Down the Rabbit Hole: Antony House – 18/06/2019

Antony house is quite unusual for a National Trust property in that it is still lived in by the Carew Pole family. Because of this the 18th century house is closed at weekends, meaning that to explore this amazing location Emily and I needed to book time off work. The date was set in stone many weeks back, meaning that rain or shine we were going to visit before we left Plymouth for good. So we settled on June 18th… And it turned out to be raining. Of course. Not that this would stop us – even Emily is a seasoned veteran to the fickle British weather by now. Raincoats on, and after the number 70 bus journey across to Torpoint, we walked to Antony in light drizzle. Arriving at the property we were allowed to borrow an umbrella from the reception staff, before seeking refuge in the house – proof that National Trust always delivers, rain or shine!

Oh to live in a house like this

Wandering around the house we were immediately aware of the presence of Tremayne Carew Pole and his family. Intermixed with the antiques were some much newer items; paperbacks could be found next to leather tomes, children’s toys were lying waiting to be played with and Emily even spotted an iPhone dock. Modern life in a 600 year old setting. We were both very jealous!

Paintings… everywhere!

You might be surprised when wandering around Antony by the sheer volume of paintings that adorn the walls. A collection taken from other properties that the Carew family previously owned adorn the walls ensuring that every direction you look there is a painting to be seen. Highlights include several portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds and a portrait of Rachel Carew – the same painting said to inspire famous Cornish novelist Daphne du Maurier to write My Cousin Rachel. Which on reflection is quite cool. It isn’t too often that you see the muse for a famous artist of any medium. That being said of all the things in the Antony estate I doubt it would be a painting that would get my creative juices flowing!

The view across the lawn – imagine waking up to that every day!

For me that would be the gardens. Luckily for us after finishing in the house and enjoying the obligatory hot drink and cake at the tea rooms, the weather cleared. No more rain! Perfect for exploring the estate. The amazing lawns stretch out looking over the Lynher river. The stunning vista gives such a backdrop it is easy to see why Tim Burton chose Antony as the filming location for large parts of Alice in Wonderland. Any fan of the film can visit the rose gardens or even wander into Alice’s bedroom. The fantasy elements of the film are still there today. They have been for centuries in fact. The knotted black walnut tree and giant cork oak in the grounds both give amazing character to the estate. I loved it.

Emily under the beautiful cork oak – National Trust umbrella in tow

After the gardens you aren’t finished. Bonus! National Trust members are allowed free entry to the Antony Woodland Garden on days that the house is open to the public. Not actually Trust land, this not only saves you £7, but it gives you stunning woodland to walk through. Emily and I took full advantage. After a couple of hours wandering around, exploring more Alice locations, and skimming stones into the river we had to head back. 5:30 loomed and we left just as the estate was closing. The afternoon flew by – there is no better way to lose an afternoon. Another amazing National Trust adventure. I’m already itching to use our cards again!

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Antony House in the distance, as seen in Alice in Wonderland