What is it about a National Trust property that either sends me into period-drama induced frenzy, or pulling out my ‘all-gear-no-idea’ pensioner on holiday hiking gear? When Carrie mentioned that a visit to Stourhead would ideally make the birthday itinerary, we didn’t even need to revisit a certain rain scene from Pride and Prejudice before we’d packed our prairie dresses and pre-booked our slot for visiting (after all this is lockdown 2020, and not the late 1700s)…
And honestly- it was the perfect way to while away an afternoon before the weather changed its mind and graced us with the British-style summer we’d anticipated (even if we were only armed with picnic blankets as very makeshift umbrellas).
Whilst the house may have been currently closed, the grand landscape gardens on the estate (which in total stretch over 2,650-acres) were ready and welcome for us to explore- and with the blessing of a little sunshine and sensible shoe choices, we were more than happy to slowly explore the beautiful bucolic landscapes (perhaps whilst doing our best Lizzy, Jane and Kitty impressions too).
One of the special things about Stourhead is the complete variety of landscapes and scenes you’re likely to stumble across whilst trailing around the grounds. Although there are a handful of views that you may possibly be already familiar with; including The Pantheon and Temple of Apollo- we also stumbled across the rather magical hidden grotto nestled next to the water and seemingly endless pockets hidden around the lake that made for the prettiest picnic backdrop (with a few little puddle ducks joining us for crackers and bread- who can blame them)? Plus, with booking times allocated, nothing ever felt too busy or overrun, meaning you could safely soak up the sights without ever bumping into crowds of people.
It would be incredibly easy to spend a whole day soaking up the views and sights of Stourhead, and although we managed to take it in over a few hours (with picnic time included)- I can’t recommend adding a visit here to your list of things to do whilst in Somerset. I can only imagine how beautiful it looks in the autumn and winter when the seasonal colours change- and truly feel that it’s somewhere that is completely magical no matter the weather or season…
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