Wednesday 21 August 2013

Trerice House, near Newquay

There were very few sunny days when we were on holiday in Cornwall this year.  Luck was with us on one day, however, and we were able to enjoy Trerice House in the sunshine!

After a morning of looking at classic aircraft at Classic Air Force in Newquay--the boys loved it, I loved the fudge I bought in their gift shop--we looked around for a pretty picnic spot and happened upon Trerice House in the National Trust guide book.

Trerice is a small Elizabethan manor house near Newquay owned by the National Trust. It's much smaller than the other National Trust properties in Cornwall, which makes it perfect for a picnic and a short visit between other sightseeing adventures.

While searching for a picnic spot, a lovely blue flower caught my eye: Monkshood. Admittedly the large warning sign probably had something to do with that and also, we'd just reached this part in the audio book of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone:
“What is the difference, Potter, between monkshood and wolfsbane?"

At this, Hermione stood up, her hand stretching towards the dungeon ceiling.

"I don't know," said Harry quietly. "I think Hermione does, though, why don't you try asking her?"

A few people laughed; Harry caught sight of Seamus's eye and Seamus winked. Snape, however, was not pleased.

"Sit down," he snapped at Hermione. "For your information, Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite. Well? Why aren't you all copying that down?"

There was a sudden rummaging for quills and parchment. Over the noise, Snape said, "And a point will be taken from Gryffindor house for your cheek, Potter.”
Monkshood aka Aconite aka Wolfsbane
There's only one word for this sort of thing--serendipity!  Monkshood (or Wolfsbane, as my Teen Wolf loving self will always think of it) is rather pretty.  I imagine that lots of people, as ignorant of flora as myself, would have picked themselves a pretty posy of poison in woodlands over the years.

There were lots of benches dotted around the gardens and we took advantage of one under a shady tree, overlooking the children's maze and the old servant's cottages, to picnic upon before having a proper look around the gardens.

The lovely view from our picnic spot
The children's maze; easy enough for me!
After packing up our picnic lunch, we spent a while exploring the wonders of the Tudor vegetable garden.  I've never seen such beautifully planted veggies before--this is the sort of vegetable garden that I dream of!  There were a few flowers and herbs blended in, but mostly it was just rare and unusual vegetables in gorgeous raised beds, all kept safe from rabbits and escaped cows with a woven willow fence.

The Tudor vegetable garden
The Tudor vegetable garden, Purple Kale, Rainbow Chard
We also walked through the remains of the old orchard.  Lucas waited under an apple tree for inspiration (or gravity) to hit him.

The functional, yet pretty, theme of the gardens included globe artichokes growing in the borders!

From there we wandered into the house and took a self-guided tour.  Unfortunately photographs were only allowed within the Great Hall, so I can't show you the fabulous paintings in the Long Gallery--I stopped to gaze at the stunning portrait of Elizabeth I for several minutes--or the amazingly intricate tapestries which lined the walls.  I hope that one day people look at my small cross stitching efforts and marvel at them in the same way...

We did snap a few photos of Lucas trying on a helm in three stages in the Great Hall.  Now that he's had a taste of chainmail and armour, he's less keen on becoming a knight when he grows up!

Elizabethan pots in the Great Hall
Afterwards we headed off for a drive down the Atlantic Highway, to Porth Chapel beach for one of their legendary Hedgehog Ice Creams.  But that is another story...

Kestle Mill
near Newquay

Tel.: 01637 875404


  1. Oh I do love a good National Trust Day out...and I've always wanted to be a knight!
    Gorgeous pictures, popping this on my to do list
    M x

    1. We always try to go to as many NT places as possible during the summer to get the most value out of the membership! It isn't cheap, is it?

      Brace yourself for the weight of the helm and chainmail. When I lifted the chainmail coat, it struck me how incredibly strong the knights of yore must have been. Loads of clothes/padding under the mail, then your arms on top, plus gauntlets, swords, helm... hellish in the summer, too!

  2. Looks like such a beautiful place to visit! Those gardens are just beautiful. I love kitchen gardens like that, I'd love to have my own some day! SO much love for the Harry Potter section of this post! ;) HP solidarity! x

    1. We love Harry Potter and listened to Stephen Fry's reading of Philosopher's Stone for most of our holiday in Cornwall. Lucas was absolutely entranced and it really cut down on the whinging about long car trips!

      We're hoping to go on the studio tour during half term at some point! It's supposed to be amazing, although v.spendy. I really, really want to try butterbeer...


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