I have to preface this post by stating that I was intent upon not enjoying Stourhead, and put it on our itinerary simply because so many bloggers, websites, etc., had said it was a "must see" garden. I am now officially eating my words, and have joined the ranks of those who say Stourhead is a place you definitely need to visit at least once.
For starters, the property is ridiculously big (2650 acres), and is uniquely sited in its own sheltered valley. It is, for good reason, considered one of the finest examples of 18th century landscape gardening still in existence. The category of "landscape garden" is one of the reasons I had decided I wouldn't like it. I'm clearly into flowers, borders, and the like, and am clear that I will never own 2650 acres on which to garden. Stourhead has no flower borders and no cutting garden. What is has, though, are simply breath-taking views in every direction!
As an example, this Temple is treated as a garden ornament at Stourhead. It's the size of my house! It comes in and out of view at several vantage points throughout the property.
This lake was created as another "decoration" in the mid 1700's.
Another shot of the Temple, below.
Another view one encounters while strolling the grounds, below.
Frank (the non-gardener) also adored Stourhead, and was delighting to find a focused ray of warm sunshine on this chilly morning. (He was a saint on this trip, not complaining once!)