A Visit to Stourhead, Wiltshire

There has been one National Trust property on my to-do list for what seems like forever – Stourhead in Wiltshire.

On our recent visit to Longleat we drove past the familiar brown sign and I made a promise that this would be the year we visited and we did just that in the Easter holidays.

Silly me didn’t put the satnav on as I just assumed that as I had seen the signpost near Warminster that it would be close by, but actually we panicked a little as the signs disappear for a while and we thought we had missed our turning.

Stourhead is a huge 1,072-hectare estate at the source of the River Stour, in Wiltshire.

Stourhead

We were very lucky to visit on one of the only sunny days in the Easter holiday, having left home in fog, and picked up our Cadbury Easter Egg trail booklets, heading into the estate to solve the clues.

Stourhead NT

Despite the rain over the last few weeks, the paths were clear and mud free which was a real blessing although there was a strange haze hanging over the area.

Easter Egg Hunt

We had to follow a map to find the clues to follow the ‘song of spring’ to discover who has helped with the arrival of spring, which led down to the stunning waters edge.

NT Stourhead

The River Stour is fed from greensand springs at Stourhead where it forms a series of stunning artificial lakes. The river actually flows south from here, very close to our house and out to sea at Christchurch, so it was really interesting to see where the river starts. The egg hunt was over pretty quickly, so the kids collected their prize and then we got to explore the grounds at our leisure.

Easter Eggs

The gardens at Stourhead are described as “Perhaps the most beautiful and magical of all of the great landscape gardens, Stourhead presents an English 18th-century view of Arcadian paradise” and I can see why, even when they are not quite in bloom.

Stourhead Swans

There is something unique to explore and find around every corner which kept the kids interested, despite it being the longest walk we have down around a National Trust property.

Stourhead Urn

The kids were keen to visit the Temple of Apollo which was situated over the opposite side of the lake.

Temple of Apollo

The pathway to the temple led us passed a historic rock arch which was perfect to explore.

Rock Arch

Past an old working water wheel, set against a backdrop complete with woodland and waterfall.

Waterwheel

Along a path by the lake where we could get up close and personal to the resident ducks and swans.

Swan

The Temple of Apollo overlooks the magnificent gardens and offers a beautiful view back across the lake.

Stourhead

Inside are several statues which all relate back to the the story the kids were finding for their Easter Egg hunt. Isaac was especially interested and was full of questions for the staff that were inside.

Temple of Apollo inside

A little farther along the path is a Gothic Cottage where the kids got to have a sit down on some cute wooden chairs.

Gothic Cottage

Then it was time to explore the fascinating ice houses which date back to the 17th century and were a means of providing ice all year round.

Ice House

We spent a good few hours exploring everything that Stourhead has to offer but still missed quite a bit, so are planning on returning to see the gardens in full bloom and again in autumn to see the flaming autumnal colours of the trees reflected in the magnificent lake, which are apparently breathtaking.

Stourhead Tree

There are also holiday cottages available to rent on site, a large NT shop and a cafe serving food, drinks and ice cream and of course plenty of picnic areas to relax in, so Stourhead is perfect for a day out for any age.

Stourhead Church

Oh, and it’s a photographers dream location!!

Magnolia

Have you visited Stourhead before?

Country Kids
 

 

19 thoughts on “A Visit to Stourhead, Wiltshire

  1. We have never visited Stourhead but it looks absolutely wonderful! Glad you had a fantastic day, the pictures are amazing! I am hoping to get out and about more often this year and this looks like the perfect place to check out 🙂 Sim x

  2. I love exploring places like this – we have never visited Sourhead but it is definitely on our list of places to go to. Looks like you had lovely weather for it!

  3. I have seen so many posts from here over the years I almost feel as though I’ve been! The gardens are so stunning with the big lake and outbuildings. I really must visit one day to see these gorgeous sights for myself. How lovely to discover the river actually runs close to your home too. Always a bonus to arrive while the Easter Egg hunts are on and I must say the gardens look more spring like than I would have expected from the weather we had at that time.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  4. We love National Trust properties as we are members as well. Not been to Stourhead so this looks like an amazing place to head to especially with the kids. So lucky that you had good weather for it too…

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