Stourhead is a wonderful National Trust property located just off the A303 in Wiltshire. If you are travelling down to the west country, allow time to stop off and visit. The house was owned by the Hoare banking family, and there is still a family member in residence. The house, although small, has some wonderful rooms to spend time in, with each room having its own National Trust volunteer who will impart stories of the family and the room contents. The picture gallery is one of my favourite rooms and also the room with the piano, where visitors are invited to play.
I usually visit the house and the kitchen garden first and then have lunch in the National Trust restaurant. They always have an excellent soup of the day with delicious sandwiches, or a full lunch menu. There is also a pub which serves lunches, but I find it is often busy and prefer the NT restaurant.
Following lunch I like to take time to walk around the estate garden. The path should be walked bearing to the right from the entrance as then you see everything from the best angle. The temples and follies are designed to be only seen if you walk in that direction. On one occasion I had a friend with my who could only walk short distances and we utilised the free NT golf buggy transport which runs part way around the garden. The information given to us by the volunteer driver was really interesting and informative. The garden is worth a visit at any time of year, but is exceptionally beautiful in the early spring and the autumn.
I often have friends visiting from other countries and I always take them to Stourhead. The National Trust is unique, and they are amazed to hear how the National Trust maintains our stately homes so that they can be appreciated by everyone.
I never tire of Stourhead and it is somewhere I like to go to relax and unwind.