Things to see and do at A la Ronde house
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Historic buildings are a treasure trove of stories, art and collections. Learn more about what makes these places so special and plan your visit.