Stourhead Lake

By Emma Kirkup

On the Saturday just gone, I, alongside 27 other Instagramers ventured to the National Trust Gardens of Stourhead for an Instameet.

For anyone who doesn’t know what an Instameet is, it’s a gathering of people who use Instagram. An opportunity to not only share creativity and love for photography but also a great social event.

So, VisitWiltshire held a joint Instameet with Igerswiltshire – our third joint meet of the year.

The weather did its best for us. I was slightly worried as I travelled down on the A303 in the morning as drops of rain were landing on my windscreen. Hmm, that wasn’t part of the plan! However, the weather gods were kind to us and as we gathered the clouds slowly disappeared and the sun came out to play.

Stourhead House

We started off by heading towards the House so that we entered the gardens the way the Hoare family would have done in the past. There is no end of subject matter at this point including the architecture of the House, a bike sculpture, the flowers and leaves of the plants and the meadow in front of the House.


As we descended the paths, people split up to focus on their niche areas – whether that be nature, the architecture of some of the temples and follies or everything in general! It’s not all about fancy cameras either, there are people with all kinds of camera equipment. Some using their phones, others with tripods and D-SLRs.

It’s amazing how quickly time flies on one of these meets and it wasn’t long before I was feeling a pang of hunger – particularly knowing how tasty those National Trust cakes are! I must say, the flapjack was very nice!

After lunch, there were various options for what people could do. Stourhead had very kindly given us tickets to come and go throughout the day. Some people decided they wanted to go back into the main gardens to focus on some of the buildings and the nature around the lake. Others had never been into the House before so wanted to explore there.

Stourhead is one of my local National Trust properties and I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve been over the years – through all different seasons too. One thing I’d never done before (and had always been meaning to) was to walk on the wider Stourhead estate to King Alfred’s Tower. So, I did just that.

The Obelisk, Stourhead

Passing bluebells, beech trees, the Obelisk and yellow fields of rapeseed, the walk is approximately 2.5 miles from Stourhead House. In theory this should take around 30 minutes but by now it was pretty hot so my usual pace was a bit slower than normal! Still, when I arrived at the Tower I was ready to ascend it! Armed with the GoPro I climbed the Tower and took in the views from the top.

From the top of King Alfred’s Tower you can see over to three counties: Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset. Here’s a little video I created of climbing the tower:

If you get the chance to go up (and you don’t mind heights) it’s certainly worth doing.
All in all a great day with great views and lovely company!

If you are interested in joining us for future Instameets, it’s worth registering on Meetup here as there will be more meetings this year.


Stourhead - National Trust
Stourhead Gardens

Stourhead estate on the Wiltshire-Somerset border is the perfect day out for everyone. A breathtaking 18th century landscape garden with lakeside walks, grottoes and classical temples is only the beginning.



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