As a special Bank Holiday treat, I was released from the office to get some fresh air and exercise at the beautiful Stourhead House and Gardens. The house was built for the Hoare family in the 1720s and stayed with them until 1946 when it was turned over to the National Trust. While parts of the house remain occupied by a descendent of the family, large parts of it are open to the public and remain decorated in Regency style.
Continuing my quest to find interesting bookshops, I was happy to see that the old granary had been converted into a mini bookshop. I particularly liked the fact that there was an honesty box, it's always heartening to know that some people are still trusting!
We learnt all about the Hoare family history on our trip. It's no surprise they could afford such a lavish house, as they own the last remaining family bank in England. You need £500,000 in cash plus several million in assets to even open an account - there's inspiration for our MBA students!
One day I want a library just like this.
The Pope's Cabinet, made for Pope Sixtus V, is the jewel of the Hoares' collection, featuring semi-precious stones, gold-covered figures and 150 compartments to hide all of their treasures in.
There is a selection of letters sent between the family members and you can pretend to be one of them, writing with a quill on the bed of the Italian room.
We walked around the whole lake, following stunningly landscaped gardens. Not even the rain could spoil the afternoon.
You can find more information on Stourhead at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead/