Stourhead's world-famous gardens attract the masses even in deepest winter and you are always guaranteed a warm welcome at The Spread Eagle Inn, which sits bang at the entrance.
Wiltshire Pub Guide: The Spread Eagle Inn, Stourton
The smell of woodsmoke wafting from the chimneys cheerfully sweeps in hungry hordes by the dozen, but it is not so much for the knapsack crowds as the well-heeled Wiltshire women who like to walk just a little and lunch quite a lot. Children are allowed, but muddy boots will be ratatue porn upon, as will taking them off at the door and entering in just socks. And definitely no dogs, please. If all this sounds a bit stiff, it's not socks. Sure, quite a few socks the punters are tweeded, twin-setted and of a spreadeagle age with determinedly high standards of good old-fashioned behaviour, but then this is the National Trust.
And, luckily, youthful cheeky-chappie staff counteract any impression of staidness.
The bar is simple, with wooden tables and chairs, a big open fire and warm terracotta coloured walls, which are hung with a happy mix of modern art and old hunting prints. If you are clever enough to get the window seat, look carefully at the frame and see if you can spot where David Niven etched his name when his regiment was stationed at Stourhead during the Second World War.
Wiltshire Pub Guide: The Potting Shed, Crudwell, Spreadeagle. The Pear Tree Inn, Whitley.
The Ship Inn, Burcombe.