The house, one of the first of its kind, was designed by Colen Campbell and built by Nathaniel Ireson between 1720 and 1724. Over the next 200 years the Hoare family collected many heirlooms, including a large library and art collection. In 1901 the house was gutted by fire. However, many of the heirlooms were saved, and the house rebuilt in a near identical style.
The gardens were designed by Henry Hoare II and laid out between 1741 and 1780 in a classical 18th-century design set around a large lake, achieved by damming a small stream. The inspiration behind their creation were the painters Claude Lorrain, Poussin and, in particular, Gaspar Dughet, who painted Utopian-type views of Italian landscapes. It is similar in style to the landscape gardens at Stowe
Included in the garden are a number of temples inspired by scenes of the Grand Tours of Europe. On one hill overlooking the gardens there stands an obelisk and King Alfred's Tower, on another hill the temple of Apollo provides a vantage point to survey the magnificent rhododendrons, water, cascades and temples. Amongst the woodland surrounding the site there are also two Iron Age hill forts: Whitesheet Hill and Park Hill Camp. The gardens are home to a large collection of trees and shrubs from around the world.
Stourton with Gasper