Killerton House

The Ackland family purchased the Killerton estate (2,590 hectares/6,400 acres) in the early 1600s and passed it to the National Trust in 1944. On visiting today, one sees an extensive designed landscape with a comparatively small ornamental garden close to the house. It was John Veitch, of the famous Veitch Nursery family, who laid out the gardens originally and they continue to feature rhododendrons, magnolias and a range of interesting trees.

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Looking back towards the buildings which house the entrance, shop, plant sales and cafe.
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A view to the parkland to the front of the house
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An area to the side of the house with a view over the surrounding parkland

The house looks out over the extensive landscape while there is a small area of ornamental garden both in front and extending to the side of the house. This area is raised giving excellent views to the grounds beyond though this is somewhat marred by the number of picnic tables scattered about (removed in my photographs with the help of Photoshop!). The leaflet, received on purchase of entrance tickets, features places to discover, extensive woodland walks with a special welcome for dog owners. There is a small shop, plant sales and cafe.

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The ornamental planting in front of the house which is in an area raised above the parkland, to the left in this view.
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Part of the ornamental area in front of the house with a beautiful seating area from which to enjoy the view.
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Looking back across the ornamental planting to the side of the house.

The house was used to accommodate evacuated children during the Second World War and Front Park was their games area. This continues today with visitors encouraged to engage in rounders, tennis or football in front of the house. I imagine it is a wonderful location for the local population but I felt it detracted from the garden and from the enjoyment of the gardening tourist.

It is not a garden I would suggest for anybody’s “must-see” list but it will pass an hour pleasantly if you are passing – north of Exeter in Devon. I visited in early August of this year.





6 thoughts on “Killerton House

    1. Francesca, I see you are based in Exeter and I must comment on how wonderful we found the city. We stayed at the Mercure Southgate which was a great location, so close to the centre of the town, the shops and the cathedral and also to the Quays. What delighted us most of all was the quality of the restaurants which were really fabulous. We usually comment that food in England is not good – sorry! However, on this holiday we really enjoyed eating out each evening in excellent restaurants – a real treat!


  1. We don’t generally open our garden to the public but a friend who organises garden tours asked us to oblige and we did. It is one of those experiences which we find dreadful in the anticipation but which turn out to be quite pleasant in reality. Preparation for the visit kept us busy and, then, this is the week of three birthdays in the family: my son’s on Tuesday, mine on Wednesday and our grandson on Saturday. So, I have been very busy and having a good time. Many thanks for your kind thoughtfulness.

    I have two book reviews waiting to be posted and several other books to be read.

    Liked by 1 person

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