Knightshayes is a National Trust property that is given a very good write-up as a “gothic revival house”, but, unless you are a fan of that style of architecture/decor, it comes over as a rather odd mixture of strange colours and patterns.
The house is obviously a popular attraction and there were a number of coach parties there on the day we visited, making it rather crowded and the cafe certainly very busy. There’s a longish walk from the car park to the house, although as usual at NT properties a buggy is available – if you’re prepared to wait! The message is to try to avoid busy times.
The visit starts in the medieval great hall which is impressive, but in subsequent rooms there is a tale of design and decoration that was started, not completed, and changed because the owners disliked it. “A rare example of the work of William Burges…inspiring extremes of opinion” says the website, and you can certainly see why. In our view, the over-elaborate wallpaper patterns and the sometimes garishly painted ceilings were nothing short of ugly. This is a pity, as the structure of the house and the furnishings in the rooms are more interesting and the gardens, especially the kitchen garden, certainly worth the trip.
Mobility-wise, the upper floors would be inaccessible as would some parts of the gardens, but the buggy ride to and from the car park is a definite benefit.