We have been saying for ages that we should join the National Trust, but for some reason just never got around to it. This weekend when we visited Montacute House in Somerset, we decided to join before we went through. Not only did this save us paying the entrance fee, but it has also motivated us to get out and about a bit more and see more of the UK, all the while helping to restore all the amazing historic houses, landmarks that this country has to offer.
Montacute House was built by Sir Edward Phelips around 1598 comprising of the local Ham Hill stone. Montacute House is located in the village of Montacute in Somerset. The house was originally made with two wings, the left for the servants and the right for the residents of the house. The house has been adapted over the years giving an answer to the original layout which had no corridors and rooms were once accessed by going through other rooms. In 1787 more stone was purchased from a nearby mansion that was being demolished to construct the west front side of the house which enabled corridors in the house giving privacy to the bedrooms.
I didn’t know anything about Montacute House before we visited, however I was immediately impressed with the gardens before we had seen the house. Many acres of formal gardens and parkland surround the house and it appears that you one be bothered by your neighbours should you pick a spot on the lawns to enjoy a picnic.
We took our time looking around the orangery and the gardens which along with the house have also been the filming location for Sense and Sensibility, The Libertine, and a version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. We were also lucky enough to be visiting on a weekend with Falconry shows so we were treated to some great flying displays from birds of prey.
I’m the first to admit I’m not one for old houses and I don’t appreciate them as much as perhaps I should. However after seeing Miss A take it all in through the gardens as well as enjoying the vast space to run around, she was just as engaged within the house. The National Trust are great for engaging children with activity sheets and there was a lovely space to help yourself inside the house to a clipboard, pencil and activity book to check off as you walked around. There was a separate sheet for the gardens which really does help children learn without realising they’re learning.
Inside the house it was recommended that an hour was a good amount of time to look around. I didn’t think we would be inside an hour but we were and I wasn’t bored in the slightest. It was very interesting to look at the detail of how the families may have lived all those hundreds of years ago. Miss A exclaimed that she loved every minute of it which was great.
My favourite part of the house are the windows that contain the coats of arms. Different coats of arms that Sir Edward Phelips added of people he knew, not necessarily of people who had visited.
National Trust properties are a great way to spend an afternoon and I can’t wait to see where we may go next.