We spent the day visiting the National Trust property at Stourhead in Wiltshire. It’s a large estate that dates back to the 13th Century, but in 1717 it was sold to Henry Hoare and it remained the property of the Hoare family until it was given to the National Trust in 1946.  The current manor house was built by the Hoare family and filled with treasures from around the world.

Sadly the house was almost destroyed by a fire in 1902, but the staff managed to save almost all of the artwork and other treasures from the ground floor and the house was rebuilt to its former glory. The house itself is well worth a visit, although we were limited to a ground floor tour. There is a striking collection of artwork and furnishings to take in. You can follow Harry Hoare’s story around the estate and find out about his service and death during the First World War.

Aside from the house there is a stunning walled garden and a large lake. Visitors can walk all the way around the lake, taking in Greek themed buildings and more beautiful gardens en route. On the day we went the lake was looking a bit sad as its surface level has been lowered whilst some restoration and repair work is undertaken. But the walk around the lake is breathtaking and holds some surprises.

About two miles away from the main estate you will find Alfred’s Tower, a folly tower built in 1772 by Henry Hoare II, named for King Alfred the Great. You can climb to the top of the tower and get some great views. Well that’s what we were told at least, we were a bit too whacked to make the climb by the end of the day.

Here’s a few photos from the day, click through the slideshow to read the captions.

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