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Stourhead Gardens

This imaginative garden is a retelling through landscape design of Virgil's Aeneid. Created by the banker Henry Hoare II between 1741-1780, the garden was inspired by his Grand Tour of Italy and features a Palladian mansion, a lovely lake, several follies, banks of rhododendrons and an arboretum of rare trees.

A tour of the garden should begin at the beautiful Palladian mansion (built 1720), which sits atop the steep-sided valley with views over the lake. An anti-clockwise tour of the garden brings the visitor past a grotto and a temple where the River Stour gushes out of the hillside. Around the corner is a folly version of the Roman Pantheon, with steps leading up to a pedimented portico. The Temple of the Sun (dedicated to Apollo) is the final destination, with wonderful views over the lake.

The garden's rhododendron collection is particularly fine, with many of the shrubs planted over 100 years ago. The arboretum has trees from all over the world, including one of the earliest Chinese Dove Trees ever planted in the UK. Also known as the handkerchief tree for it's pendulous white blossoms, the Davidia involucrata is a sight to behold when flowering in the spring.

The Pantheon at Stourhead viewed across the lake

Stourhead Gardens Information


When: Daily

Where: Stourton

Cost: House and Gardens £9.90; child £4.80; family £23.50

Opening Hours: Garden open all year 9am-7pm; House Mar-Oct

Address: Stourton, BA12 6QD

Hotels near Stourhead Gardens


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