Plymouth, England, United Kingdom
Magical Cotehele & Panoramic Plymouth
Local Sightseeing, All
Information not currently available.
Approximately 4½ Hours
Nestled in the wooded and exotically planted Tamar Valley, just ten miles northwest of Plymouth, Cotehele is one of the best-preserved and least-altered medieval houses in England. Even today it is accessible only by a network of narrow lanes. Built largely between 1485 and 1539, Cotehele remained in the Edgcumbe family for 600 years, during which time the building was mostly unmodified, preserving its tranquil Tudor character. The National Trust, which assumed ownership of the house, asks visitors to accept the home in its natural state, as there is no electric light in the house, which means the rooms can be very dark on dull days.
View the fascinating collection of needlework, tapestries, weaponry and carved 17th-century furniture. The paucity of light has aided the remarkable state of preservation of the many textiles.
Docents are positioned in each of the rooms to answer questions as you make your way through the labyrinth of passageways and between floors. The fine, arch-braced Hall, with its bare lime-ash floor, has a rare set of folding mid-18th-century chairs, still with their original leather. The old dining room, hung with Flemish tapestries, leads to the chapel in which you can see the earliest domestic clock in England, dating from 1485 and still in its original position. The rooms on the first and second floors are an embroiderer's heaven with their beautiful examples of fine needlework.
Back in Plymouth, you'll discover a city that has been shaped by the sea. Sir Francis Drake was reputed to be playing bowls on the Plymouth Hoe when the Spanish Armada was first sighted and, yes, he finished the game before setting off to defeat the Spanish fleet.
Finally, your tour guide will narrate a panoramic view of the town, including the Hoe, Barbican and Mayflower steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers departed for America aboard the Mayflower in 1620, and James Cook set sail on his voyages to the Pacific. You will leave the area with a newfound appreciation for the many far-flung parts of the world that have been influenced by voyages that began here.