A couple of weeks ago, on our return drive from our Weekend in Devon, we decided to stop at the majestic Stourhead house & gardens to break up the journey. Located in Wiltshire, Stourhead was bought by the Hoare family in 1714 and one of the first palladian style houses in the country was built in the 1720’s. The Hoare family owned the property until is was passed to the National Trust in 1946 after the sole heir to the estate died in World War I.
The estate has over 2,500 of gardens to wander through with temples, ornamental cottages and a tower adding to the many vistas and pathways. The ever changing view as you walk around the lake adds to the dramatic nature of the estate. It does feel that any path will open onto an unexplored treasure. The statues in the pantheon and the grotto are a good place to stop on your walk around the garden.
Over the centuries the house has been expanded and adapted to meet the decor of the time. The current interior of the house is as impressive as the garden. The mass space of the library would make any readers relaxed in the comfort of a stylish turn of the 20th century library. Many of the rooms do look recently lived in, but that is likely to be due to the Hoare’s family current resident who has access to them. Much of the original artwork that the family owned was sold in the late 1800’s due to a member of the family who found himself in some financial trouble. There is still some very impressive pieces of art and furniture including the Pope Cabinet that was built for Pope Sixtus V and was purchased during a grand tour by Henry Hoare in the 18th Century. The cabinet has over 150 drawers including one that can not be opened.
As the estate is so large, it never feels busy and is a great place to take a picnic, enjoy the grounds and house at your leisure
Find out more about Stourhead at the National Trust website