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Things to do in Montacute House

Tournai Tapestry at Montacute House
The Tournai Tapestry, Montacute House | © James Dobson

Built in the late 1590s for Sir Edward Phelips, Montacute House is a glittering Elizabethan Renaissance masterpiece. Step inside the amazing building of stone and glass to discover more, including the rare and highly decorative 15th-century Tournai Tapestry. Here are just a few things you can expect to find.

The Tournai Tapestry

The knight, with his gleaming armour and red wolf or tiger flag held aloft, parades his elegantly decorated horse through a dense meadow of flowers. The design of this type of tapestry is described as millefleurs (a thousand flowers).

The knight appears fearless and triumphant, the epitome of bravery depicted in French tales that were sometimes known as chansons de geste (epic poems or songs of heroic deeds). The knight holds the coat of arms of Jean de Daillon, Seigneur de Laude or Lude (1413–81), who was governor of Dauphiné, a province in south-eastern France.

Daillon commissioned the tapestry in 1477–9, but it was paid for by the town of Tournai as a gift. It was made in Tournai as part of a set by the master craftsman Guillaume Desremaulx (d.1482/3), but only this example survives. It is the earliest tapestry in the care of the National Trust.

The Hunter Tapestry

This tapestry was designed by Francois Desportes c.1731 but based on an earlier set woven for Louis XIV at the Gobelins factory in Paris. It was woven by Scottish master weaver James Neilson, who introduced many innovations at the Gobelins factory.

Chicheley Collection

The tables, chairs and cabinets in the Parlour once belonged to the Chester family of Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire. The suite of chairs, the sofa, table and screen have been here on loan since 1945.

Skimmington Ride in the Great Hall at Montacute House
The Skimmington Ride in the Great Hall at Montacute House | © James Dobson

Skimmington Ride

At the end of the hall is a plaster panel dating from the 1600s depicting a scene of rough justice. This is known as the “Skimmington Ride”.

Closure of the first and second floors

All these interesting items can be seen on the ground floor of Montacute House. The first and second floors of the house are closed and we are sorry for any inconvenience.

View of the east side of Montacute House from Cedar Lawn with sunshine hitting the house

Discover more at Montacute House

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

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Family looking at the fountain at Montacute House

Things to do in the garden at Montacute House 

Explore the garden of Montacute House throughout the seasons. See the yew trees, affectionately known as ‘wibbly wobbly’ hedges, or take a few moments of tranquillity in the Orangery.

Visitors walking their dog in the parkland with Montacute House in the background

Things to do on the estate at Montacute House 

Walk the estate at Montacute House and discover nature, views and landmarks to enjoy throughout the season. Bring along your dog and enjoy wide-open spaces.

A cushion with a floral decoration and colourful pastel throws

Eating and shopping at Montacute House 

Whether it’s a quick bite to eat or some retail therapy you’re looking for, Montacute House is sure to have something for you.

The west front of Montacute house as the sun begins to set behind it

History of Montacute House 

Step inside an Elizabethan Renaissance masterpiece at Montacute House, with its historic interiors, beautiful furniture and fantastic portraits.

Father and child walking in garden

Family-friendly things to do at Montacute House 

If you’re looking for things to do together this spring, why not head over to Montacute House? There is plenty to keep the whole family happy.

Pavilion in the East Court Garden, Montacute House, Somerset

Our conservation work at Montacute House 

The National Trust works hard to ensure that Montacute House and its garden are maintained for the enjoyment of visitors. Find out about some of the jobs we’ve undertaken.

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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.

Crocuses and Strode House, Barrington Court in Spring

Houses and buildings in Somerset 

Discover decorative mansions and humble Georgian dwellings. Explore a wide variety of historic homes and find out about the people that lived there. There’s plenty to see and do with the family in Somerset.