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Things to do in Saltram house

Visitors explore the staircase hall at Saltram, looking at the artworks and ceiling window
Exploring Saltram's staircase hall | © Sophie Bolesworth

Home to the Parker family for several generations, Saltram is a Georgian jewel, rich with original collections and architecture. An elegant façade built around a much earlier house, it was acquired by George Parker in 1712 and today provides a fascinating glimpse into upper class life at the time.

Hidden Treasures of the National Trust - Episode 5 - Saltram

Airing on Friday 10 May, Saltram will be one of the central stories when Hidden Treasures of the National Trust returns to the BBC for a second series. Saltram's episode will be broadcast on Friday 7 June, but available on BBC iPlayer on 10 May.

Scheduled for 9pm on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer the programme will reveal new and compelling stories about the work going on behind the scenes of the National Trust to conserve incredible objects and properties and the passionate staff and volunteers who care for them.

The episode features the conservation of the painting Theresa Robinson, Mrs Jogn Parker by Sir Joshua Reynolds, the Axminster carpet re-weave project as well as the conservation cleaning of one of Saltram's most beloved paintings 'The Ampitheatre At Saltram by William Tomkins'. All of which can be seen on your visit to Saltram House this year.

“We are proud to share the stories of three major conservation projects as part of series two of Hidden Treasures of the National Trust. Each project represents a ground-breaking approach to conservation and enhances public access to our treasured collections. We believe that the series will not only enlighten but also inspire viewers to experience the beauty and history of Saltram first-hand.” Zoe Shearman, Property Curator at Saltram

Creative Saltram : Angelica Kauffman and classical inspiration at Saltram

Inspired by Angelica Kaufman’s self-expression through art, music and poetry, this year we will explore the creativity of, and inspiration for, work by Kauffman and other artists and makers at Saltram, offering ways to get creative on your visits this season.

Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807) was one of the leading history painters of her day and a founding member of the Royal Academy who led a renewed interest in classical art. Depicting stories that reflect on history, politics, and the role of women. How did she come to have such an impact on the art world? And why will you find so many of her works here at Saltram?

Never before seen at Saltram: Theresa Robinson Parker By Angelica Kauffman

From 10 February to 30 June 2024, Kauffman's portrait of Saltram's Theresa Parker (1744-1775) will be on display in Saltram's staircase hall for the first time from a private collection. Originally commissioned by Theresa Parker as a gift for her friend Lady Pelham, this is one of a series of paintings Kauffman produced of women in Turkish costume.

Also on display are the drawings, prints and books that inspired Kauffman's works and her creativity, as well as a closer look at the items within Saltram's collection that would have influenced the artists classical style.

Hector, son of the King of Troy, prepares to go to battle. He wears his plumed helmet and holds a spear. He stands hand-in-hand with Andromache, his devoted wife, in front the gates of Troy. A nurse is holding their son Astyanax. The child prefers to look into her eyes rather than towards his father, who is attired for war.
Angelica Kauffman's painting depicting an episode from Homer's epic poem 'The Iliad'. | © John Hammond

Hector taking leave of Andromache Angelica Kauffman RA (Chur 1741 – Rome 1807)

The scene painted by Kauffman depicts an episode from Homer's epic poem 'The Iliad'. The wife of the first owner of the picture, Theresa Parker, declared in a letter to her brother: 'The prettiest and I think the best she (Angelica Kauffman) ever did is the painting of Hector and Andromache.'

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House Tours - We want to hear from you

This year we are looking to our audiences to find out how they would like to see tours return to Saltram. We have created a quick 5 minute survey linked here to discover how you would like to experience a house tour at Saltram. Thank you for taking the time to feedback to us.

Saltram House Tours Questionnaire Survey (

The Saloon carpet Axminster re-weave

From 29th March 2024 come and experience one of Britain’s finest early Georgian interiors as its designer originally intended. The spectacular Axminster carpet in the Saloon has been expertly recreated by the same firm whose founder wove the original carpet back in 1770, allowing us to walk in the exact footsteps of the Parker family in their home some 250 years on.

John and Theresa Parker commissioned the fashionable Scottish designer and architect Robert Adam to design every detail of the Saloon at Saltram. In around 1768, he designed a huge 13.5m x 5.9m one-off carpet to echo the pattern of the beautiful plasterwork ceiling above.

The National Trust has worked with historic local firm Axminster Carpets, whose founder Thomas Whitty, wove the original carpet in the 18th century, to reweave two partial copies that can be laid over the original. These now allow you to enter and appreciate the lavish room just as John and Theresa Parker did over 250 years ago.

The full-length protective reweaves, each covering two-thirds of the carpet’s width, will be regularly rotated so that every 18months-2 years it can be cleaned, repaired and stored by bespoke flooring specialists Linney Cooper, whilst the second copy is then laid. This approach will allow the original carpet to rest and extend the life of the reweaves to up to thirty years.

