The county of Wiltshire is home to a world-class collection of gardens and stately homes, there are plenty to explore on a holiday in the UK. We are able to create a bespoke group tour so you can follow your historical and horticultural passions and here are a selection of our favourites to visit.
Stourhead – Situated near Mere on the Wiltshire- Somerset border is the Stourhead Estate a perfect day out for everyone. Stourhead House is a Palladian mansion, one of the first to have been built in the UK, this grand house that once belonged to generations of the Hoare family has a unique Regency library, Chippendale furniture and a beautiful art collection. Theworld-famous gardens at Stourhead were first opened in the 1740s. At the centre of the landscaped gardens is a magnificent lake, which reflects the classical temples that are in the garden. Stourhead Garden is breath-taking in any season, but in the spring when the exotic rhododendrons and spring bulbs are in full bloom it is glorious. The Estate covers 1072 hectares and is a wonderful place for picnics, walks and looking for wildlife. Owned by the National Trust, the Garden is open all year, dogs are allowed at certain times on leads, the House is open from March – December.
Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum and Village – Lacock Abbey in the village of Lacock near Chippenham dates to the 13th C when it was founded by Ela, Countess of Sailsbury as a nunnery.With over 800 years of history Lacock Abbey was transformed into a quirky country house by its subsequent owners, including the Talbot family. William Henry Fox Talbot who lived here is famous for his contributions to the inventions of the photographic negative, and the Museum here celebrates his work. The wooded grounds that surround the Abbey are full of seasonal colour and the village of Lacock is a quintessential English village with quaint cottages, a medieval barn and a village church. It is not surprising that the Village and the Abbey have been used for many film locations such as Harry Potter, Downton Abbey and Pride and Prejudice. Owned by the National Trust Lacock Abbey is open all year, dogs are only allowed in the grounds in the winter on leads.
Longleat – nestled in over 364 hectares of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped grounds near Warminster. Longleat House is one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture in the UK, this stately home is the seat of the Marquesses of Bath and has belonged to 15 generations of the same family since it was built in 1567. The exquisite interiors with luxurious furnishings make it one of the most beautiful stately homes open to the public. As well as the wonderful Formal Gardens, Longleat is famous for being the home of the UK’s original Safari Park. The drive through Safari Park is home to over 500 animals and is one of the top British tourist attractions. Longleat is a memorable day out for everyone on a holiday in Southern England and is open from February – December.
Mompesson House – In the heart of Salisbury in the Cathedral Close is the beautiful 18th C Mompesson House, built in the classic Queen Anne style of the time. As you enter the tranquil atmosphere of the House you have a feeling of leaving the modern world behind, with a graceful oak staircase, magnificent plasterwork and fine period furniture it really is a perfect example of a Queen Anne townhouse. Outside is a delightfully planted walled garden with a pergola and traditionally planted herbaceous borders. Mompesson House is owned by the National Trust and is open from March – November.
Wilton House – Set in Wilton, in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside and home to the Earls of Pembroke since the 1540s is Wilton House and Grounds, a wonderful family day out. Explore the House with its 17th C interiors and its world-famous art collection with paintings by Van Dyck, Rembrandt and Pieter Brueghel and learn about the fascinating history of the rooms from the guides. With nearly 9 hectares of parkland and grounds which are bordered by the River Wylye and the River Nadder, it is a perfect place to relax and enjoy a picnic. Throughout the year Wilton House hosts many events, from Antique Fairs, Art Exhibitions and Classic Car Shows. Wilton House has also featured in many films including Pride and Prejudice. The House and Grounds are open from March – September, Sundays- Thursdays and Bank Holiday Saturdays only.