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Stourhead Garden & Estate in England

Lily pads in upper pond

In mid-June we visited the Stourhead garden and estate outside of London.  We had limited time in England so this was the only major garden we were able to visit on our trip. Plus, it just happened to be along the route we were already taking to get to Stonehenge.

I loved the garden. Since we got to Stourhead around lunch, we stopped at the cafe for a couple sandwiches and drinks to enjoy in the garden. This was our first impression of the garden:

View of lake and gardens

On our walk around the garden we talked briefly with one of the chattier guides, who filled us in on the story behind the garden. Apparently, it all started with Henry Hoare II in the 1740’s.  We were told Henry wanted to add “focal points” to the woods behind his estate so he could ride his horse around a trail and see grand buildings (or destinations) in the distance. Henry had a grand vision. He not only built his own Pantheon, Temple of Flora, Temple of Apollo and a grotto, he strategically placed each one around his man made lake.

The next big change to the landscape happened in 1785 when Henry’s grandson, Richard Colt Hoare, inherited the estate. Before Richard came along, only native trees and plants dotted the landscape. He added his personal touch by collecting exotic trees and plants and turning the landscape into the park-like garden it is today. The National Trust has owned and maintained the estate since the 1940’s, making it available to everyone (for a fee). I highly recommend visiting this garden.

We took many pictures on our walk around the garden. Here are our favorites:

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Were these pics in your slideshow?? I don’t remember these from your par-tay. Very nice!!

    October 10, 2010
    • I didn’t include all the pictures in the slideshow. We took so many pictures that I only included a couple from each place we visited. I didn’t want you guys sitting there forever! ;) I’ll try posting them here when I can.

      October 11, 2010
  2. Nice! I’m homesick for England… though I’ve never lived three!

    October 11, 2010
    • Every time I look through our pictures I get ‘homesick’ too. I love it there – in France too. It’s all the old stone buildings and walled gardens that I miss. ;)

      October 11, 2010
  3. That first shot is incredible. Can you imagine having all that land to grow plants and trees on?

    October 12, 2010
    • I think I would go crazy with that much land! I really admire the variety of mature trees planted around the estate. Even with minimal flowers it had plenty of visual interest and texture. It was a stunning example of what to do with a very large space. ;)

      October 13, 2010
  4. Why, oh, why, did I not spend more time visiting gardens while I was living there. I would have loved to seen this one.

    October 16, 2010

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