Skip to content

Things to see in the garden at Stourhead

A view of the bridge and lake at Stourhead in autumn with red and green trees either side of the water and the domed Temple of Apollo in the background
The Palladian Bridge at Stourhead, Wiltshire | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

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.

Lakeside treats

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.

Children sit in the cave grotto at Stourhead and listen to a man talking and gesticulating
Kids will love exploring the Grotto | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Architectural features

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:

The Grotto

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.

The Pantheon

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.

View over the lake Stourhead  on a sunny day with some trees in the foreground
The garden at Stourhead | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

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.

Family exploring the garden at Stourhead, Wiltshire

Discover more at Stourhead

Find out when Stourhead is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

You might also be interested in

View over the lake Stourhead  on a sunny day with some trees in the foreground
Article
Article

History of the garden at Stourhead 

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.

A small dog on a lead on the grass
Article
Article

Visiting Stourhead with your dog 

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.

Visitors and their dog walking with far reaching views all around at Whitesheet Hill near Stourhead in Wiltshire
Article
Article

Explore the estate at Stourhead 

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.

A view of the Entrance Hall, its walls covered in portraits, at Stourhead, Wiltshire
Article
Article

Things to see inside Stourhead House 

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.

A flowering rhododendron with the Pantheon overlooking the lake in the background at Stourhead, Wiltshire
Article
Article

Group visits to Stourhead 

Find out everything you need to know about booking a group visit to Stourhead, from admission prices and benefits to educational tours.

Sunrise over Croome, Worcestershire

Gardens and parks 

From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.

A gardener tending to the borders at Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Gardening tips 

Discover our gardeners’ top tips so you can make the most of your garden, plot or window box.

Families explore by the lake at Stourhead, which is surrounded by trees in autumn yellows and oranges

Gardens and parks in Wiltshire 

There's plenty of inspiration to be found in gardens and parks near you. Get outdoors and explore a few favourite Wiltshire gardens with all the family.