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A La Ronde

a la ronde

Marvel at a Mini Masterpiece at A La Ronde

Nestled near the coast in Exmouth Devon, A La Ronde is an enchanting 18th-century cottage famous for its delicate hand-crafted interiors that create a one-of-a-kind historic home. With its intricately hand-cut woodwork, fanciful decorations, and ingenious architecture, time seems to stand still when exploring this quirky cottage gem.

From admiring the delicate feather Friezes to exploring the ingenious hexagonal design, A La Ronde is a mini masterpiece full of magic and wonder waiting to captivate visitors of all ages. Here is everything you need to know to visit this fascinating National Trust treasure.

a la ronde outside

Getting There

A La Ronde sits just outside Exmouth in East Devon, close to the village of Lympstone.

By Car

It is just over 30 minutes drive from Exeter. Approach via the A376 Exeter to Exmouth Road and follow the signs to Lympstone where you’ll spot indicators for A La Ronde.

By Bus and Bike

While a bit less convenient, you can also reach A La Ronde using public transport and a short cycle or walk. Local buses run services between Exeter and Exmouth stopping at Lympstone Village. From there it is just under a mile to ride or walk to A La Ronde.

Opening Times and Prices

A La Ronde is open from early February through to October:

February to March: Friday to Monday 11am-4pm.

April to October: Wednesday to Sunday 11am-5pm.

It closes outside these months except for pre-booked tours and special event days. Check the website calendar for updated opening times.

Entry prices are:

  • Adults: £9.50
  • Children: £4.50
  • Family ticket: £23.75
  • National Trust Members: Free

Book ahead at peak times to guarantee entry.

The Cottage Interior

Stepping inside the cottage, you are immersed in a world of handcrafted decorative details created by Jane and Mary Parminter in the late 18th century, including:

  • Feather Friezes – Intricate floral swirls and shapes cut from over 250,000 colourful feathers.
  • Octagon rooms – An ingenious spiral staircase connects hexagonal rooms moving upwards.
  • Shell galleries – Myriad shells and sea pebbles cover lathe-turned ceilings and cornices.
  • Paper mazes – Elaborate scrolling paper cuts adorn the walls and doors.

Guides are on hand to explain the stories behind the Parminter sisters’ incredible artistic creations that make A La Ronde so unique.

a la ronde internal

Upstairs Galleries

The upper floor of A La Ronde holds even more creativity to uncover:

  • Collection Gallery – A cabinet of curiosities containing natural history specimens and souvenirs.
  • Embroidery Room – Delicate silk embroideries stitched by the sisters and their friends.
  • Portrait Gallery – Paintings of the Parminters and renowned society figures.

Every inch of the cottage interiors have been thoughtfully crafted into an artistic treasure trove – look up, down, and all around!

a la ronde shells

The Gardens

Spend time too exploring the beautiful tranquil gardens that surround A La Ronde:

  • Formal Gardens – With winding paths, lawns, and colourful flower borders.
  • Orchard – A traditional orchard home to apple, plum and cherry trees.
  • Wildflower Meadow – Brilliant blooms spring up amongst the long grass.
  • Woodland Walks – Follow peaceful paths through shaded wooded areas.

The gardens provide a relaxing contrast to the ornate interior decoration, with plenty of spots to sit and contemplate the natural beauty.

Family Activities

A La Ronde offers several ways for younger visitors to engage with the unique cottage too:

  • Drawing materials – Inspire creativity by designing your own friezes.
  • Kids’ trail – Spot creatures and quirky features throughout the rooms.
  • Dressing up – Try on caps and aprons to transform into “servants”.
  • Garden trails – Follow the orchard trail or spot flowers.
  • Family craft days – Join special workshops making items like dreamcatchers.

The hands-on elements help bring the experience to life for children and ensure there’s something to appeal to all ages.

Visitor Information

Facilities onsite include a kiosk serving hot and cold sandwiches, baked treats and refreshments as well as tea and coffee .

There is no specific gift shop, but they do have a fantastic second hand book shop with hundreds of interesting books to look through.

Entry is limited to small groups. Photography is allowed but not tripods. Dogs are welcome on leads in the gardens only.

a la ronde door

Insider Tips

To fully embrace the magic of A La Ronde, try these handy tips:

  • Visit near opening time to avoid crowds.
  • Chat with volunteers to hear more personal stories.
  • Use the mirrors to admire ceiling artwork.
  • Take a torch to appreciate intricate details.
  • Follow one colour scheme through the whole cottage.
  • Leave time to relax in the tranquil gardens afterwards.

A La Ronde is a joyful treasure box just waiting to be uncovered. Spend a day discovering the playful creativity and artistic talents of the remarkable Parminter sisters preserved within this tiny Devon cottage gem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are non members of the National Trust able to visit A La Ronde? – Yes, certainly they are, but it is well worth thinking about joining if you visit National Trust properties regularly as teh savings are excellent

Are dogs allowed in A La Ronde? Only guide dogs are allowed in the cottage. In the gardens, your dog will be allowed, but must be on a lead

Nearby places to visit

If you are in this part of East Devon, you should also have a look at:

  • World of Country Life offers a fun and educational experience for the whole family. Visitors can explore the museum, interact with farm animals, and enjoy tractor rides, providing an engaging day out with a focus on rural life and heritage
  • Killerton House, a National Trust property, features a beautiful 18th-century house set amidst expansive gardens and parkland. Visitors can admire the elegant interiors, explore the extensive grounds, and learn about the history of the estate, offering a delightful blend of history and natural beauty.
  • The Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renowned for its stunning cliffs, fossil-rich beaches, and geological significance. Visitors can explore the coastal paths, discover ancient fossils, and marvel at the dramatic landscapes that span 185 million years of Earth’s history
  • Exmouth Beach, located near A La Ronde, offers a picturesque seaside escape. Visitors can relax on the sandy shores, take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, and enjoy various water sports, providing a perfect setting for a day of coastal enjoyment
  • Powderham Castle, situated on the banks of the River Exe, is a magnificent historic estate with a rich heritage. Visitors can tour the grand castle interiors, explore the deer park, and partake in guided tours, offering an immersive experience in a stunning setting
  • Bicton Park Botanical Gardens features an extensive collection of plants from around the world, set within beautifully landscaped gardens. Visitors can wander through themed gardens, explore the palm house, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this horticultural paradise

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