stop is over 1 mile away and the service is infrequent. If you read a lot of our blog posts, you will know we don’t drive, so a special thanks goes to Kathryn & Andrew for being our escorts today and making this post possible!
So there you have it! Our summary of a picture-perfect ‘Sunday constitutional’. Visit the National Trust website for more factual information and event timetables.
If you liked this blog post, you’ll be interested to know we stopped off at neighbouring National Trust site King Alfred’s Tower on the way home. You can read all about it on a blog post coming soon!