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Walking into a novel

tyntesfield-houseI grew up in a house full of books. We moved a lot, but I never remember a time when the books weren’t part of my life. Unsurprisingly, I love to read. As a teen, I devoured every science fiction and classic I could find in the shelves. I took A Level English which gave me the perfect excuse to work my way through our collection of Jane Austen, Dickens, Brontes and more.

The result was that I grew to love the idea of old houses which provided the backdrop to so many of these stories. Candlelit rooms and twisting staircases. The architecture. The whole atmosphere.

I’ve been looking forward to visiting Tyntesfield, near Wraxall, Somerset.

tyntesfield-house-frontHow could I resist?

We headed over last Sunday. They had their local produce market on, so we could not have chosen a busier weekend to go, but once we were beyond the stalls, the crowds thinned out a bit.

The house is amazing. Inside and out. It has the feeling of work in progress, which is hardly surprising as the National Trust has only owned the property since 2002. The dark wallpaper, wood panels, winding corridors and staircases could be straight out of the pages of a Dickens’ novel.


Plenty of period pieces to look at and discuss with the children. They had a go at polishing silver. They found a few outfits to dress up in. They indulged in imagining what life would have been like. I’d like to think that when they reach the stage of hoovering up classics, they will understand the context more.

walled-gardenOnce out, we headed off to the kitchen garden. Another walled garden to explore. The flowers and pumpkins were in abundance. This is one of the best walled gardens I’ve seen. So many cutting flowers for the house and the produce would have kept the kitchen busy, probably all year round.

pumpkins-at-tyntesfieldThey had a huge range of pumpkins, which were doing well in the bed backing on to one of the walls. Some varieties I’d not come across before.

pumpkin-at-tyntesfieldThere is something quite beautiful about a pumpkin patch. I think I’ll be adding more manure to our kitchen garden and planting a few different squashes next year.

greenhousesI can’t resist investigating greenhouses. It seems my children are the same.

tree-climbingOn the way back to the car, the children found a few good trees to climb. Of course.

There were plenty of paths to explore and areas to discover. We even noticed a tennis court that a family was using. Rackets provided for an impromptu game.

firework-dahliaWe chose a beautiful day to visit. The house lived up to my expectations and the grounds are magnificent. As usual, I could have spent much more time in the kitchen garden. I’d be interested to go back to the house in a few year’s time, to see the progress. Maybe sooner for the garden.

Next time I could bring a book and sit on one of the benches in the walled garden and catch up on a few more stories. It would be perfect.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

38 Responses to Walking into a novel

  • Melody says:

    What a lovely day out, your photos says it all. The walled garden looks amazing and I love the colours of the second/bottom pumpkins looks a little darker than the top ones. Trees to climb is always a bonus too. 🙂

    • Craft Mother says:

      There was such a variety of colours and shapes in the pumpkins, even before seeing the squashes and ornamental ones. They had a pink banana type, which seemed a good description! I’m really inspired to try some more varieties. We’ve grown big pumpkins this year, so next year I’m concentrating on other types.

  • The building does look amazing and I would definitely want to wander around, pretending I was an Austen heroine. Love the pumpkin patch too!
    You have definitely inspired me to check out more NT places to visit.

    • Craft Mother says:

      Absolutely. To come round the corner and find Elizabeth Bennet or Marianne Dashwood in deep discussion (putting aside that they are in different novels) would have been very fitting. 🙂

  • What a lovely day out and gorgeous colours- we stopped here on the way to Cornwall for lunch and a quick wander but it was March so the gardens were a bit barer and I think the house was shut. Still such a memorable place to explore. #countrykids

    • Craft Mother says:

      I’m glad you still enjoyed your visit. I think the gardens are at their best in September/October. Partly as the vegetables are such an important element. Especially in the kitchen garden.

  • Christine says:

    That tree looks perfect for climbing! An impressive pumpkin patch too – the same size as my whole garden. My sister has been growing super size pumpkins this year (for a show) and I’m already eyeing up one of them for a huge lantern 🙂

    • Craft Mother says:

      It was a very big patch, but pumpkins need a lot of space. Hope your sister has been successful and grown lots of prospective show pumpkins. Enough for you to have one. A huge lanterns would be fab!

