These precious days : free time
Last week, we visited a house and gardens that were built in 1588 and have been lived in by the same family for nearly 300 years!
Sadly photography is not allowed inside Montacute House, but the long gallery (where the ladies could take gentle exercise by strolling) runs the length of the house - 172 ft - the longest in England, and has wonderful views from its position on the top floor.
The guidebook says of Montacute House "Honey-coloured Montacute House is one of the glories of late Elizabethan architecture. Offered 'for scrap' in 1931, Montacute was rescued for the National Trust as one of its first great houses. It has been filled with furniture, fine tapestries and a collection of Tudor and Jacobean portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. Montacute was built in the last years of the 16th-century by Sir Edward Phelips, as a symbol of his rising career."
Peeking through the stone balustraded wall into the gardens in front of the house, well - behind really, as it changed around somewhere in its history. Now its behind the house as there is a new drive up to the other side, the "new" front facade.
Symmetry on the cedar lawn.
And because we are members of the National Trust, we get into all these wonderful houses and gardens free. They usually have excellent tea rooms and restaurants. Must try to get out and visit more - but many of the houses are closed during the winter. I had been to the garden before and made a special effort to go on a day when the house was open with its brilliant and helpful band of guides in each room to point out the best things and explain hidden history. Well worth it!