We arrived in the rain and decided to go into the house first and go round the gardens after if it had stopped raining - but going round the house we got wonderful views of the garden out of the windows and it was clear that the gardens had to be explored, rain or no rain! The house was lovely; it was possible to imagine the soirees held by the D'Oyley Cartes, especially as a volunteer was playing 1930s melodies on the beautifully sounding Bluthner piano. All round the place were reminders that this was a lived in house and the guides were friendly and informative.
Then the gardens!! It did not stop raining but it didn't matter (and we were lent a large umbrella by the staff on reception). The azaleas, rhodedendrons, and New Zealand Tea Trees were in full bloom and the stream running through the garden tumbled over stones and mini waterfalls. There was a new vista round every corner and the views across to the sea, even on this wet day, were stunning - truly the whole place took your breath away. Amongst the best National Trust properties I have ever visited.
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