  • Coombe Mill says:

    What a lovely place to explore, National Trust places are always fab to explore even when busy because they never feel too crowded. I can definitely see why you wanted to explore Tyntesfield, it really does look like it’s materialised out of a great classic novel. It’s fab that the kids enjoyed exploring the kitchen garden and greenhouse with you as well, those pumpkins look huge!

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids

    • Craft Mother says:

      The pumpkins were large. They did have smaller varieties too. The house is an amazing sight and plenty of space so we didn’t feel crowded.

  • I could have written the start of this post myself and this looks like exactly the sort of place I’d love, and with space for Monkey to run around too. The perfect compromise. Noted #CountryKids

    • Craft Mother says:

      That is what you need for a family outing. Grown up enough for adults, but still interesting for the younger members. I think Monkey would have a good time.

  • Oh my word it really does look like you are walking straight in to a novel! What magnificent flowers!! That tree looks like so much fun for climbing! #CountryKids

  • Aly says:

    We went to Tyntesfield towards the end of the summer holidays.It was such a gorgeous location, you can understand why it gets used for film locations so much.We’re definitely going back again in the autumn half term.

  • Val says:

    That looks Gorgeous! what a brilliant visit, lovely photographs..thanks!
    (I so love walled gardens)

    • Craft Mother says:

      It was, Val. You would have loved the walled garden. I took so many more photos of the rows of vegetables, but thought it might be too much to include them all. Glad I’m not the only one who likes a walled garden.

  • Wonderful photos and what a pumpkin!

  • Wow. Absolutely stunning architecture. I love walled gardens and that one looks amazing.


  • se7en says:

    Just totally perfect… I would definitely visit again with a book… Definitely!!!

  • Oh good, I’ve just checked, it’s a National Trust property! Yay. Will visit next time we’re in the area. Love your photos and you are so right, it’s like walking straight into a novel or a set of a movie 🙂 #countrykids

  • Let kids be kids says:

    Love places like that, so interesting and seeing pumpkins growing in their patches are always great to see.

  • Gosh, this looks absolutely divine and I do love a good kitchen garden. Those pumpkins will certainly be popular soon. Mich x #CountryKids

  • What a gorgeous day out – the colours are beautiful and I love a good pumpkin patch. I regret not reading enough when I was younger – English lessons completely put me off, but I am trying very hard to catch up now! #CountryKids

  • I am with you- loved a good book as a child, and love old buildings ( and churches and graveyards) now as an adult.
    Wow at the pumpkins, ours flowered well this year but we did not get any fruit.
    Of course a day out is not complete without a tree climb.

    • Craft Mother says:

      Oh yes. Graveyards and churches too. Something fascinating about them. Sorry to hear about your pumpkins. They are fun to grow. We’ve had the best year for pumpkins weatherwise, so I’m sure Tyntesfield has benefitted in the same way. Always next year!

  • We have been here but they are renovating then so we cant get in. We just got into the cafe and I am already in awe of the photos of it that we saw and its such a thing of beauty! We dont have books at home and this made me crave for it. We dont have libraries too and me & my mother would read anything that we get our hands into even those newspapers that is used to wrapped the smoked fish we would buy from the market. But like you I love seeing massive houses as they reminds me of stories that I have read before. #countrykids

  • This looks like an amazing place to visit. My boys would love climbing in those huge trees and I could have spent hours walking around those beautiful gardens #countrykids

  • Wow, what an incredibly beautiful place to visit. It looks stunning and your photographs are beautiful. I’m in awe of the size of those pumpkins and the wonderfully productive gardens. Sounds like a wonderful time and you must have felt all those old characters from the novels really coming alive!

  • What a beautiful house and gardens and I love the idea of bringing a book and sitting on a bench – it looks like the perfect place to sit and read. Love the photos of the pumpkins and the beautiful flowers in the gardens 🙂 #countrykids

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