I am so excited. Today my new guest post series starts. I asked the lovely Devon Mama if she would be my first as I recently wrote a guest post for her. I wrote a post for her guest series which can be found via this link: Throwback Thursdays. She came back to me so quickly with the loveliest of posts. I’m thrilled to have it to start off my series.
So what is my new guest series all about? I’m looking for new posts that are basically written as a bucket list recommendation to me. You pick your must do day out in your area and then pitch it to me about why it should be on our bucket list. What makes it great etc. The post must be 500+ words and include 3+ photos. The content must not be duplicated. If you are interested please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. I will also consider bucket list holiday posts, it doesn’t have to be based on days out.
My bucket list day out by Devon Mama
As a family we love a good day out. The weeks are so hectic so by the time the weekend rolls around I want to make sure we spend some quality family time and that, for us, means going somewhere. If I were to pick a day out around my local area to show it off, I’d send you to the beach at Beer or Lyme Regis to skim stones and blow away the cobwebs. Or I’d pack you off toward Dart’s Farm at Topsham and tell you to eat at the restaurant, wander around the gorgeous shops and hire bikes to cycle along the estuary down to the next pub for lunch. But if you’re asking where my bucket list day out would be, it has to be Stourhead Estate in Wiltshire.
I’ve written a lot about Stourhead on my blog before. It’s possibly my favourite place in the world for a million different reasons, I hope I can impart some of that love on you now! Stourhead Estate is a National Trust property just off the A303 in Wiltshire. It’s just over an hour from our home so really is a day out, not just somewhere we can pop to. Not that that stops us making a pilgrimage most years.
Like most National Trust properties, it’s either house or gardens that win you over and in this one, it’s the gardens. Whilst the house is no slouch (trust me, it’s beautiful… and huge!), the gardens are incredible. The entrance is on top of the edge of a valley so when you get there you’ve got no real idea of what’s about to hit you. As you walk down the hill into the estate it starts to open up. First up, a small area with a pub (delicious food), an art gallery and a couple of smaller food and drink establishments sit around a large courtyard. There’s a feeling of ‘old-world’ about the place and it’s perpetuated by the small number of houses and church that form part of the estate.
To the right, the gardens begin with a huge kitchen garden. Laid out like kitchen gardens of my dreams, they sit inside the protection of beautifully crafted walls and greenhouses; stepping up closer and closer toward the house. To the left, the main attraction begins – the main estate. Set around a huge lake, the garden is a riot of colour throughout the year but especially in the Autumn. You’ll often see images of the trees at Stourhead in the national papers around October time, the golds, bronzes and bright reds aligning to make a spectacular sight. I can’t do it justice but trust me. It’s incredible.
Around the lake walk are plenty of places for picnics or just resting weary legs. There are various buildings as you walk around also; a stone grotto complete with statues, picturesque bridges, various follies and my favourite temple of the Apollo. You may recognize the Apollo, it’s the setting for some of the external scenes in Keira Knightley’s Pride and Prejudice. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a wedding take place with guests and wedding party winding their way through the stone tunnels that climb the hill before stepping out onto the outside of the Apollo with views across the estate.
But why is it on the bucket list, I hear you say. For me it’s equal parts a beautiful day out and memories it holds. There’s food, freedom to explore and glorious vistas in abundance all twisted around a lifetime of visits from my childhood and now my child’s. If you’re anywhere nearby, I urge you to pop in to see for yourself, you won’t regret it.
Devon Mama is run by Hayley – a 30 year old mama, wife and recovering sleep addict. Living with her husband, baby and the world’s bounciest dog in rural Devon, she can usually be found attempting to cook, Googling everything and embracing the strange new world that is parenting. Add in a house with ‘a lot of potential’ and a return to her ‘real’ job as a Company Director and it’s organized chaos at the best of times.
You can follow her adventures here:
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From Our Bucket List Lives – Hayley, Stourhead estate sounds beautiful, especially in the autumn. The leaves remind me of autumn in New England. I never even knew they could be that bright red over here. Wiltshire (and your home county of Devon) can often be over looked by us northerners in favour of Cornwall. But really we should be visiting both counties as it is easier for us to get to. I love the sound of your other recommendations too. I have just added visit Stourhead estate in autumn to our bucket list. Thank you and thank you for writing this post to inspire me. My husband loves the sound of the pub.