Magnificent Montacute

Over the bank holiday weekend at the end of May, we visited the first of 3 National Trust properties: Montacute House and Gardens, which was just over an hour away – located in Montacute, Somerset.

The late Elizabethan mansion was built by Edward Phelips in the late 1500’s and his descendants lived there until 1911. After that there were numerous tenants before it passed to the National Trust in about 1931.

The property has been maintained by the Trust since, along with a raft of volunteers who tend the gardens. No mean feat as all National Trust Gardens are massive!

There is normally a designated volunteer in each of the room of the houses that are open. They are there to answer any questions that you have (as they are not currently giving out the information cards because of Covid).

They will also tell you off if you touch anything. I’m not vilifying them for this at all 😊 It just amazes me how many grown adults don’t have any common sense!

Take note in particular of the strategically placed thistles on each chair to deter anyone from sitting on fragile antiques.

As with some other National Trust properties, Montacute House was used as a film location for among others: ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1995), ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ TV series in 2000 and recently in ‘Wolf Hall’. Interestingly it is said to have been the inspiration for Tottington Hall in Wallace and Gromit’s ‘The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’.

Wallace and Gromit: ‘The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ Theatrical poster, courtesy of Wikimedia

The Long Gallery is the longest in England. It always reminds me of one long cricket practice net!

Long Gallery at Montacute House, archived picture from the National Portrait Gallery

Also, a very interesting ‘totem pole’ on the gardens.

The ‘totem pole’ in the Montacute gardens

It is also worth wandering around Montacute Village with is adjacent to the House and Gardens. Its a typical chocolate box village: Pubs, pretty houses (and doors), churches and a rather interesting TV, Radio and Toy Museum.

Well, it looked interesting from the outside. It was unfortunately closed when we were there. ☹

A lovely day out at a beautiful house and property. If the weather is nice, take a picnic lunch.

Remember: you do need to book a timed entry on the National Trust website:  Montacute House | National Trust

And yes, keep calm and eat cake!

Please ignore the dead spider!

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