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“Stourhead Gardens, National Trust”

Stourhead House and Garden
Ranked #2 of 17 things to do in Warminster
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed March 28, 2012

I have been to Stourhead Gardens many times and it is my favourite National Trust Gardens. On this visit I went on a big walk to King Alfred's Tower, a nice walk but quite long and good views from the top of the tower which is also free if you are a National Trust member. The Gardens are beautiful with a big lake and lovely Pantheon and Grotto. The trees looked lovely with their autumn covers and the reflections on the lake are lovely. There is a leaflet you can buy with different walks to do from easy short one to long walks. I had the bonus of lovely weather. I have ticked that there is a fee for this attraction, I do not know how much it costs, but if you are a National Trust member the entrance fee is free.

1  Thank LBaber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 26, 2012

We visited this National Trust property two days ago on a beautiful warm Spring day. The blue sky was a perfect backdrop for the trees and lakes (and the Follies dotted around the grounds) . There is a warm welcome as you come through reception, and a map of the grounds is always provided if you want one. You do not show your NT cards at this point, because from here, you walk down the zig-zagging path to the Spread Eagle pub- open to the public. There is a small art gallery here, too.
e brought our little dog with us on this visit, and the young lady in the reception building told us that we could walk within the estate but around the outside of the formal gardens, but could not go inside. This was disappointing but quite understandable, given that some owners are irresponsible about their pets. We were able to take a peaceful road path down the side of the gardens, passing through an archway and then heading down to pass the lake and waterwheel of the old pumping station. We actually got a better view of this lake than the people inside the gardens. Moorhens and grebes, mallards and other small wild birds were visible. The path follows the side of the hill and though a gate/cattle grid to the open moorland-fileds beyond. 2 miles beyond on this path is King Alfred's Tower, another lovely NT "folly" to visit. It is 160 feet high. It was not open on the day we visited as there had been some storm damage over the winter and restoration work was being carried out.
Up a banking just through the cattel grid is a further pond, and sleepy mallard ducks rest on the grass or swim on the water., What was truly incredible for me was the life underthe water. Little fishes, and frogs. Lots of little yellow frogs, blinking in the sunshine. I was amazed to see a "ball" of frogs- looking like a rugby scrum, with the female hidden underneath. I have only ever seen this on the television!
Back to the walk. Walking around the back of the estate, drinking in the fresh air and the scenery, you eventually come back to the Big House. It is worth noting that this is a wonderful place to visit and well worth a few hours of your time (but we could not go in on this occasion as we had our dog with us. If you are planning to visit, check on the opening times as the house is not open every day! The gardens around the house are worth a visit.

The formal gardens are fabulous. We visited in the autumn (this time without our dog) and spent several hours wandering the paths through the woods. There are some parts of the path with steps but where this is the case, a wheelchair/pushchair "bypass" has been built. We were impressed with this! There is a good variety of trees and shrub, and bulbs in season. There are several "temples" and a grotto, to explore, and a beautiful lake to walk around. Some of the redwood trees are enormous. Even when there are other people around, apart from the busiest of days, you will fimd the gardens peaceful.
If you do like peace and quiet, try to visit earler or later in the day, especially in school holidays as there can be a number of small children running around at peak times.
Having exhausted your legs, you can either sit on one of the lawns, on a bench, or you can wander up to the Spread Eagle for coffee/something stronger.
Or you can go back up the zigzag path to the NT shop and cafe, and treat yourself to a cream tea. Their sandwiches are good but there is a limited variety.
As National Trust members, your carparking is free.
We had a fabulous day and although we have been twice, we would definitely go again..this time to visit the House!

1  Thank rainbowsue0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2012

We have returned to Stourhead numerous times for a casual Sunday afternoon stroll around the truly magnificent gardens that feel welcoming and "timeless" at all times of year. There is also an excellent pub named The Spread Eagle within the rounds that serves excellent food whilst offering an excellent atmosphere.
The house itself provides a wealth of information in some impressive surroundings with your typical "National Trust elderly ladies" (no offence if your reading this!) being on hand to provide information.
My only words of warning are to put aside at least 4 hours of your day for this, possibly slightly more if you are planning on eating there as there is a lot to see. Fees can be expensive for entry into "everything" and separate charges are made for parking and food prices are toppy. That being said it all goes to a good cause and as we are Trust members it didn't really affect us.

5 out of 5 for trust members, would be 4, purely down to costs if non members!

Thank Rich S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2012

I enjoy walking and there is plenty of walking at Stourhead.The House and the walled Garden I found interesting.The colours of the trees in autumn is wonderful.

Thank jackie209964
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2012

Take a picnic, grab a coffee, explore it thoroughly.
Highlights - the walk around the lake, the walled garden, the artists studio.
Great coffee opportunities.
Take a camera.
Pack a light picnic.
Don't worry about the weather.
Prepare for crowds in the summer.

Thank HappyHayling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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