What's it like to volunteer in the house at Scotney Castle?

Volunteering is a wonderful opportunity to go behind the scenes at Scotney Castle and help at this exciting time of discovery in the house. Meet one of our volunteers, Maz, and hear what she has to say about her time here.

How long have you been at Scotney Castle?

I have been a volunteer at Scotney for just under 2 ½ years

How would you describe room guiding? 

Being a room guide is so rewarding. You go from being petrified the first couple of sessions to being protective and proud of the house in a short time. You meet lovely people visiting the house, having conversations about topics you would never of dreamed of having. I have made some wonderful new friends with house staff and other volunteers, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. 

Where’s your favourite place on the estate? 

My favourite place is the front steps of the house looking across at the perfect triangle shaped fir tree, listening to the birds. I love watching people walk past the house to the garden with their dogs, children dragging their feet in the gravel, youngsters with grandparents and picnic bags being pulled along.  

Scotney mansion house in summer sunshine
Scotney mansion house in summer sunshine
Scotney mansion house in summer sunshine

How have the house and wider property changed since you started?  

The house hasn’t changed that much as the main core of the collection stays the same with seasonal changes, e.g. the flower festival and this year the fabulous Christmas decorations which seemed a hit with the visitors. Saying that, the last 6-9 months have seen some carpets being removed and the beautiful wooden floors being revealed, along with the new blinds which balance light levels without damaging visitors experience.

The library at Scotney Castle dressed for a Victorian Christmas
The library at Scotney looking very atmospheric with low lighting, a giant Christmas tree, children's traditional Victorian toys scattered over the floor and a fire glowing in the grate
The library at Scotney Castle dressed for a Victorian Christmas

Which is your favourite piece of the collection, and why? 

My favourite piece of the collection is the books. I just love the library and lots of visitors feel the same. Books give knowledge and great joy, there is nothing better than curling up with a book by yourself or teaching a child or grandchild to read and turn the pages – it’s magical. There is such a warm feeling in the library; I could be in there all day. 

Spend some time browsing the books in the library
Scotney Castle library books
Spend some time browsing the books in the library

What would be your top tip to anyone wanting to become a Room Guide? 

Go for it – you won’t regret it! Don’t be afraid to say if you don’t know the answer to a question, someone else or the room folders will help you. Be yourself and treat others as you would like to be treated. You will make some great new friends.

Why did you want to start volunteering for the National Trust?  

I met an old friend for lunch who already volunteered in the house and he said I would love it. A week later I had a text saying what are you doing Saturday, the staff at Scotney are dying to meet you! So I came and shadowed another volunteer, Julian, for the morning and have been coming ever since. It was something I had not even thought about but so glad I took the plunge. 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Spare time?! I’m retired – we don’t have spare time! I am teaching myself to make simple quilts and easy sewing projects. I have a small garden and like pottering about. I am a member of the volunteer waxing and polishing group so can be found in the house cleaning silver brass fire finders or even on my hands and knees polishing wooden floors – it’s much better than house work at home! Then there is the coffee mornings or lunches with the great friends I have made at Scotney.

If this role sounds of interest to you, please get in touch. We'd love to invite you in to have a look round and meet the team.