Stourhead

Stourhead garden

Wikipedia says that Stourhead is one of the most famous gardens set out in the English landscape garden style, That comes as a surprise to me because until we visited (almost by accident), I had never heard of it. Not that I am an expert in gardens in the English landscape garden style. Still, ‘famous’ anything means famous.

It’s not to my taste. It is pretty, but it is too manufactured. The careful placing of the building, the little bridge that is totally unnecessary because the head of the lake is just a few metres away. It is too planned for my taste.

The building you can see across the lake is referred to as the Pantheon, and it had a function when Mr Hoare the banker lived at the big house. He would invite his guests to dine in the Pantheon, with the heating provided under the floor from the ovens in the kitchen behind. There are statues of Greek mythical figures around the inside of the room, with Achilles taking centre stage.

The best of the garden are the trees. And rhododendrons twenty or thirty feet tall. They were just in bloom when we visited – in reds and purples.

It is a National Trust property now.

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