I’m just going to put this out there- I love National Trust properties. Yes, I am well aware this is probably going to ruin my street cred (ha as if I have street cred) but I really do love nothing more on a weekend than going and exploring a stately home, manicured garden and some pretty quintessentially English landscapes. In Australia, we don’t have many of these historic buildings. We have a completely different history. So maybe this is where my fascination with these properties comes from I’m just not used to them. We read about mansions and castles in books but never got to actually see any or walk around them.
I love the history, the stories, the artwork, the secret gardens if all just makes you feel like stepping back in time (or often for me like I am a royal queen) and seeing how different life was in the past. I think the national trust has done a tremendous job restoring and maintaining these properties. To think they are still standing and still intact after 100s of years is amazing.
We’ve been to see quite a few places over the years and some of which has been blogged about previously (and many still to be blogged about) but over the Easter weekend this year we ventured to the Elizabethan Gem Montacute House.
Located just outside of Yeovil in Somerset this commanding house was built by Sir Edward Phelips in 1598. He was obviously a wealthy and powerful in those days and he was most commonly known for his role in the prosecution in the trial against Guy Fawkes. He was also on very good terms with King James who donated a portrait of himself which is still on display in the house to this very day.
The building is made from the local Ham Stone which gives the building a lovely honey tint. Walking up to the gate you get a lovely view of the house and can see why it’s been used in so many films and Tv programs. The gardens are well manicured and full of colour, especially with the brightly coloured tulips. My personal favourite was the wibbly wobbly hedge that looks like a big green cloud. My other half loved the orangery so much he is now planning to try and build one for us.
After strolling around the gardens we then headed into the house and found signs of the past in all rooms. We even saw a historic version of an ensuite. The most impressive inside the house was the Long Gallery. This is apparently the longest of its kind in the country and houses over 60 portraits. They are spectacular and yes you can feel all theirs eyes watching you. The portraits are on loan from the National Portrait Gallery and well worth seeing. Seeing all the faces, the fashion and different techniques just add more insight into the past. I liked seeing the lesser known portraits just as much as seeing ones of Queen Elizabeth the First and Henry VIII.
When we finished exploring through the house and gardens we then also went to out to explore the village that shares its name with the house. The ham stone is present throughout the village and it couldn’t have been more British if it tried. Two sweet pubs and a very creepy looking museum. It was a lovely little village.
To visit the property is £12.60 per adult from March to October. Outside of these times, you can only visit the garden and there is a discounted rate for those months. We actually opted to sign up for a year membership to the NT on our visit. I’ve never felt so middle aged in my whole life. But you know what I don’t care I’m just going to keep looking through my book to see where we can have our next weekend adventure.
A few more photos to show you this beautiful place