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Visiting Trelissick house

Friends sat in the house tearoom having tea and cake overlooking the river, Trelissick, Cornwall
Visitors enjoy tea and cake in the Trelissick house tearoom | © National Trust Images / Steve Haywood

Trelissick is not your typical country house visit. It is presented as neither a home nor museum but plays host to a modest collection - including ceramics inspired by rhododendrons from the garden. The south facing rooms are open as a place to sit and take in the view with refreshments from the house tearoom.

Trelissick house tearoom

The tearoom is set in contemporary family kitchen and offers light lunches including sandwiches and soup, a varierty of refreshments and treats and Cornish cream teas. Your refreshments can be taken through to one of the south-facing rooms to be enjoyed overlooking the view of the Carrick Roads.

A view over the River Fal, gardens and the house at Trelissick on a sunny day
View towards the house and parkland across the River Fal | © National Trust Images/Hilary Daniel

Trelissick house

West Library

The West Library, with its curious brown fabric wallcovering, has played host to an estate office, a library and a china collection started by Ida Copeland’s husband, Ronald. The Copeland family were co-owners of Spode, the ceramics company based in Stoke-on-Trent. They were involved for four generations, starting with Ronald’s great-great-grandfather William Copeland’s partnership with Josiah Spode, the company’s founder.

After Ronald Copeland became involved in Spode, he started collecting bone china to display at the factory, to enable the company’s artists and designers to study the best in ceramic design. After Spode was bought by an American company in 1966, Ronald and Ida’s son, Spencer, moved part of Ronald’s collection to Trelissick and continued to add to it. Spencer housed the china collection here and opened it to visitors from the 1980’s.

Now the West Library is a space to relax and read while Cinefilm shows historic videos of the garden. A small selection of second-hand books are available and there are books and puzzles for children. For 2024 we’ve started to schedule storytelling sessions and activities for families.

Drawing room

The Drawing room space was used as a place for the family to relax, read and play music. With its lavish decoration and false double doors it was designed to impress visitors and served well as a place for entertaining guests.

Many of the items in this room come from Italy or are Italianate in style. Ida Copeland was half Italian. Born in Florence in 1876 into the aristocratic Fenzi family, when Ida moved to Trelissick she bought with her several pictures of her father’s home, which you can see on the walls.

It is said that Leonard Cunliffe, Ida’s stepfather, fell in love with Trelissick when he saw the house some years earlier from his boat. Cunliffe owned many of the items in Drawing room, including the George III Carlton House desk, around the base of which you can see the ink splashes on the floor from years of letter writing.

The delicate nature of the silk covered walls, as well as the centuries-old embroideries, means that we need to keep our UVprotective blinds down to prevent light from damaging these items. It’s easy to see the effects of years of direct sunlight on the side of the piano, where the lacquer is peeling and on the silk wallcoverings.


Now home to the kitchen café this contemporary family kitchen was installed by Ida Copeland’s grandson. On the fireplace above the Aga you can see the crest of the Daniell family, who lived here in the early 19th century.

Morning room, Dining room, East Library and Solarium

Refreshments from the tearoom can be enjoyed in one of these south-facing rooms overlooking the view of the Carrick Roads. The Copeland family used these rooms as a place to entertain, eat dinner and watch TV together.

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