She recognizes that several factors go into the creation of a successful garden… a handful of powdery swans, fragrant rhododendrons the size of her head, happy birds singing tiny tunes, and a sense of mindfulness that goes beyond the five senses and dips into something more ethereal. Many parks can get away with such an illusion, yet few and far between are authentic and absolute. But oh, how Stourhead reaffirms her beliefs and sends her soul soaring with romantic notations and happy feet pittering around the grounds.
Away from London’s busy streets, a stone’s throw from Stonehenge, and in the midst of one’s imagination of the English countryside, this National Trust treasure is for all with a penchant for blooms, birds, and Mr. Darcy.
The Stourhead grounds located in Wiltshire are over 500 years old and took several hundred years to sculpt into perfection. Beginning with the Stourton family, Stourhead’s most famous resident was Henry Hoare who’s descendants lived in the property’s 18th-century villa complete with a regency library, impressive picture gallery, and Italian and Classical accents.
The gardens, however, is the true spellbinder with Romanesque statues throughout, a stone grotto sheltering a beautiful nymph, and three temples— The petite and ever-so-charming Temple of Floral, The grand Pantheon which houses several Gods and Godesses, and the wonderfully romantic Temple of Apollo, where Mr. Darcy confesses his love to Elizabeth Bennett during that stormy scene in Joe Wright’s 2005 Pride & Prejudice.
Also found on the grounds is the mysterious Gothic Cottage that reminds of her tales such as Hansel and Gretel, whilst outside hundreds of varieties of flora and fauna can be spotted such as chestnut, cherry, and holly trees, as well as Orchids, Bluebells, and rare tree sparrows.
Furthermore, Stourhead has a quaint B&B on the grounds, as well as exclusive holiday cottages perfect for wedding parties and special occasions (which The Embariste was ever so lucky to stay in, and my oh my, were they divine!) Several cafe’s, pubs, and a lovely little village filled with gift shops, art studios, and florists is on the preperty as well.
Nearby day excursions can include a trip to Stonehenge, Bath, and smaller whimsical towns such as Frome and Bruton (where she must recommend a meal At The Chapel.)
With a happy heart, The Embarkiste is sure she will visit Stourhead time and time again. Until then, there’s always this to think of.
all photo credits by The Embarkiste *