“ Address: Summer Lane / Exmouth / Devon EX8 5BD / England „
A La Ronde is a National Trust building near Exmouth. It's uniqueness lies in the sixteen sides of the outside and the eclectic decor inside.
A La Ronde was built in the late 18th century for two cousins, Jane and Mary Parminter. The two ladies came from considerable wealth and had just come back from 10 years of traveling abroad. They needed a place to put all of their souveniers and thus A La Ronde was bulit.
The overall experience I had at A La Ronde was a good one, but saying that, I think I particulary enjoyed the fact that it was free thisweekend. I am not sure I would have been so keen to pay £6.70 for an adult ticket.
The rooms are intersting to walk around, they have an eye spy game for the kids to find things and a dress up room which the girls I was with particulary enjoyed.
There is one floor upstairs that viewers are not allowed to go in which is filled with shells. You can however see the room on a CCTV camera.
After toruing the house we went to the tea room for a cream tea. The service was not great, the staff were freindly, just not very helpful. When we got our scones we weren't given plates and they only gave us one little pot of clotted cream for three people. The scones did taste lovely and the view from the tea room is quite nice.
They also offer a croquet set to borrow which we found enjoyable.
One of the most unusual buildings owned by the National Trust, this 16 sided property is a testament to English eccentricity! Built by two spinsters on their return from their "grand tour" in the 18th Century this building is bound to inspire and intrigue.
The guides here are amongst the best that the NT has to offer and they will guide you through the myriad of tiny rooms with enthusiasm in buckets!
The first thing you'll notice about the property, aside from its odd shape and look, is just how tiny it is. As a result you'll be asked to leave all bags in lockers at the entrance (save for small handbags) as there simply isn't the room for them in the house. You will then be guided from room to room by room-based guides, all of whom will be delighted to impart their bit of knowledge about the house and its occupants. You'll patch together a picture of what life must have been like for the spinster sisters and what caused them to create such an oddity in the Devon countryside. One can only wonder at the child-like architecture (perhaps created by the architect John Lowder?) and the state of mind of its owners. Was it folly or exhibitionism? Did it reflect the feeling of the "Grand Tour" or was it more of a reflection of the personalities of the Parmentier sisters? Visitors will surely draw their own conclusions.
The highlight of the tour and the thing that will most be remembered about the house is the shell room in the top of the property. This, for reasons of preservation, now has to be viewed through CCTV but you are able to control the camera and zoom in on anything that takes your fancy. It's a work of sheer folly and pleasure and yet a work that is undeniably skilled and laboured.
Unlike many National Trust Properties the grounds are not much to write home about. There is space for a short walk but little more to draw the visitors. The tea-room in the basement of the property is well worth a visit and the food of excellent quality. It's perhaps not cheap but is certainly wholesome.
It's well worth a short detour to visit this property if you're in the Exmouth area.
Up to date entrance prices are available on the National Trust website. Like many of their properties I don't consider the entrance cheap but then the experience is worth the fee in my opinion.