If you thought you recognised the feature picture from somewhere, you are right – Stourhead is where they filmed one of the most dramatic scenes of Pride and Prejudice (the new one with Keira Knitghley, not the Colin Firth one).
The good news is, you don’t need to be a Jane Austen heroine to enjoy the view – National Trust opens its door for everyone.
Stourhead Gardens, one of the key places to visit in Wiltshire, have it all: forests, ducks, architecture and cream teas. The key element making the place so magical is the lake. It dictates the paths around the gardens and makes for a spectacular mirror for the surrunding trees. I visited Stourhead in autumn and winter, and although I loved it both times, the reflections of yellow and orange trees in the lake in autumn are particularly stunning.
You can easily spend the whole day there as there are quite a few interesting spots to explore – the classical Temple of Flora, mysterious grotto, the Pantheon, the rock arch, the Palladian Bridge, the Temple of Apollo… Each one different, each one pretty amazing, altogether a unique mix.
I read somewhere that Henry ‘the Magnificent’ who took on the job of laiding out Stourhead wanted to make this place look unsurpassable. Well, I think he succedded.