The garden at Stourhead, designed by the banker Henry Hoare II (1705-85), is a superb example of English landscape gardening. He was inspired by his travels and paintings by Claude Lorraine and Nicholas Poussin, in which nature is presented in luminous shades of colour. The gardens are studded with temples and feature a lake lined with carefully planted trees and conifers. The house is also open to the public and its state rooms are definitely worth a visit.
Address :BA12 6QD Mere
house: end Jul-early Sep: 11am-5pm; mid Feb-mid Mar: weekends 11am-3pm; mid Mar-mid Jul and early Sep-end Oct: daily except Wed and Thu 11am-5pm; Dec: Fri-Sun 11am-3pm - closed Nov and mid Dec-mid Feb - King Alfred's Tower: end Jul-early Sep: noon-4pm; mid Mar-mid Jul and early Sep-early Oct: weekends noon-4pm - closed early Nov-mid Mar, last admission 30min before closing - garden: 9am-6pm (or dusk)