millennial female lifestyle bloggerConsidering we're at the end of April, it's surprising how temperamental the weather is.  Oh wait, no it's not!  April is an unpredictable month when it's impossible to know whether you need your snow-boots or a sun hat.  With this in mind, I've had Montacute House at the ready for when the weather wasn't giving anything away in advance.  It's 'a masterpiece of Elizabethan Renaissance architecture and design' and utterly impressive in size, meaning you can get lost in the many rooms and top-floor art exhibition for hours and hours while it's grim outside.  Though as it so happens, luck was on my side and it remained dry for the entire day, allowing for an additional stroll through the immaculately-kept gardens...
montacute house springtime visit

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montacute house orangery photographyAfter a couple of hours of driving on a particularly busy day, the gardens of Montacute House felt like a breath of fresh air. Though I had to park up in the overflow area, the expansive grounds allowed for visitors to disperse, enabling the location to keep hold of its tranquility.  Before anything else, lunch was on the cards at their small but cosy café; the outdoor eating area is surrounded by plants for sale and views of the 16th century Elizabethan mansion, as well as two rather adorable cats!  I crouched around on the patio with my camera, winding around the legs of various chairs (yes, one was occupied and yes, it was beyond awkward when I realised) and waiting to see what the gorgeous creatures would do.  And... they started playing! It will forever stay in my mind as one of the most adorable scenes I've ever been witness to.
gardens at montacute house 2016
cafe food at montacute house
cats playing english countryside
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The orangery (shown directly above) is in my opinion one of the location's greatest aspects.  It was reopened in 2012 after having experienced the unfortunate event of its roof caving in under the pressure of snow three years prior.  The roof restoration funding was raised by raffle, which is such a lovely example of how people can group together to create (or in this case restore) something beautiful - and it really is beautiful.  It looks like something you'd expect to see on Pinterest, or in the pages of an interior design/garden magazine.
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montacute house visit 2016 spring summer
history architecture lifestyle bloggerBefore reaching the steps leading up to Montacute House, there are sprawling bushes entirely unique in appearance, a guided path leading around a striking fountain, and flowers - plenty of flowers! I have such a lot of love for tulips and the many yellow-and-orange bulbous plants that framed the mansion's walled garden certainly didn't fail to impress. Something else which I noticed drew plenty of attention from other visitors, were the two small corner pavilions.  A quick chat with one of the on-site volunteers explained that they were historically used as  'pudding houses', where the ladies would occasionally retreat to enjoy sherbets and puddings.  Anyone else feel as though they were born in the wrong era?!
historic interior design at montacute house
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I've said it many times before, but there really is something very special about walking through historical sites/homes and contemplating who has walked those very grounds before you.  Speaking of which, I've absolutely loved discovering through blogging how many others feel the same way.  I've no doubt those of you who enjoy 'Quintessentially British' vibes would love this place!  Anyway, I've noticed a recurring theme on my visit to Montacute House, and that is how I seem to have gravitated towards the windows; festooned blinds, stained glass and thin mullion openings.  Though with views of such lovely grounds, can you blame me?
views from montacute house

national trust property montacute house
national trust member montacuteAfter a very interesting - and at times unsteady - line of previous owners, Montacute House was facing destruction until Ernest Cook (grandson of Thomas Cook, successful travel entrepreneur) saved the day in the 1930s.  He suggested the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings purchase and grant the building to the National Trust, and the fact I'm here today writing about my visit to the South Somerset-based location tells you that venture was successful!

One of my favourite features of the house is the burgundy bath that sits within a closet, as well as a grand four-poster bed found in the Crimson Bedroom.  However, the Long Gallery really stole the show, found on the top floor of Montacute House.  The bright and fresh gallery houses over 60 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits on loan from The National Portrait Gallery and are displayed chronologically.  A piece to look out for near the end of the Long Gallery is one of the (expected) Mary Throckmorton, showing her in a state of melancholy that is thought to 'suggest the regeneration and hope which the marriage must have represented within the family'.  There's something about it that pulls you in...
montacute art exhibition

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a glass of ice british lifestyle blogA final walk through the grounds of Montacute confirmed my initial thought - it's a very special place.  From the stunning architecture to the flowers and from the helpful volunteer room guides to the resident cats, it's entirely perfect. Definitely a place to add to your travel-list ready for this upcoming summer!

Montacute House
Middle Street
South Somerset
TA15 6XP

With love,

Gabrielle x