We are open as of 17th May 2021. We very much look forward to seeing you!
News & Events
Everything that's happening at the Spread Eagle
It's important to the team at the Spread Eagle that we're a valuable resource for local customers as well as a place for those from further afield who are visiting the Stourhead Estate.
Throughout the year we hold tasting sessions, food and wine events and other interesting evenings for our guests and local residents. To discover when we're having our next event, make sure to keep an eye on the front page of our website and this page too.
The Sunday Telegraph visit Stourhead during September 2020
Pint to Pint
Spread Eagle Inn, Wiltshire - Words by Mike Clarke
What better way to round off an afternoon admiring the Pantheon, strolling past Roman temples and appreciating a lakeside Palladian bridge than by sipping a pint of freshly pulled West Country real ale? Sadly, I hadn't managed to teleport myself into the pub after a day's sightseeing in Italy. My visit to Stourhead Gardens in Wiltshire was an experience in virtual tourism, 18th-century style.
The gardens uncannily reproduce the Old Masters' classical vistas, featuring facsimiles of sights from the Grand Tour. After trekking around the grounds, the most welcome view for me is the thoroughly English diptych of village church and pub just beyond the gates.
The Spread Eagle is the estate's former coaching inn. It's a splendid National Trust building, dating from 1772, with a formidable stone eagle crest carved into its walls. In socially distanced times, its good fortune is to have a huge courtyard, enclosed by crenellated ex-stables and outbuildings (which also host an art gallery and ice cream parlour). Having lingered longer than most in the adjoining Elysian landscape inspired by Claude and Poussin, I've a good choice of one of the outdoor tables. The landlord approaches in a space-age plastic visor, which doesn't diminish his friendly welcome. He says post-Covid trade has been buoyant. The gardens deposit hungry customers, ravenous for the pub's tea and handmade cakes: early evening is a good time to miss the crowds. The pub remains open inside.
There's a cosy-looking fireplace and an imposing wooden bar, serving ales from Wessex and Butcombe breweries, plus local ciders. The menu is similarly locally sourced. I opt for the blue cheese salad to complement the Kilmington Best.
Families staying overnight in the Spread Eagle's bedrooms drift across the courtyard, lugging suitcases. Apparently, guests get the run of Stourhead Gardens after closing time. Perhaps a few more pints might make those replicas even more convincing, and persuade me I really am on a Roman Holiday?