After picking up our rental car at Heathrow, the first stop along our route to Cornwall was Montacute House. In good traffic Montacute House is about a 2 hour drive from Heathrow so it seemed like the perfect place to stop and break up our journey. Plus it’s maintained by the National Trust so as members we get free entry to the property.
What I didn’t realise when planning our route is that the A303, the road you travel down to get to Montacute House from Heathrow, happens to be the same road that goes right past Stonehenge! It seemed there were a lot of people travelling to Stonehenge, and other people just wanted to ogle at it as they drove past in their cars, which meant travelling through that area was pretty slow going. The unexpected traffic around Stonehenge, as well as other roadworks and delays picking up our hire car meant that we arrived much later than anticipated. It was also raining heavily when we arrived so for these reasons, our visit to Montacute House was rather fleeting.
We presented our National Trust membership cards at the entrance and they kindly lent us some National Trust branded umbrellas for the duration of our visit.
Our first stop was the cafe to get some lunch and hide from the rain. Thankfully when we came out it had subsided long enough to take this shot:
This is what it looked like in the other direction:
Montacute was built in the late 1590s for Sir Edward Phelips, a wealthy lawyer who wanted to show off his wealth and social position. His descendants occupied the house until the early 20th century. The house was let to tenants for a brief period before being acquired by the National Trust.
The house has been used as a filming location for several films and television series’, including the 1995 film version of Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility.
By the time we had finished exploring the house the rain had started back up again so we didn’t get to see much of the surrounding gardens. Before long we were back on the road and making our way down to Penzance, our home for the next two nights.
Montacute House is located in Montacute, Somerset. There isn’t much nearby in the way of train stations so your best bet is to travel by car, parking on-site is free. Entrance to the whole property is £11.40, National Trust members get in for free.