Wilton House is part of a 12,000 acre estate given to William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke by his friend King Henry VIII in about 1544, following the dissolution of the monasteries, and still lived off by the descendants today. It offers visitors a peak into the wealthy lives of those whose only claim is that 500 years previous their relative got on with the most powerful murderer in the country. The Wilton House Trust, a charity, manages the property, its stated aim is "To preserve Wilton House, its contents, gardens and park for the public benefit... while continuing to maintain the house as a family home". In 2019 around 26,000 people visited Wilton House and its grounds, which may sound a lot, until you compare it with around 400,000 to the estates of nearby Stourhead, and 1 million to Longleat. The current occupant, William Herbert, 18th Earl of Pembroke, is quoted from the Observer as saying "opening the property to more tourists does not pay in the long run - as it increases wear-and-tear on the house". That sounds like an awkward conflict, but it would be good to see Wilton House open more often, as well as them opening some of the grounds 24/7 for the public for free, just as Longleat maintains free access to Heaven's Gate, Lake Shear Water, and Longleat Pleasure Walk.