#MyGloriousGardens: Stourhead in Autumn.

Stourhead is a National Trust property and garden that we have visited on numerous occasions. As National Trust members we thought we would visit in the Autumn as the trees are looking glorious at the moment. I love that with our family membership, we can explore an area for a day or for a quick dog walk.

 

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The view towards The Pantheon is like a work of art.

Stourhead is a national treasure with a famous garden. It has been described as a work of art and I can see why! Visiting in Autumn allows you to see the landscape with all it’s beautiful colours on display. We visited on a rainy day but it was still glorious!

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This is the Rock Arch which is fun to explore. It leads up to the Temple of Apollo. 

The Stourhead garden was made by a wealthy English banker, Henry Hoare II who owned the nearby house. The garden was made in the valley behind the house and you can see the influence of his trips to Italy within the garden. The Temple of Flora at Stourhead was made in 1745 and the grotto in 1748. The lake and the Pantheon were made in 1754. It is based on the Pantheon in Rome and the planned walk through the estate is based on the journey of Rome’s legendary founder, Aeneas. The five-arched bridge was made in 1762 and the Temple of Apollo in 1765. Various other features such as the gothic cottage and the Rhododendrons  were added later adding to the wonderful yet unique atmosphere that is Stourhead.

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The Pantheon

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Inside the Pantheon with it’s statues

 

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View from the Pantheon towards the lake.

In October there are various Autumn tours to take and warming refreshments offered in The Gothic Cottage. There are also trails for children to follow. The paths are well laid out and accessible for wheelchairs and buggies a like.

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The Gothic Cottage with it’s gorgeous Acers and Maple Trees outside. Inside you can buy warm refreshments.

The Grotto resembles a cave and was built as a summer retreat from the heat. We found this statue of a river God inside as well as a Nymph.

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River God statue inside the Grotto

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View from the Grotto of the Autumn colours.

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The Temple of Apollo in the distance.

We really enjoyed the few hours we spent here. We didn’t visit the house this time but we did grab some lunch in the main restaurant which was excellent. Nearest the gardens is the quaint little pub called ‘The Spread Eagle’ which provided food and picnics to take away. There are toilets, an ice-cream parlour, picnic tables and an Art gallery here too.

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The Spread Eagle pub

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Stourhead; a national treasure and a lovely walk!

We would recommend visiting Stourhead soon as the trees are looking splendid at the moment. It is a great day out for all the family. Dogs are only allowed after 4pm though.

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Great things to do outside with your children right now.

What to do with young children when they are bored? Want to keep them away from the Playstation or iPad? Feel like they haven’t been outside in ages and need some fresh air? Feel you haven’t any money for treats and days out?

If the answer is yes, then this blog post is for you!

Things to do in the woods or in your garden or at the park….and they are all free!

  • Find a stick! Children love sticks and they can be really fun. Draw in the mud with it. Pretend it’s Stick Man, is it a wand? is it a sword? Collect loads and make a giant nest with them or a den. Fun with sticks is endless.

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  • Hide and Seek is still a great favourite of mine. Young children have Not become bored by the old games remember so this is a fun game to play in the woods! The same with “40, 40 in!” or “back to base”. Play the classics, kids love them. Take a soft toy with you for younger children to seek. This keeps them interested and remember to keep an eye on your children! Perhaps have some rules first about coming if you call them by name so that they don’t get lost.
  • Fairies and Trolls. Pretend games come alive in the woods. Look for holes that could just be a fairy house. If you visit the same place often you could add to a fairy garden over time. Make a stick table or bed. Use leaves as covers. I am planning on making a fairy garden one day at the bottom of my garden. You can buy all sorts of fairy bits and bobs nowadays….add a fairy door. You can also take your child’s favourite small world toy (Play Mobil, car, Sylvanian family creature, Polly Pocket etc) and use these. The game will be more appealing if your child is playing with their favourite toy.
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Collecting grass to make potions

  • Make woodland creatures or monsters. Use mud (or clay from home) to create faces on the trees. Add leaves, sticks and other woodland materials to make the hair, eyes and facial features. Try to spot the creatures the next time you visit.
  • Lie on the floor and look up! You can get a really different experience from doing this and may see birds or squirrels in the trees. Help your child to lie still and be quiet so they can also hear the sounds of the woods.  I think this helps children appreciate their surroundings.
  • Make a potion. This was a favourite of mine when I was growing up. Basically take a cup and fill it with all sorts of bits and pieces you find. Add water to make a potion or perfume. You child will probably love to stir it and pretend it’s something delicious too! Just remind them not to drink it!
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Child blowing bubbles

  • Collect stuff. Very young children naturally like to make collections. Give them a bag to collect things  in or add double-sided sticky tape to the arm of their coat and let them stick the things they find onto themselves. This means things don’t get lost and they have their hands free. To make this more appealing to slightly older children ask them to find one amazingly special thing to keep. Either a beautiful stone or a leaf. Remember to leave wild flowers and anything alive alone.

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  • Take a large piece of paper with you or make a clearing in the mud. Make a collage or sculpture using natural materials. This is fun if it’s Autumn or if there are larger stones and branches about.
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Find a stick Man!

  • Make a necklace or crown. Again, double-sided sticky tape is great for this. Add it to a crown of paper and take off the top layer when you are in the woods. Then your child can add leaves, twigs and other natural materials they find to make a Forest Crown.
  • Make tracks. Older children will like this one. Show children how to make arrows using sticks that they can lay on the floor to make tracks. One child has to make a track for another to follow. Can they find each other? You could make it into a Capture the Flag type game too in teams.
  • Acting out stories. Going on a bear hunt anyone? This is loved by everyone, especially the squishy mud part!

So there we have it! Fun games that get your children outdoors and it doesn’t involve a penny.

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