Between Christmas and New Year we travelled a lot of miles to see family and friends. We had to plan places to stop to break up the journey and picked Barrington Court in Somerset. It’s owned by the National Trust so was free for us as we are members.
A day out at Barrington Court Somerset
Barrington Court has the honour of being the first house acquired by the National Trust, in 1907. It’s a beautiful Tudor manor house begun around 1538 and completed in the late 1550s, with a vernacular stable court (dated 1675). It was almost derelict when it was acquired by the National Trust, who carefully renovated the building. A new garden was laid out by garden designer Gertrude Jekyll in an Arts and Crafts-style.
Today you can visit the house and gardens. The house is unfurnished which actually makes for a pretty magical experience. We went round the house via guided tour which I would totally recommend. We had a lovely guide who really brought the place to life and pointed out lots of details that we would have missed on our own.
It was quite a strange place. The house was old but you knew it had been filled with floors, ceilings and panelling from other building around the UK. It didn’t feel fake just … strange. We were all a little spooked when one of the door panels flung open when we were up in the long gallery in the attic. Even the guide said this had never happened before.
I loved that the house had been brought back to life by the National Trust. We visited on a gorgeous day so the house felt warm and sunny. It may feel completely different on a cold and wet day. Some of the rooms were decorated for Christmas and the children were really well behaved, I think the fact that the rooms were empty meant they could let their imaginations run wild. They asked loads of questions about everything, especially about when the house became a boarding school for boys evacuated during the Second World War.
The house has lots of quirks, often as a result of it’s restoration. An old toilet room hung suspended from a wall in the hall as the stairs had been moved. Panelling and stone featured ancient graffiti. There was the hint of a ghost.
Barrington Court is a bit of a gem and well worth a visit. You can enjoy lunch in the restored stable block turned 1920s house. The children were amazed by the vintage taps – and we all loved the sign explaining the discolouration!
It was pretty cold when we visited but we had a brisk walk around the gardens. I love the Arts and Crafts style of the different ‘rooms’ – something we saw at Lytes Cary Manor last year. We spotted some tiny snowdrops poking out of the ground – a very happy thing to see in the grip of winter.
If you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of this quirky old house. There was also a NT shop and artists studios, but we were short on time, so didn’t visit these. I’m really hoping we can go back again soon.