Knightshayes Court House and Gardens

Enjoy acres of stunning gardens and Gothic Revival architecture.

This article was written on 29 October 2020
and is a 4 minute read

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Take a day trip to The National Trust’s Knightshayes Court and experience a wonderful Victorian country house surrounded by glorious gardens and parkland.

Located on the outskirts of Tiverton in Devon, Knightshayes offer visitors a wonderful day out. It is situated just a short drive of around 25 minutes from our holiday park. There’s always plenty to see and do making it an ideal destination anytime of the year.

The house

The 19th century manor house at Knightshayes was built for a former Tiverton MP Sir John Heathcoat Amory (1829-1914). The house remained in his family for 125 years until it was gifted to The National Trust. The house is the architectural work of William Burges. His lavish designs are not everyone’s tastes. Full of quirks it is a house of many faces, not least the gargoyles which adorn the top of the building.

Knighthayes Court at night

As you wander around the many rooms of the house you will be treated to some amazing sights. For example in the library there is an ornately decorated ceiling which sit above the rows and rows of rare books on the shelves. Sitting on bookshelves and hiding in the alcoves are some unusual ceramics, including the grotesque spiny beast and peculiar birds.

In the dining room you can admire the table and sideboard, laid out for a family dinner. Take a look up and above you can see that the ceiling is inscribed with poetry from Robert Burns.

Dining room

The morning room is richly decorated in red velvet and full of unusual treasures. In the alcoves are items of Italian renaissance earthenware, which have featured in many international exhibitions. The room is also home to Sir John’s beloved art collection.

After wandering around the house and grounds you may be in need of refuelling. Thankfully there is a great little cafe located in the old stables offering tasty food and hot drinks. Perfect whether you’re in need of a light snack or a hearty lunch. There is also a shop and plant centre where you can buy a memento of your visit.

Knightshayes Grounds and Gardens

Whether you are an expert horticulturalist or simply love spending time in the outdoors, the green spaces around Knightshayes are very impressive. There are lots of different sections of the grounds to explore. With over 1200 plant species unique to Knightshayes there is an ever changing display to enjoy. The wide sweeping views of the surrounding Devon countryside mean this is a perfect spot to picnic in the grounds.

Formal gardens

From the exquisite topiary to the perfectly cut lawns, the manicured gardens which surround the house are just lovely. The high hedges help guide your eye along the contours. These usually lead to a feature such as a fountain or courtyard. There are also a number of elegant willow sculptures dotted around which include a stag, deer, badger, shire horse and even a dragon.

Knightshayes Court Willow Horse

Working kitchen gardens

The two and a half acre kitchen garden at Knighthayes is nothing short of spectacular. The large scale working site produces some rare varieties of fruit and vegetables. This is all thanks to the hard work and dedication of a number of permanent workers plus a large team of enthusiastic volunteers. Visitors are able to wander through the rows of raised beds and speak to the team about their labour of love. From heritage tomato varieties to plump pumpkins being readied for Halloween – there’s lots to see here whatever time of the year you visit.

Walled garden at Knightshayes.

Parkland

The 250 acres of rolling parkland around the estate is perfect for getting out and about. It’s dog walking heaven! Stroll over the acres of open grounds and take in the wide-stretching views of mid-Devon. If you’ve brought your own lunch, pick out your favourite spot to stop for a picnic with a view.

Woodlands

If you have any kids in tow, the ancient woodland at Knighthayes is a great place to let them run wild. They can grab the biggest stick they can lift and bundle on into the woods. We can guarantee that it wont be long until they are building a den, climbing a tree or playing a bit of hide and seek.

 

Opening times:

The ground floor of the house is open 7 days a week, 11am – 3.30pm (last entry 3pm).

The park and woodland are open 7 days a week, 10am – 5pm