Mottisfont Abbey offers a rare commodity – it’s a hidden hide-out for peace and tranquility. The beautiful large lawns gently slope into the river and under massive trees there are many places to sit, walk and play. It changes personality with each season. It’s where we go in the bitter cold winter months for a walk in the winter garden and a hot chocolate at the Stables. In autumn the impressive trees change colour and carpet the ground with oranges, yellows and reds. In spring there flowers and roses in particular, that flower everywhere.
Summer is outstanding with shaded walks by the river, perfect picnic spots and plenty of space to kick a ball around. Children can be seen riding on balance bikes, scootering, running and playing hide-and-seek behind the trees and there is almost always something happening at Mottisfont – a special exhibition at its art gallery, new family trails each holiday or a work of art that appears in the garden.
Retailer: National Trust +
Price: £7.40 – £ 15, under 5s free. Free entry for National Trust members.
About The National Trust
“We’re a charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. More than 120 years later, these values are still at the heart of everything we do. We look after special places throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland for ever, for everyone.
As a charity we rely for income on membership fees, donations and legacies, and revenue raised from our commercial operations. We have over 4.5 million members and 62,000 volunteers. More than 20 million people visit our pay for entry properties, while an estimated 100 million visit our open air properties.
We protect and open to the public over 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments.
But it doesn’t stop there. We also look after forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, downs, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, castles, nature reserves, villages – for ever, for everyone.”*
- Genre: Historic house and gardens with an art gallery situated on the top floor of the house.
- Target age range: All ages
- Target gender: Gender neutral overall design (segregated toilet facilities).
- Access: Inclusive design with wheelchair and buggy friendly routes, clear signposting and detailed, up-to-date accessibility information on the Mottisfont website.
Environment & People
Entry to Mottisfont is about £15 per person with free parking included. It’s an imposing property with large grounds and extensive gardens, including a rose garden that attracts visitors from around the world. It’s a great place for families too with a fabulously muddy playground called the Climbing Bog and a Pump Pool.
Entry to the house and upstairs gallery is included, as well as children’s activities and themed trails (small donations are welcomed). Mottisfont is also known for putting on an outdoor summer play each year, tickets are around £16 p.p. and booking is strongly recommended as tickets sell out early.
£15 per person is a fair price in-line with what is on offer in the area and for those with a National Trust membership, entry is free.
Travel season: All seasons
Location: Mottisfont, Hampshire, U.K.
On-line booking: No booking available or required except for special events.
Opening: 10 am Gardens, Shop, Cafè; 11 am House and Gallery.
Closing: 5 pm, House and Gallery closes at 4pm from 1 November.
Map: PDF children’s map can be found here.
Public transport: Nearest train station 1 mile walk away.
I have fond personal memories of Mottisfont. It’s where my daughter made friends with the dark in the Cellarium, played Pooh sticks on the bridge and got covered in the mud up to her ears in the Bog. It is a place that has brought Halloween to life for her with spiders dangling from the trees, it’s where she had her first Easter Egg hunt, held a bat in the palm of her hand, learned how to play conkers, made a mud pie and for a very long time, it was the place known as Winnie The Pooh’s house thanks to a fabulous summer trail a while back.
I still think of it as Winnie The Pooh’s house. It’s a place that holds the same magic of imagination, where both children and adults alike are encouraged to explore and be curious, to enjoy culture and art alongside nature. A beautiful visitors center was added in February this year with wheelchair access, a welcoming fire during winter months and a quintessential National Trust shop. If you happen to near Christmas, I recommend a jar of seasonal spiced cherry jam from the shop. And don’t miss the ice cream parlor in the Rose garden during the summer.
We are longstanding members of the National Trust and this is one of their finest properties.
The review is based on multiple visits to Mottisfont, most recent visit in October 2016. This article was first published on 18 August 2016 and last updated on 12 October 2016.