Stourhead - Unique Places in Europe

Stourhead has been under the care of the National Trust since 1946.
Stourhead has been under the care of the National Trust since 1946.

Stourhead is the perfect illustration of what seventeenth-century artwork entailed. The magnificent estate occupies 1,072 hectares in Wiltshire, England. The estate constitutes a Palladian mansion, a village called Stourton, the gardens, and woodlands. Stourhead is a great place for visitors to enjoy the cool breeze of garden air with the sound of raging of waters at the background. It is conveniently located at the end of the beautiful River Stour which offers suitable humid conditions for the growth and blooming of the trees and garden plants.


One of Europe’s most excellent locations to visit, the Stourhead estate features a mansion, a village, farmland, and woodlands. The mansion is the most significant of all that is in the estate. Most of the credit for building the mansion goes to Nathaniel Ireson. Another great contributor to the architectural design of the mansion was Francis Cartwright, a provincial component designer and a carver of wood and stone. Changes that were made to the original design include the addition of three temples, the temple of Ceres in 1744, the temple of Hercules in 1754, and the temple of Apollo in 1765. John Carter added an ornamental cottage during the ownership of Sir Richard Colt Hoare. Plans to include Alfred’s tower were instituted in 1767 but it was built five years later.


The Stourhead family built and owned this magnificent property for over half a century, before selling it to the Hoare’s who owned it for about 250 years. This was before it was finally given to the National Trust in 1946 by Arthur Hoare. The magnificence of Stourhead estate was made by some of history’s best artists. Ernst Gombrich suggests that it bears the works of the famous Italian-French painter Lorrain. The garden was craftily landscaped in 1718 under the then ownership of Sir Richard Hoare, a wealthy banker. The banker also took the initiative of avidly purchasing Italian art by Lorrain.


Owned by National Trust since 1946, the uniqueness of Stourhead is not without reason. Firstly, there is the Palladian style built villa that is juxtaposed centrally within the estate. The villa offers excellent viewing angles of the surrounding gardens and woodlands and is a checkpoint for tourists who visit the grounds. The gardens are adorned by some of the freshest aromas from the flowers of trees and other plants. The garden vegetation is also magnificent to behold, diversified with flowers of blue, purple, yellow, and red among others. The three temples are a tower in the city within the gardens.


Stourhead is one of Europe’s top places to visit for most local and international tourists. The Palladium villa is the greatest captivator for visitors, besides the three temples, and the flower gardens surrounding the mansion. The Pantheon is reportedly the most famous feature among the gardens. It is a piece of artwork by Italian-French painter Claude Lorrain (1600-1682) depicting the journeys of Rome’s legendary founder Aeneas. About 200,000 visitors flood the tourism magnet each year to catch a glimpse of life in the seventeenth century.


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