Stourhead

Stourhead Landscape Gardens and House

Stourhead Gardens and House

Stourhead landscaped gardens are the best in the world. The grounds at Stourhead is a work of art on an enormous scale, a statement of Britain’s birth as a free and powerful nation. Created in the 18th Century, taking a damp valley and transforming it into sacred space; described as a paradise on earth, it was quite an engineering project. But, then to know your efforts would only come to fruition after your death.

Although Stourhead is much admired in Britain and people visit in large numbers, but, the gardens are so extensive you can feel like you have the place to yourself. A visit here makes you feel like you have discovered a local secret as the gardens are lesser-known globally. 

Your guide can explain what Stourhead tells you; there is a subliminal message in the layout and temples of the garden. A landscape with a meaning, it is all very intriguing. Take a day tour from London to Stourhead, or stay overnight in the City of Bath and have us design a Private Tour of England for you that includes the Gardens at Stourhead.

The finest landscaped gardens in Europe

A brief history of Stourhead

The House
Stourhead House is one of the first buildings in the country to use a Palladian style of design; it became an inspiration for further builds. The statues above the pedimented portico which add to the beauty of the exterior. The house is not always open; it is a handsome place and worth exploring. However, the garden tend to be the big draw. 

The Gardens
Considered to be one of England’s most incredible gardens, Stourhead is one of the most remarkable landscaped estates in Europe. It all began in the 1740s by Henry Hoare, who inherited the estate and transformed it into a breath-taking work of art.

Ask your driver-guide to take you to the Temple of Apollo which overlooks the 18th Century garden a view that features in the film, Pride and Prejudice. The whole visit is an experience; Tunnels lead to an artificial cave with a pool and a life-size statue of the River Stour guardian. The walk around the garden is full of carefully contrived viewpoints with meaning, all designed to provoke thought. 

The Pantheon
The largest and most impressive temple on the grounds, the Pantheon was modelled on the original in Rome. Imagine a candlelit dinner inside on a chilly evening; you are surrounded by larger than life statues of the gods; Diana, the huntress, Isis, the magical goddess, Flora of flowering plants and spring, and Hercules of strength. The Pantheon temple at Stourhead, conceived for that eccentric dinner party, for special guests.

The grand tour and art 
Paintings acquired in Europe depicted idyllic scenes, landscapes of the countryside that did not exist. These paintings included temples, water features, bridges and attractive buildings.

The pictures that influenced Stourhead; ‘Landscape with Aeneas at Delos’ is a painting by 17th-century artist, Claude Lorrain that resides in London’s National Gallery. Planting positions of trees and temples at Stourhead maybe influenced by the pictures of Nicolas Poussin. These ‘Picturesque’ paintings of landscapes were fantasies. It is curious that in England, we have hundreds of picturesque man-made landscapes inspired by made-up paintings of Italy or France. These romantic images of the continent thrive here in England; living works of art on a grand scale.

Touring and accommodation 
Other places of interest nearby include iconic Stonehenge, lesser-known Avebury Stone Circle. A great day for children would consist of a visit to Longleat House and Safari Park. Spiritual Glastonbury and the City of Wells is also near Stourhead and is an easy day trip from Bath

Amble, relax and enjoy England’s most significant contribution to European culture. We love Stourhead, and we have various suggested itineraries that feature estate. See our Private Town and Country Tour. We also provide day tours from London to Stourhead, such as our suggested Stourhead, Old Wardour Castle and Wiltshire villages tour. . Our Tour Designers will always customise a trip based on your interests and accommodation preferences. 

Stourhead has vacation cottages on the grounds. The accommodation is simple, but they are genuine historic homes in the gardens. Imagine waking up and taking your coffee on the lawns of Stourhead before the public has access - just wonderful. Staying in Bath is an excellent option. We would suggest the Royal Crescent Hotel, an iconic hotel in the centre of the famous Royal Crescent street. The Bath Priory on the outskirts of Bath, has the feel of country house hotel. 

The greatest landscape garden

Stay overnight and explore afterhours

  • Tailored Day Tour from London
  • Expert DRIVER GUIDED Tour
  • Stay Overnight nearby in Bath
  • Stay Overnight on the Garden Grounds
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