A Living Work of Art

A walk in the landscape, not just any old landscape. 

Over 250 years ago, this one had the accolade of being described as a living work of art.

These trunks all belong to one tree – a Western Red Cedar, it is one of the tallest of its kind at 40.8m (134ft).

Welcome to Stourhead, the acclaimed landscape created in the 1740s by ‘Henry the Magnificent’ which changed the way gardens were designed forever.

Henry Hoare dominated the Hoare family through his wealth and personal charisma; for 60 years he was a partner in the C. Hoare & Co. Bank. The bank is the oldest privately owned banking house in the country, founded by Sir Richard Hoare, in 1672. It still remains family-owned and is currently managed by the 11th generation of Sir Richard Hoare’s direct descendants. Famous early customers were Catherine of Braganza – wife of Charles II, Samuel Pepys, John Dryden (poet) Sir Godfrey Kneller (painter) and Richard Beau Nash.

View from inside one of the Grottoes

The lake is central to the design at Stourhead, the lake’s edges being adorned with classical temples, enchanting grottoes and rare exotic trees.

Across the lake to the Palladio Bridge and St. Peter’s church.

Gothic Thatched Cottage

a warm welcome awaits inside

Originally called the Temple of Hercules this building featured a statue of that ancient hero who was associated with gardens in Roman times. By the mid 1760s, Henry Hoare had bought and installed six more statues to flank Hercules, and it became known as The Pantheon.



  1. Amazing photos! I particularly like the gothic cottage!

    1. Thank you Tom – it is a wonderful place to visit – hot drinks and snacks can be obtained in the cottage.

  2. The reds are so luscious, Rosemary.

    1. luscious describes the reds perfectly Andra.

  3. all our good days · · Reply

    you know I love a thatched cottage. I’m also so happy to see some colourful autumn trees! beautiful as always!

    1. Hi Roanna – how did you find this site? did you see it on my blog? Lovely to connect here, and glad that you enjoyed the autumn trees.

      1. all our good days · ·

        Hi Rosemary, I came across it right through your comment on my blog and thought i’d follow along here too!

  4. Your Stourhead photos are simply stunning, Rosemary. Time to shout this post from the rooftops 🙂

    1. Glad you enjoyed them Kate – it was a magical day.

  5. Simply gorgeous. And the colours…!

    1. Definitely worth a visit.

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