I arranged to meet a girlfriend here yesterday for lunch - Stourhead consists of a 1720's Palladian mansion which was the home of the Hoare family, owners of Britain's only surviving independent Bank. The magnificent interior includes an outstanding regency library, extensive art collection and furniture by Chippendale. The star of the show though and often referred to as the finest in the UK, is the landscape garden, constructed between 1741 and 1780. There are classical temples including the Pantheon and Temple of Apollo (used as the location for Darcy's futile proposal to Lizzy in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly) set around a central lake and a series of vistas which change as the visitor moves around the paths and through the magnificent mature woodland which houses an extensive collection of exotic trees. There are also two iron age hill forts in the grounds of the estate. It is breathtaking in every season and a wonderful place for a long (or short!) walk.
A mansion to satisfy the most discerning......
and fortunately for us, a lovely pub right next door!
Our plan was to have a 'pub lunch' and then walk it off in the glorious grounds....I wish I could say that's indeed how it turned out but, I cannot tell a lie.....we arrived at midday and left at 9.15 p.m. (YES 9.15!!!!!) When we went to pay the bill, there was the evidence...coffee, lunch, afternoon tea & dinner!! Oh my, how time flies when you're having fun .....s