"Where is Wolf Hall?" I asked in a previous post. Now I know - turns out it's Barrington Court in Somerset. We stopped off at this National Trust property on a whim en route to Hawkchurch in Devon. We were running early owing to inclement weather at another National Trust property off the M5 (Tyntesfield) curtailed our visit, and our host wasn't yet home from work. We had an hour to kill, the rain showers had cleared, and the sun was reflecting in the puddles. It was a definite case of "Why not?"
So yes, previously unbeknownst to us, this Tudor mansion, left devoid of furniture after its previous owners the Lyle (as in Tate & Lyle sugar) family moved out, was taken over by the BBC last year as the backdrop to its production of Wolf Hall. They left some of the costumes behind in the otherwise empty rooms to prove it.
We paid off our £104 family membership of the National Trust in just six days this summer, by using properties in lieu of service stations to break up long car journeys between York, Warwickshire and Devon. In order of priority, Barrington Court, like all the others, offered clean toilets and a beautiful garden. The garden had archery to try, games to play, fish to admire, flowers to sniff, and space for our daughter (cooped up in the back of the car for far too long) to run around in. There was also a children's trail of things to spot in the house, though as usual our daughter refused to spot anything other than what was on the trail. Besides, how could I persuade her that the video clips of Wolf Hall playing were interesting when even I had found the television adaptation dark and dull? (Though there was a flicker of attention when I said that the miserable man in black was also the voice of Flop on Bing.) There was the regulation "nice tea room" (with free drinks for kids) for final refreshments before we clambered back into the car and moved on. Definitely what I call a Welcome Break.