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Monday, April 26, 2021

In the Footsteps of Elizabeth and Darcy at Stunning Stourhead

In my family we are active members of the National Trust and spend many a weekend exploring the various estates around us. This weekend we visited Stourhead in Wiltshire, which may be familiar to many Jane Austen fans from Pride and Prejudice (2005) and particularly the rain scene where Mr Darcy first proposes to Elizabeth. 

Stourhead House was built in the 18th Century in the Palladian style for the Hoare family. Whilst we didn't get to visit the house due to Covid regulations, we enjoyed our walk around the stunning world-famous landscaped gardens. 

                                                                                         Stourhead House 

The gardens were designed by Henry Hoare II in the style of landscape paintings, and there are bridges, grottoes and classical temples to explore along the beautiful walks. 

View across the lake to the Pantheon

                                                                                         Inside the grotto 

                                                                                             The Pantheon 

                                                                      The Temple of Apollo at the top 

At this time of year, the bright green lawns are adorned with the spring blossom of daffodils and bluebells, and magnolia and rhododendron trees shine bright in various shades of magenta, baby pink and white. Swans, ducks and geese float in the glittering water, and there is something interesting to see at every turn. 

The highlight of the walk for me were the classical temples and the Palladian bridge, as seen in Pride and Prejudice. While this version of the film is by no means my favourite (I am partial to the 1995 BBC miniseries), I thought the proposal scene at the Temple of Apollo was beautiful, if not quite faithful to the book. 

In the scene, we see Elizabeth running in pouring rain across the Palladian bridge and going up to the Temple of Apollo, where Mr Darcy (coincidentally) finds her. 

The Palladian Bridge 

                                                                                 The Temple of Apollo

At the temple, he proposes to her "against his better judgment", while the rain gushes down, adding to the drama, and the distraught Elizabeth's hem is several inches deep in mud. In the backdrop, we see the gorgeous lake and rolling landscape of Stourhead (portrayed as Rosings).

                                                                     The view from the Temple of Apollo

The view from the Temple of Apollo

To end this post, I'm adding this video from the Temple of Apollo - quite a different feel on a sunny day! 


  1. Brilliant stuff Anna. I am definitely going to visit Stourhead. Marilyn and I were looking through our National Trust book at where we could visit. The houses are not open yet I think but the grounds are obviously. We went up to London the other day and walked through St James's Park. A mini Stourhead perhaps!!

    1. Hi Tony, I would definitely recommend visiting as there is just so much to see and enjoy there. St James’s Park is lovely, of course, but different from Stourhead, which is very much a Georgian garden!


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