by Emily Smith
“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure
is the most perfect refreshment.” – Jane Austen
DAY SIX – Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Today I visited Stourhead! Don’t know what Stourhead is? I didn’t until this trip either, but it was my favorite experience of the entire Jane Austen Festival. Stourhead is a National Trust property with a beautiful Palladian mansion and landscape gardens. If you watched the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, it is featured in the first proposal scene where Lizzy rejects Mr. Darcy. But to me, Stourhead summed up my idealized view of the period. I always said I wanted to live in England during the Regency era, but that I wanted to be born a gentleman’s daughter – no Longbourn lifestyle for me! – and Stourhead is where I would have loved to live. I got to tour the house first and could have spent all my time in the library and a beautiful little nook in the Italian Room where I would have curled up with a good book.
And while the house was stunning, the gardens were to die for. And by gardens – I mean all 2500 acres of them. The centrepiece of the garden was a beautiful lake surrounded by trails that included three temples, a gothic cottage, a grotto, a Palladian bridge and an obelisk. Needless to say, I took over 200 photos that day, and then that night had to dump all of them onto Google Photos to open up space on my phone. The highlight of the gardens for me was of course, the Temple of Apollo, where Matthew Macfadyen once stood… sigh…
Once I returned to Bath, I dined at Sally Lunn’s which is the oldest building in Bath, dating back to 1482. They are famous for the Sally Lunn bun which was delicious – so many carbs!
After dinner, I attended another comedic presentation “The Admiralty entertains…” about what life on the sea in the 18th century was like for the men of the Royal Navy. I think I’d prefer a luxury cruise.