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Things to see and do at A la Ronde house

The circular exterior of A la Ronde with diamond shaped windows and a green door
The exterior of A la Ronde | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Discover an enchanting 16-sided house filled with the treasures from two women’s travels around Europe. From walls lovingly decorated with hundreds of shells and feathers to quirky diamond-shaped windows, every nook and cranny is crammed with curiosities collected over the years. Delve into A la Ronde’s history and see its noteworthy interiors and collection. Wander around the Octagon room and peep behind the doors leading off it.

A la Ronde's highlights

Step inside the home of two cousins

A la Ronde was once home to two fiercely independent cousins, Mary and Jane Parminter, who went on a tour around Europe. Inspired by their travels, they built A la Ronde as a rural retreat near fashionable Exmouth and filled it with their many mementos and souvenirs.

See the Shell Gallery

Experience the Shell Gallery like never before. The intricate patterns and designs of as many as 25,000 shells are captured in a new 360-degree interactive touchscreen. Thought to be originally designed to be viewed from the Octagon below, you can now zoom in and out to get a closer look at the spectacular craft work in this room.

The Room of Discovery

Inspired by the Shell Gallery and designed by visual artist Monica-Shanta, this new sensory space gives people the chance to encounter, and appreciate, the fragile beauty of the historic interiors in a unique and accessible way.

Peep behind the doors of the Octagon

What treasures will you find behind the doors that lead off the main Octagon room? Crowned by the famous Shell Gallery, the green decorations of the Octagon make it feel like you are walking through an undersea cave and shell grotto.

The interior of the library at A la Ronde with bookshelves to the right and many paintings on the green wall
The library at A la Ronde | © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Play a tune in the music room

Feeling musical? Take a seat and play a tune on the baby Boudour grand piano in the music room. This room is full of curiosities, from Inuit models and an emu egg.

Discover the Cabinet of Curiosities

The Cabinet of Curiosities in the library is bursting with Parminter family souvenirs such as shells, beadwork, semi-precious stones and votive statues, ancient Egyptian artefacts, prints from Switzerland and Italian gouache.

The exterior of A la Ronde on a sunny day

Discover more at A la Ronde

Find out when A la Ronde is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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A child's painting of A la Ronde with two people in 19th century dress in the foreground

History of A la Ronde 

Delve into the history of this characterful 16-sided house to discover how two women created a unique home and filled it with curios from their world travels.

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Fremington pottery at A la Ronde 

Amongst the jumble of curios from travels abroad is something that was made a little closer to home – a specially commissioned Fremington jug. Find out more about its history.

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Volunteering at A la Ronde 

Find out more about the volunteering opportunities at A la Ronde and how you can help care for this special place. We are always on the lookout for new additions to our team.

Conservation staff at A la Ronde, Devon, cleaning the collection

Our work at A la Ronde 

Our conservation team work hard all year around to look after the special collections of A la Ronde. Find out more about the work they do.

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Houses and buildings 

Historic buildings are a treasure trove of stories, art and collections. Learn more about their histories and plan your next visit.

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Houses and buildings in Devon 

Discover the grand houses and curious family homes across Devon. Step inside and find things to inspire and entertain all the family, whatever the weather.