Devon is home to a wealth of castles and stately homes that span the centuries.
A La Ronde – this quirky and unique 16-sided house was built on the instructions of two spinster cousins, Jane and Mary Parminter, on their return from a grand tour of Europe. Completed in 1796, the house contains many 18th and 19th century collections brought back by the Parminters. The house has wonderful interior décor, and will live long in the memory of anyone who visits it.
Berry Pomeroy – Tucked away in a deep wooded valley, this 15th Century ruin has a colourful history of intrigue. A romantic castle, unusual in combining the remains of a large castle with a flamboyant courtier’s mansion, it also is known as one of the most haunted places in Great Britain.
Buckland Abbey – located near Yelverton and tucked away in its own secluded valley above the River Tavy, Buckland was built in the 13th century. It was home to the Cistercian monks who built the abbey and the incredible Great Barn. It eventually became home to Sir Francis Drake, and a visit here today is both absorbing and highly memorable.
Castle Drogo – located in Drewsteignton this claims to be the ‘last castle built in England’ and is currently having a massive restoration project carried out – although it remains open. Visitors can explore new rooms never before open to the public and wander through the fine formal gardens. Below the castle, winding paths lead into the sheltered Teign Valley.
Coleton Fishacre – the country home of the D’Oyly Carte family in the 1920’s, this house, with its beautiful Royal Horticultural Society accredited gardens, is well worth a visit. Built in the Arts and Craft Style, the house exudes 1920’s elegance and music from the era fills the rooms.
Compton Castle – A fortified manor house in the village of Compton, it is a rare survivor from medieval times with high curtain walls, towers and a portcullis set in rolling hills. Home to the Gilbert family for 600 years, Sir Humphrey Gilbert was raised here.
Greenway – the home of world famous author Agatha Christie, Greenway is located in a beautiful location above the River Dart. It is set in the 1950’s and contains many of the family’s collections, including archaeology, Tunbridgeware, silver, botanical china and books. Outside you can explore the large woodland garden and vinery, and enjoy the stunning views across the Dart Estuary. In summer the Walled Garden is transformed into an outdoor theatre.
Killerton – Killerton is an 18th-century house set in lovely Devon countryside, which, with its hillside garden and estate, has been owned by the National Trust since 1944. With its world renowned historical fashion collection and wonderful landscape gardens surrounded by parkland, Killerton brings to life generations of the Aclands, one of Devon’s oldest families.
Powderham Castle – located a few miles from Exeter, this is one of England’s oldest family homes. This castle is perfect for a family day out, with pets corner, deer park safaris, birds of prey, and plenty of play areas for children. Inside the castle the original Victorian kitchen is open to visitors and guided tours of the castle are fun and informative.
Shilstone House – a former Domesday manor house, Shilstone House recently won a prestigious restoration award. Re-discovered in 1999 and restored by the Fenwicks, Shilstone House has an incredible history dating back to at least the 1st Century BC. With its fantastic gardens, unique 17th Century water theatre, and home to the Devon Rural Archive, a private guided tour here will help complete the story of this much loved estate.
Totnes Castle – a classic motte and bailey castle, founded soon after the Norman Conquest, this castle is a perfect place to enjoy the stunning views over Totnes and across the River Dart. A visit here combines perfectly with a wander around the colourful streets and shops of Totnes.