A La Ronde, National Trust, Exmouth, Devon
Take yourself back to the 18th Century when ladies took the Grand Tour of Europe and opened their eyes to another world. This unique circular house, now run by the National Trust, offers ‘A Room with a View’ of the Exe estuary.
Don’t miss this unique sixteen-sided house with its fascinating collection of shells and curiosities. A La Ronde was described by Lucinda Lambton as having ‘a magical strangeness that one might dream of only as a child’.
It’s just a short drive from Darts Farm and the tour of the hour doesn’t take long.
One of the things I particularly love about the house is its position. The gardens of A La Ronde are a fantastic spot for a Devonshire afternoon tea because the views from the house of the Exe estuary are simply glorious.
Perfect for a sunny summer’s day on the Devon coast.
Meet the Ladies of the Grand Tour
Visit the former home of Jane and Mary Parminter, two adventurous and wealthy second cousins who travelled together on the Grand Tour. Their extraordinary sixteen-sided house was decorated with feathers, seashells, seaweed and sand and filled with curiosities brought back from their travels.
Take Afternoon Tea With a View
The house is located in the fashionable and elegant sea-bathing resort of Exmouth where well-known residents included Viscountess Nelson. There’s a rumour that it was built on the site with its magnificent view overlooking the Exe Estuary, because the residents would see if Napoleonic soldiers invaded, something they were very afraid of. You, however, can simply relax and enjoy the view while having a Devon cream tea on the lawn.
Eating on the Grand Tour
As you walk through its rooms, discover how travelling to Europe for the first time, the cousins would have been introduced to new tastes such as broccoli, ravioli and radish, foods that were completely unknown at home. Travellers were given a fork, spoon and glass but they took their own knife.
Dining in the 18th Century
On the dining table, you’ll notice that unlike modern day forks, those laid out only have 3 prongs. Drinking tea was a luxury enjoyed by the Parminters. It was a very expensive commodity which is why on the side table, you’ll see the mahogany tea caddy has a lock on it.
- Visit on Trafalgar Day (21st October), to see the red, white and blue decorations festooned around the house
- Pick up local ales, cider and fruit wine from the Lyme Bay Winery in the National Trust shop
Fleet Broadside – Beef Wellington with Port wine and shallots is recommended by the National Museum as a main course for a Trafalgar Night dinner.
Where To Stay in Devon
I’m very welcome. I can’t go inside but I do get free dog biscuits from the shop and a drinking bowl.
How To Find A La Ronde
National Trust, A La Ronde, Summer Lane, Exmouth, Devon EX8 5BD
The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.