Stourhead house was built on a high plateau for the Hoare family, in the 18th century, as an escape from the bustle of London, becoming their home for generations. It was one of the first country villas in the country to be built in the grand Palladian-style, and throughout generations underwent numerous changes, one of them being the addition of Sir Richard Colt Hoare’s magnificent collection of objects (so large in fact, that he had to build extra wings to house them!). Stourhead is home to a collection of over 8000 objects, which tell the fascinating stories of the estate and the influence of its owners – this includes the ‘Pope’s cabinet’, which was made in Rome in 1585, and Britain’s most significant example of Italian cabinet-making!
The conservation and beautiful setting of the Palladian-style house and gardens has even been the set for the renowned BBC series, ‘In the Pursuit of Love’, standing in as the interiors of a Parisian apartment in the third episode and being transformed into a glamorous art-deco nightclub!
Once you’ve explored the history of Stourhead, take a tranquil walk around its gardens once described as “a living work of art” when it originally opened in the 1740s. It makes for a relaxing stroll all year round, walking beneath spectacular tree canopies as you wander the meandering paths around the lake and discover temples and hidden grottos! The garden becomes a magical retreat in spring, where the daffodils begin to bloom across the estate and beautiful carpets of bluebells create an explosion of colour throughout the woodlands. Keep an eye out for the garden’s abundance of wildlife, where ducks and birds make their home for hatching season.
Get closer to nature by exploring over 2500 acres of stunning countryside on the wider estate, from ancient woodlands to an Iron Age fort and King Alfred’s Tower. Choose from a variety of relaxing walking trails, including the Bonham Wood talking you through picturesque woodland, the Whitesheet Hill walk rewarding you with amazing panoramic views or King Alfred’s Tower walk which takes you through sites of historical interest and through charming woodlands.
Don’t forget to cap off your visit to Stourhead by indulging in their selection of delicious meals and treats from the restaurant and takeaway kiosk, or a bit of retail therapy at their shop with local produce. Add Stourhead to your stack and enjoy a wonderful day out in nature!
- Opening times, Monday-Sunday:
Garden and car park 09:00 – 16:00
House 11:00 – 16:00
Restaurant 09:30 – 16:30
Shop 10:00 – 17:00
(King Alfred’s Tower currently closed)
- Wheelchair accessible gravel paths with marked routes and stairclimbers are available to enable wheelchair users to access the house (must be booked in advance)