A La Ronde

A La Ronde

  • Unique 16-sided, 18th-century house
  • Impressive collection of Grand Tour mementoes
  • Distinctive interior decor
  • Stunning panoramic views over the Exe Estuary

Two miles from the centre of Exmouth and overlooking the river estuary is the National Trust property of A-La-Ronde.

This 45 ft high, sixteen sided, Byzantine style, thatched house has twenty rooms set out around a central octagonal hall.

Built at the end of the 18th century, A La Ronde was the home of two spinster cousins, Jane and Mary Parminter, who had spent 10 years touring the continent and enjoying the inspirational architecture of great churches, castles and monuments in at least six different countries. During this extensive vacation they collected a vast array of souvenirs and, once settled back in England, wanted an exotic home in which to display their foreign mementoes.

Despite these attempts to impress with a standard of Victorian modernisation, nothing really prepares the visitor for the wondrous spectacle of the shell gallery, a sight which highlights the undeniable skills of these two Georgian ladies. Millions of shells, feathers, stones and bits of pottery have been laboriously pressed into the walls to create a fanciful display almost beyond belief. Years of tireless, and often precarious, work must have gone into this fantastic exhibition of such delicate skills, and in an effort to preserve it for many more years to come, it is now only possible to view the work on closed circuit television.

For places to stay in Devon, as a base from which to visit A La Ronde and the surrounding area, please see: Country House Hotels in Devon , Coastal Hotels in Devon , Spa Hotels in Devon , Bed & Breakfasts in Devon or Self-Catering Cottages in Devon

Maybe the Parminters could be considered slightly eccentric, and from the Will left at Mary´s death this might endorse that statement still further. She insisted that A la Ronde and its contents should be preserved intact, and that only unmarried ladies would be eligible to inherit it. These conditions held firm until the house was transferred to the Reverend Oswald Reichel, a brother of one of the former occupants, and it was Reichel who was responsible for the structural changes. In over two hundred years Reichel has been the sole male owner of this charming little cottage and, ironically, has made the most impact on A la Ronde´s structural character.

There is a tea room, National Trust shop and plant sales available here.

Photo Credits:

NTPL/David Garner

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