Montacute House is one of many National Trust properties in Somerset, and we visited while we were on holiday near Yeovil. Luckily it was only a 15 minute drive away from our AirB&B, as the car was rather full of people – Archie Bear was in the front next to me, and on the back seat were Teddy Bear (in his new seat, which turns out, is HUGE!), Daddy Bear in the middle, and Olly Bear (honourary member of the Bear Family, and Godfather to both boys) next to him. I think it’s fair to say that it was rather cosy in the back, and I think Olly ended up opening the window to let his elbow out, a la Alice in Wonderland.
Anyway. This review will be brief, and from the perspective of a family with very young children, so forget a room by room account of the house, we didn’t get near the door and never expected to.
It turns out there were some extra exciting things happening on the day we were there, so we paid £2.50 each for Daddy Bear and Olly Bear to have a go at Medieval archery! It was super fun, and I especially liked that baby-wearing is possible even when shooting a bow and arrow. All the teachers were dressed in full-on medieval costume, and there was a guy sat by the entrance making belts out of strands of wool or something. It looked like he was making giant friendship bracelets, but I’m sure it was something very old and medieval-ish. He was even eating a hunk of bread from a wooden plate. Daddy Bear managed to hit a balloon on the target which was very exciting, and then Archie Bear wanted a go but then changed his mind as soon as I’d paid and the medieval man had started to show him what to do, so he sat back and watched.
Once everyone had lost interest in the bows and arrows, we had a wander round the gardens and found a lovely big fountain with carp in it – Archie Bear was SO excited, he was yelling ‘CARP!’ randomly for the rest of the day. We had a buggy with us, and although there were steps down to the fountain, the rest of the grounds were pretty buggy-friendly. Then we had a little picnic on the lawn in front of the house. I’m sure the boys didn’t care about the location, but us grown ups were so impressed by the outside of the house, and the incredible flower borders. I mean, I’m not normally bowled over by a flower border, but the amount of colour and the sheer beauty of it all still amazes me now. I have decided to use those gardens to inspire my own gardening and plant choices at home, so look out for some more colour soon!
Then, as those of us over the age of 3 were getting hungry (I only had time to do sandwiches for those aged 3 and under before we left the house), we made our way to the cafe. To tell the truth, the cafe was probably at least half of the reason for going to a National Trust place in the first place. We love the cream teas. And the lovely settings, and yummy cakes and baked potatoes. Also, they have great choice for kids too, if you happen to have even less time in the morning than me. Although, big tip, do not – I repeat – DO NOT get a cream tea and eat it outside on a summer day, unless you love wasps. We ended up doing the ‘wasp-dance’ around our table, eating faster than we’d liked, and sitting on our chairs very little.
A quick wander round the shop and home we went. Two hours spent in a beautiful place with amazing gardens, a pond with fish (a must for any National Trust visit when Archie Bear is around), lovely cafe and archery lessons! What else could you want? Maybe next time we’ll get close to the house…
Here’s the NT website for Montacute House – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/montacute-house