Undaunted by the challenging spring weather we arrived at Lanhydrock in time to catch the “Butler’s” introductory talk, outlining the history of the Robartes family ownership of Lanhydrock house from 1620. What started as a conservative Cornish home, built from local granite, underwent many changes in style and colour over time. In 1857 it was again remodelled but a devastating fire in the 1870s resulted in the north wing, with its seventeenth century gallery and superb panelling and plasterwork, being the only original part left standing.

The house was rebuilt and clearly identifies the master and servant, male and female ‘High Victorian’ world of the Robartes family life. Since being given to the NT, over 50 rooms are now open to public view.

The rain may well have been a blessing in disguise as, although we couldn’t fully appreciate the stunning grounds, our time could be spent studying the intricate details of Victorian life. A favourite area was the kitchens, which, with the beautifully preserved equipment and knowledgeable stewards, so cleverly evoke the duties and lifestyles of those who worked below stairs.

A little bonus discovered behind one of the large wooden doors was a team of Archivists, working for the National Trust and Cornwall Record Office, researching all the documents relating to Lanhydrock regarding the house, farmlands and estate, details of which will provide a wealth of knowledge for future generations.

This really is an exceptional property and the comments as our members swam back to the coach confirmed that the day was enjoyed by everyone. Even the numerous eateries provided welcome shelter and sustenance for all throughout the day!