Things to see in the garden at Stourhead
There's so much to see in Stourhead's garden, with spectacular landscapes and architectural treasures galore. Whether you want to take a stroll or lay out a blanket and soak up the sights, sounds and smells of this world-renowned estate, you're sure to have a memorable visit.
Walks around the garden
650th anniversary of the Bristol Cross
Visitors can now discover the intriguing origins of the Bristol Cross, the oldest known structure in the National Trust’s care at Stourhead.
The Bristol Cross stands at the entrance to the garden, one of Stourhead’s most recognisable views, but it began life in the centre of the medieval city of Bristol. New interpretation panels will show visitors how the cross, which was erected in 1373, came to live at Stourhead, and its captivating history.
One of the main focal points of Stourhead's garden is its lake. Take the path alongside it to enjoy magnificent vistas, the atmospheric Grotto and Gothic Cottage, plus a wide range of plants and trees.
Views from the house
Those looking for a slightly longer walk can take the route that meanders up past Stourhead House. You'll be met with incredible views across the landscape towards temples and beautiful reflections in the lake.
These views change with the seasons, meaning no two visits are ever the same and there are always new wonders to be discovered.
The garden was developed in the early 18th century when classical inspiration was all the rage. As such, there are many architectural creations to look out for while exploring the grounds. Here are some of the highlights:
Grottos were popular in Italian Renaissance gardens as places to escape from the summer heat. Stourhead's Grotto is a circular, domed chamber that was built to resemble a cave.
Inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, this structure is the largest garden building at Stourhead. Pantheon means 'temple sacred to all the gods'. This is a good spot to stop a while and enjoy the vista across the lake.
The Temple of Apollo
This circular temple was built in honour of Apollo, the sun god. Nestled on a hilltop, it offers clear views over the lake and is a popular venue for civil ceremonies.
The Temple of Flora
Dedicated to the Roman goddess of flowers and spring, the Temple of Flora was the first garden building to be added at Stourhead. Over the doorway, the Latin inscription reads: ‘Keep away, anyone profane, keep away,’ requesting everyone to enter in the right spirit.
The Palladian Bridge
Although ornamental, Stourhead's Palladian Bridge was intended to look practical. Designed to create the illusion that a river flows through the village and under the bridge, it’s a great spot to take family photographs as a memory of your visit.
Discover the history of Stourhead's garden, from its creation by Henry Hoare II in the 18th century, to the various buildings and features that have been added since.
Find out about visiting the Stourhead estate with your dog, from where you can and can't take them, to the facilities available to dog owners. Stourhead is a two pawprint rated place.
Explore the wider countryside around the Stourhead estate. Discover an Iron Age hillfort, Alfred’s Tower and ancient woodland. Then rest a while and listen to the wide variety of birds and creatures that call this estate home.
Stourhead House was one of the first Palladian-style villas to be built in England. Find out more about the Hoare family's home and why they decided to make this their main residence outside of London.
Find out everything you need to know about booking a group visit to Stourhead, from admission prices and benefits to educational tours.
From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.
Discover our gardeners’ top tips so you can make the most of your garden, plot or window box.