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Stourhead House and Gardens

Stourhead House and Gardens

Stourhead House

Stourhead House was built for the banker Henry Hoare I around 1725 by the eminent Scottish architect Colen Campbell. Hoare’s Bank is still run by the Hoare family, is the oldest English bank and is still independent. The design of Stourhead House was known as ‘Palladian’ which at the time was newly fashionable. It featured symmetry, temples and classical architecture of the Greeks and Romans.

Henry Hoare I passed away the year in which the house was completed and his son Henry Hoare II became the owner. Henry Hoare II was an influential character and gained the nickname ‘Henry the Magnificent’. He developed the house further, laid out the Stourhead Gardens and was a patron of the Arts, and so acquired a great collection of paintings and sculptures.

From then on the house was owned by generations of the Hoare family but it went through various hardships throughout the years. The Heirlooms sale was necessary in 1883 to raise funds to keep the house going despite family debts. This was sadly followed by a devastating fire in 1902. The house was restored a few years later - then finally given to the National Trust in 1946 to ensure the estate was kept intact.

Stourhead Garden

Equally important to Stourhead House are Stourhead Gardens which again were developed by ‘Henry the Magnificent’ with the help of his architect Flitcroft. Henry was both well-educated and well-travelled and was influenced by great landscape gardeners of the time such as William Kent and Capability Brown.

Henry based Stourhead Gardens around a huge man-made lake and the gardens became a journey around the lake following various paths. The lake is a great feature of the garden and helps to create vistas and reflections of magnificent specimen trees and garden buildings: the Temple of Flora, the Temple of Apollo, the Pantheon and the Grotto. The gardens are home to the UK’s tallest English Oak, and look especially good in autumn when the colours are truly stunning.

Stourhead House and Gardens

Stourhead House and Gardens are large so please allow at least half a day for your visit so you can savour the whole experience. We recommend outdoor clothing and appropriate shoes in the winter time. Please check the National Trust website for opening times, admission prices and accessibility.

Where to Stay

If you are looking for accommodation in the area then why not book into the Holiday Inn Salisbury-Stonehenge. Located in the heart of the Wiltshire just off the A303, it is a great location for visiting local attractions. If you are after a bite to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner, then the well renowned Solstice Bar & Grill provides a great menu and a welcoming atmosphere.

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