Axminster Carpets rebuilt its largest loom to accommodate the most complex reweave it has undertaken in its 268-year history. The six-week reweave involved 22 thread colours and 96,130 changes of bobbin (the cylinder on which the yarn is wound), each change taking anywhere from three hours to a whole day to complete.

The carpet reweave is the final stage of a major Saloon conservation project which began in 2017. The conservation project was funded by the National Trust and Wolfson Foundation and is a first of its kind, once again making history.

Saltram's luxurious Saloon with two lit chandeliers, damask wallpaper and a re-weave carpet covering half of the room so visitors can now walk through the space.
Exploring Saltram's Saloon re-weave carpet | © Sophie Bolesworth

Learn about a lavish lifestyle

The lifestyle the Parkers enjoyed can be clearly seen through the sumptuous, original furnishings and significant collections still on display, including stunning paintings, ceramics and textiles.

The Robert Adam Saloon

The highlight of any visit to Saltram House is a visit to the ‘Great Room’, the Saloon. Here you can see one of the best and most complete rooms designed by architect Robert Adam and finished in 1772.

Grey-blue Giltwood armchairs attributed to Thomas Chippendale lined up in the Saloon at Saltram, Devon
The saloon at Saltram | © National Trust Images / John Hammond

Saltram's painting collection

Originally the family acquired history paintings by the artist Angelica Kauffman for display in the Saloon. However, these now hang in Saltram’s staircase hall. As well as commissioning new paintings, the Parkers looked to buy historic pieces of art.

The painting collection grows

Above the fireplace you can spot an early 17th-century copy of Titian’s painting The Andrians, which is said to have been bought by Joshua Reynolds for the family.

The gold and duck egg blue colour scheme for the Saloon is striking by day. However, just imagine it by candlelight and filled with the music and laughter of a ball.

Saltram's library

Saltram’s library is a wonderful example of an evolving family collection. In 1780, the library moved from its former location, (where the dining room is now), to its current spot.

The oldest book in the library is a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle. This was published in 1493 and tells the story of the history of the world. Unusually for its time, it contains numerous woodcut print illustrations, around 1,800 of them.

Saltram: the lending library?

Alongside historic texts, the library also has a lighter side. Novels were normally borrowed from libraries rather than purchased. The fact that Saltram has its own novel collection is unusual.

We know that members of the family borrowed them to read so it possible that Saltram acted as a lending library to family and friends.

When it was published in 1813, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice proved as popular among the Parkers as it did wider society.

Metamorphic furniture

Saltram has a few examples of ‘metamorphic’ furniture in the library, which was both useful and attractive. This includes ‘Campbell’s Newly invented Library Steps’, which neatly packs away into a table.

Metamorphic chair

Likewise, a chair designed after Morgan and Standers of London, is a comfortable seat. Turned upside down, it becomes a set of steps.

Whether you prefer the opulent magnificence of the Boulle desks and clocks or the functional simplicity of the copper pots and pans in the kitchen, Saltram has something to see for everyone.

Conservation in action

It remained one of the Parker family homes until 1957 when it was transferred to the National Trust.

Want to learn more about how we look after the collections? We regularly have conservations in action in different rooms, where you can watch our team care for the objects and chat to them about their work.

A view of Saltram's pantry with copper pans and mixing bowls through the door of the Kitchen
A view of Saltram's pantry with copper pans and mixing bowls through the Kitchen | © ©National Trust Images/Sophie Bolesworth

Taking photos at Saltram

All visitors to National Trust properties can to take photographs or film outdoors for their own private, non-commercial use. Visitors can also take photographs indoors without flash or tripod again private use such as personal social media accounts and for catupring precious memories. Commerical photography inside the house or garden is not permitted without prior approval. If you are looking to have a photoshoot at Saltram please send your enquiry to

The white exterior of the house at Saltram with lawn in front of it

Discover more at Saltram

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

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The history of Saltram house 

Built as an 18th century summer residence, Saltram’s historic interiors are just as beautiful today as they were; browse the shelves in the Library and see architect Robert Adam’s designs in the Saloon.

A visitor touching plants in the garden at Saltram

Things to do in the garden at Saltram 

Discover what there is to see and do in this garden full of seasonal scents and bursting with colour, with views across the River Plym and beyond.

A woman looks at old books in the library at Saltram house, in Devon

The collection at Saltram 

See what there is to discover among the collection at Saltram, including fine examples of Wedgwood ceramics, intricate Chinese wallpapers and portraits by Joshua Reynolds.

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Eating and shopping at Saltram 

Find out what’s in stock and on the menu this season when you grab a bite to eat in the Chapel Tea-room or browse the shop.

Visitors on a guided group tour with a volunteer guide at Hidcote Manor Garden, Gloucestershire in September

Group and school visits at Saltram 

There’s lots for groups and schools to enjoy at Saltram, from learning about history and nature to tucking into tea and cake, as well as group discounts.

Moated medieval manor hall, with blue skies in background, Oxburgh Estate, Norfolk

Houses and buildings 

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

Outside the Loughwood Meeting House, Devon, in spring.

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.