England’s Stourhead Landscape Garden

Stourhead is one of the most famous examples of the English landscape garden. It’s a 2,650-acre estate located at the River Stour in Wiltshire, England. The gardens were completed in the 1740s, and were widely described as being a work of art.

History of Stourhead

The Stourhead estate was originally home to the Stourton family. The estate changed ownership during the early 18th century, and a new manor home was built by the new owners, the Hoare family. Many additions have been made over the centuries, including the building of three temples, a tower, an ornamental cottage, and a Grecian-style lodge.

Landscape Gardens at Stourhead

Although visitors to Stourhead are enchanted by the architectural wonders of the mansion, it’s the gardens that most come to see. Exploring the gardens is a journey in spirituality. Visitors follow a path around an artificially created lake. The path is intended to bring to mind the mythological journey of Aeneas (son of Aphrodite) as he traveled to the underworld. The path and the exquisite gardens along it are intended to guide visitors through various states of mind that are replicated in the artwork collected by the Hoare family.

Access to Stourhead

There is a fee for access to Stourhead. Disabled parking and bathroom facilities are available for guests. During the main season, there is a shuttle bus service from the visitor reception area to the house and garden entrances. The marked routes in the garden are wheelchair accessible, although visitors should be wary of some steep paths. Advance booking is required to use the stair climber in the house.

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