KILLERTON HOUSE: NATIONAL TRUST HOUSE AND PROPERTY IN DEVON. Worth visting, or not?
This National Trust property is described on the guide book as follows: Killerton is not a grand mansion, but the welcoming home of the Aclands, who have lived in Devon since the sixteenth century. They created the famous garden rich in rare trees and shrubs, and framed the huge agricultural estate that is now also in the care of the National Trust”.
This pretty much in this short paragraph pretty much sums up the property. Though maybe it does undersell the place as one to visit. But I guess when you consider some of the huge, grand and very ornate properties that the National Trust in the UK manages they do probably under-estimate how interesting and entertaining a visit here can be.
The ten sqaure mile estate had been in the family for 350 years, until it was given to the National Trust in 1944 by Sir Richard Acland.
In addition to the massive grounds and house, the estate also has a massive (9000 plus) items collection of clothing, shoes and accessories dating right back to the 1700s. The massive collection is only exhibited in a fairly small series of exhibitions across the year in the upstairs of the house.
Killerton is situated off the M5 motorway fairly close to Exeter in Devon, and as there seems to be fairy few National Trust and large staley homes in this neck of the woods, is a very popular place to visit.
The property is on a hill with great views. When you arrive, there is a fairly large parking area and there is a eduacation/ discovery centre and you go down to the entrance to the property. You can visit the garden centre which has a large collection of plants and garden ornaments (for some reason), there is a second hand book shop, a tea-room/ restaurant (which is airly costly) and a very large gift shop with local crafts and a huge book section – mostly about cooking and baking.
You can pay to just visit the open lands (where dogs are allowed), or the open lands and gardens or those and the house. Dogs on leash are allowed only into the park. This is huge with a lot of sheep ambling about. It costs £8.40 for full access for adults, and £6.20 for access without the house.
The house, as per the description in the guide book, is not of the scale of many staley homes and is more of a large mansion than a staley home. Saying that, it is pretty large and pretty impressive. Though, unlike the huge cold houses with long halls, this does feel like something that people can live in. The rooms are large and impressive, but the decor is homely and a bit like visiting an elderly relative in taste. I guess that is beacuse the house was pretty much put on pause after the war and it was handed to the National Trust.
The house also has an added on feel, like houses where people have added to as their families grew and they tag on extra rooms. It all works though. The house is full of furniture, books, pianos and the such downstairs. It is very grand though.
Up the impressive staircase, the upstairs is more like a museum as this is where they have the displays of the clothes. The rooms have been converted to have glass displays and the such. There are dressing up and activity sections to keep kids happy and engaged.Considering the size of the collection, you did feel the displays could have been greater. But saying that, they had on display a range from the 1700s through to the 1960s. And maybe less is more does work!
There is some added history about the house related to the Second World War which they are trying to restore and link back to, as two schools were moved to the house and gorunds when children were evacuated from regions being heavily bombed.
In the house is another tea-room/ restaurant that seems to have a larger selection than the one at the entrance.
The gardens are of the restaurant. They are large and sprawling and very beautiful.
Killerton clearly try and engage with the local communities, and there is are many functions and events held across the summer like theatre, treasure hunts and so on. They also hold farmer’s markets on Saturdays through summer.
See all my photos of Killerton House on Flickr: click here
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