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“Unique Architecture, fascinating National Trust property.”
Review of A La Ronde

A La Ronde
Ranked #5 of 43 things to do in Exmouth
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 26 July 2014


We visited A La Ronde as a lunchtime break en route to Dartmouth, it is 15 minutes from the M5. It is a perfect place to spend two to three hours. The house, set in its own meadow, has superb views over the river Exe.

First the house itself, which is unique in its hexagonal construction, looks of modest proportions on the outside but is surprisingly spacious inside. The rooms are mostly triangular but the high ceilings downstairs and beautiful diamond shaped widows with their ingenious folding blinds give an airy feel. Upstairs, accessed by tiny winding staircases, is entirely different. The roof was originally thatched and windowless but the house's only male owner, the Reverend, had dormer windows installed doubling the room sizes to make bedrooms and a bathroom. Lots of quirky things to see here, the exposed mechanism for the dumb waiter particularly intrigued me.

On entering the house it is best to explore from the left, first visiting the kitchen then the lounge with its huge original radiator before making your way upstairs. When you descend there is the dining room to see. This was my favourite room. If you wonder why it feels warmer here, look above the table to the original gas lighting still in use. The walls have several prints depicting Rome before the advent of the camera. I was fascinated to see familiar architecture in an overgrown and run down state, obviously the Romans have tidied it up a bit. 

The outer rooms all face into a naturally lit vestibule, above in the eaves is a shell gallery which can be seen but not visited. The room next to the dining room has two touch screens giving you a 360 degree view on which you can zoom in.

The interior is dominated by collections and the decor is very crafty, look out for the real feather borders. I commented that I imagined I was in a dolls house, the room guide replied "well it was designed by two girls".

You leave the house and descend into the tea room, very quaint with low, round doorways and a nice view of the meadow and the Exe beyond. A limited but tasty menu is available. A lovely arts and crafts clock is a nice feature here.

Before leaving don't miss the meadow walk, it only takes about 20 minutes on a well maintained path, to see A La Ronde from a different perspective.

It was a real treat to visit, a lunch stop became an afternoon adventure. Also great to see younger members at this property among the many volunteer room guides.

Thank cabbie37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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553 - 557 of 731 reviews

Reviewed 21 July 2014

The property is small in relation to other National Trust locations but surprisingly packed full of interesting and fun things. The house is fascinating and the volunteers were very knowledgable and enthusiastic. The tea shop is very good and serves a good gluten free lunch.

Thank beckiecook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2014

Well signposted and easy to find on the Exeter to Exmouth road, but beware of the entrance/exit to the property. Not enough width for cars to pass in the narrow driveway and no separate exit. This involves exiting cars having to back up to let incoming cars through. A bit of a niggle before we even arrive.

We took lunch before visiting the house and found the basement café very good for local seafood and generous filled ciabattas. Another beware: the beer is bottle conditioned and I was not aware, so the beer poured out cloudy and more than a little was wasted.

The house is fabled and curious, with loads of quirky detail and an interesting history. Sea shells from every corner of the world adorn cabinets, walls and display cases.

The enthusiastic staff are in attendance in each room and are happy to discuss everything about the house and the occupants.

The grounds are beautiful and the view across the estuary is outstanding. A lovely location for a picnic, walk and relaxation.

Thank Malcolm C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2014

This is a lovely house with a huge meadow full of insects and beautiful butterflies. A lovely place to walk.

The house is full of interesting items, the main collection is made up of countless sea shells from all over the world. The main point of interest is the Shell Gallery. Its ceiling is decorated entirely with shells.25,000 of them!

The weekend we went was the annual butterfly weekend. Guided walks and talks on butterflies and moths by the Butterfly Conservation Trust. The children were able to decorate paper butterflies.

The house has 16 sides to catch the natural day light throughout the day.

Wonderful views to the sea.

Very good tea room.

Summer lane Exmouth Devon EX8 5BD



We will be visiting again.

Thank Mandy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 July 2014

I visited here nearly 40 years ago and forgotten what a pretty and interesting house this is. The staff were a delight, they were friendly and conversation flowed easily. Unlike a few other NT properties. I felt completely relaxed here. A member of staff said that I must have remembered the house before it became NT as I had visited the shell gallery. Not really, just vague memories but enough to draw me back.

Tea room and picnic grounds. Garden games such as croquet available

It's fairly easy to find on the outskirts of Exmouth heading towards Lympstone.

Thank ItchyfeetDorset
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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