I suggest visiting Muncaster in May or June, to see the rhododendrons in flower. Muncaster boasts a similar latitude to the Himalayas and thus there a resplendent shows of blooms across the gardens and down the hillside.
Sadly, the interiors of a promising medieval exterior are Victorian. Hiss.
The owl sanctuary located at Muncaster is another reason to visit though, even if the interesting “indoors” maze is questionable – it must have cost an awful lot of money and I wonder why the idea of a regular yew maze was rejected?
The house and gardens look to me like they were last revived in the 1980s and so are due a bit of a tweak and modernisation. The sundial garden in which we sat to eat lunch looked like it had been abandoned (I’m talking just weeds everywhere). I wonder if the current incumbent is rather frail and the house is awaiting a new heir to pump some new ideas into Muncaster.
I was also bemuzed by the form of the advertising – much was made about prices not having been increased and the presence of free parking. If I were advising, I’d say just take that out and big up the two USPs: the rhododendrons & the owls. That alone should bring in the crowds and the “weirdness” that I felt/plain old English eccentricity could be tweaked ever so slightly to give Muncaster the slickness that somewhere like Syon has.
When visited: May 2014