Knightshayes, near Tiverton, Devon
Knightshayes near Tiverton in Devon is like something out of the pages of a children's book, it's all rather Alice In Wonderland, both to look at and in the way it fires the imagination. The house is Gothic Revival, set in the most beautiful post war garden (it was remodelled in the 1950s by the family who lived there), but more of that later - let's talk about inside. Well, it's wonderful, of course, and the quirky touches make it all the more enchanting - the decorative painted ceilings, stone gargoyles, heraldic dogs on the grand staircase, a ceramic grotesque spiny beast in the library, and as you wander around the chances are you'll hear someone tinkling the ivories in the drawing room; have a go yourself if you fancy showing off your piano skills. There are family trails and you can have fun dressing up as servants, which you must admit, will make hilarious photos to show everyone!
Outside look out for the topiary fox being chased by hounds, wander around the formal gardens, see the walled kitchen garden, explore the acres and acres of parkland with the Four Oaks Play Area where the young 'uns can let off steam. Come back to The Conservatory Tea Room or The Stables Cafe for lunch or a sticky bun, and top it off with a visit to the gift shop for a memento of your visit. All done in traditional National Trust style, and hats off to them because they certainly know how it's done.
The grounds are open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; opening times for the house and cafe vary throughout the year.
T: 01884 254665 All information correct at the time of writing.