Top choice in Wiltshire

Overflowing with vistas, temples and follies, Stourhead is landscape gardening at its finest. The Palladian house has some fine Chippendale furniture and paintings by Claude and Gaspard Poussin, but it’s a sideshow to the magnificent 18th-century gardens (open 9am to 5pm), which spread out across the valley. Stourhead is off the B3092, 8 miles south of Frome.

A picturesque 2-mile garden circuit takes you past the most ornate follies, around the lake and to the Temple of Apollo; a 3.5-mile side trip can be made from near the Pantheon to King Alfred's Tower, a 50m-high folly with wonderful views.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Wiltshire attractions

1. King Alfred's Tower

2.57 MILES

A 50m-high folly with wonderful views. It's part of the National Trust property Stourhead, some 8 miles south of Frome.

2. Longleat

5.99 MILES

Half ancestral mansion, half wildlife park, Longleat was transformed into Britain's first safari park in 1966, turning Capability Brown's landscaped…

3. Shaftesbury Abbey

8.64 MILES

These hilltop ruins mark the site of what was England's largest and richest nunnery. It was founded in 888 by King Alfred the Great, and his daughter,…

4. Gold Hill

8.66 MILES

The often-photographed, painfully steep, quaint cobbled slope, lined by chocolate-box cottages, that starred in a famous TV advert for Hovis bread.

5. Old Wardour Castle

11.05 MILES

Six-sided Old Wardour Castle was built around 1393 and suffered severe damage during the English Civil War, leaving these imposing remains. The views from…

6. Haynes Motor Museum

11.4 MILES

The 400-strong collection at this car museum includes an array of outstanding and outlandish motors, from Aston Martins and Ferraris to oddities such as…

7. Sherborne Old Castle

13.4 MILES

These days the epitome of a picturesque ruin, Sherborne's Old Castle was built by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, in 1120 – Elizabeth I gave it to her one…

8. Sherborne New Castle

13.83 MILES

Sir Walter Raleigh began building the impressive Sherborne New Castle in 1594, but only got as far as the central block before being imprisoned by James I…