House

Unusual works of art in the drawing room

The drawing room is home to the craftwork of the Parminter sisters © NTPL/David Garner

The drawing room is home to the craftwork of the Parminter sisters

Explore the drawing room, the heart of A la Ronde, and a showcase of the astonishing artistic skills of the Parminters. You'll see the incredible wall pictures, crafted by hand from sand, seaweed and card, the fireplace detailed with shells and walls decorated with intricately arranged feathers.

Get closer to the Shell Gallery

Catch your breath gazing at the elaborate shell decorations © NTPL/David Garner

Catch your breath gazing at the elaborate shell decorations

Experience the Shell Gallery like never before. The intricate patterns and designs of as many as 25,000 shells are captured in our new high quality interactive video. You can even zoom in and out to get a closer look at the fantastic craft work in this unique room.

Which door to choose in the Octagon?

The glass globe in the Octagon belonged to Mary Parminter © John Perriam

The glass globe in the Octagon belonged to Mary Parminter

Even in a house as quirky as A la Ronde, the Octagon is something special. What treasures will you find behind the eight doors that lead off it? Rising up to the famous Shell Gallery, the green decorations of the Octagon make it feel like you are walking through an undersea cave rising up to a shell grotto above.

Play a tune in the music room

Why not have a go on the grand piano © Shelia Haycox

Why not have a go on the grand piano

Feeling musical? Why not take a seat and play a tune on the grand piano. This room is full of curiosities, from Inuit models and an emu egg, to a chair belonging to Nelson’s wife.

Curiouser and curiouser

Detail from A la Ronde cabinet of curiosities © Colin Searle

Detail from A la Ronde cabinet of curiosities

The cabinet of curiosities in the library is jam packed with a jumble of Parminter family souvenirs such as shells, beadwork, semi-precious stones and votive statues. 

The Octagon at A la Ronde from above, which door should I choose? © NTPL/David Garner

The Octagon at A la Ronde from above, which door should I choose?

Step inside

Enter a magical world, a 16 sided house inspired by the incredible adventures of two fiercely independent spinster cousins, Mary and Jane Parminter, who went on a tour around Europe.

From walls lovingly decorated with hundreds of feathers and shells, to quirky diamond shaped windows, this house is truly unique. Have a wander around the surreal Octagon room with eight doors leading off it; which one will you choose?


 

Curiouser and curiouser

Take a closer look at the the Cabinet of Curiosities at A la Ronde © NTPL/Geoffrey Frosh

Take a closer look at the the Cabinet of Curiosities at A la Ronde

This is a real treasure house with every nook and cranny crammed with bizarre items collected over the years. Take a look and see what you can find in our rare cabinet of curiosities.
This treasure trove is overflowing with everything from ancient Egyptian artefacts and precious rocks to prints from Switzerland.

Magical links

One of the striking diamond-shaped windows at A la Ronde © NTPL/Geoffrey Frosh

One of the striking diamond-shaped windows at A la Ronde

It is believed that these quirky diamond shaped windows were the inspiration for the Shell Cottage windows in the final Harry Potter film.

See our legacy

Travelling around Europe inspired Mary and Jane to build A la Ronde © NTPL/Angelo Hornak

Travelling around Europe inspired Mary and Jane to build A la Ronde

A short walk from A la Ronde is the privately run Point in View chapel. Built by Mary and Jane Parminter the chapel also included a school which was used to educate young girls, especially Jewish converts to Christianity. It is the resting place of Mary and Jane.

Travel back in time

Have fun trying on Victorian clothes in the dressing room © A la Ronde Staff

Have a go at dressing up as a Victorian gentleman or a Georgian lady. See how you look in a frock or a top hat.

Start building

See if you can put A la Ronde together out of blocks © Nicola Perryman

You've had a look around A la Ronde, now see if you can build it out of these blocks.

Get creative

Get inspired by the Parminter sisters and make your own shell decorations © A la Ronde Staff

Feeling inspired by the Shell Gallery? Help yourself to some shells and card in the Dressing Room and see what pictures you can make.

Explore the house with our family trails

A life changing trip

Brought in Italy this portrait is believed to have inspired the Parminters © Shelia Haycox

Learn more about the Parminter's daring tour around revolutionary Europe, from travelling through bandit filled forests to encounters with royalty including Marie Antoinette and the King of Prussia. Discover how these experiences inspired A la Ronde and their incredible art including the Shell Gallery.

Creative eccentricities

This breathtaking decoration was made from hundreds of feathers © A la Ronde Staff

Discover the secrets of the Parminter's incredible craftwork, from the famous Shell Gallery to the feather frieze, lovingly created from hundreds of feathers and arranged in elaborate patterns. Find out about their hand made pictures crafted from bizarre materials such as moss, seaweed and sand.

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