I was actually visiting another lovely National Trust Garden in Somerset this day. On my way out, I asked if the staff knew of a circular walk in the area. They all looked at each other, big smile, and then they all agreed. “You have to go to Stourhead”.
Well Stourhead was nothing like I expected, and certainly no ordinary public footpath 🙂 It was no garden either. But it was definitely the best walk I have ever had.
Arriving at this garden there is a lovely tea room, a gift shop and a plant shop. I showed my National Trust card and entered the property. I was quite happy to see that dogs are allowed in the afternoons.
After walking just a few minutes I arrived at a walled garden filled with veg and flowers. Greenhouses, cold frames and loads of fruit trees. It was nice, but did not give any hint on what was in store.
After the walled garden you arrive on the main road to the manor house which is huge. It`s not a cozy romantic kind of manor, this is the huge, powerful almost a bit threatening type of building.
I am not very interested in houses as of now, so I just followed the signs for the landscape garden.
Through an open gate and arriving at small opening in the forest, I could suddenly see a temple in the distance. At that moment I understood where I was. I had admired this garden featured on Gardeners World on BBC, and could not believe my luck! I also googled this garden after watching the romantic movie ‘Pride & Prejudice’ where Darcy proposes to Lizzy in the pouring rain outside the Temple of Apollo.
The next 4 hours in this 1072 hectare huge garden, I ran around with my camera trying to capture all the lovely sights.
The sky opened more than once followed by sun, making everything shiny and sparkly with raindrops.
There is a leaflet available listing all the trees and bushes in the garden as everything is numbered.
You really must visit this garden, and when you do, please make sure to spend a few minutes on each bench as they are perfectly placed to give you a wonderful view, promise!!!
The garden was designed by Henry Hoare II (who build and owned the manor in the early 1700s), and was designed to show different views, as a series landscape paintings. A true piece of living art. The huge lake is the center, and around it he added bridges, grottoes, temples and filled it with exotic and rare plants.
National trust took over this property in 1940s, and have kept it really perfect ever since. I think Henry Hoare II would be proud!
Loads of old gates, this one takes of from the main path, I wonder where it leads?
How to get there:
The garden is situated in Wiltshire. There are no buses or trains near by, so a car is the best option.
Where to stay:
I actually found a perfect B&B / Inn only 40 mins car ride away from Stourhead and very close to about 5 other National Trust gardens.
It is called The fat Pigeon and actually has a really lovely garden it self. 🙂
Not expensive, not the best service, but such a grand estate to stay in!