The village of Montacute has a natural mellowness — inviting and warm, the majority of the buildings are constructed from local Hamstone and as the glow of a summer’s morning sun strikes the cottages, the scene is quintessentially English. Little appears to have changed here in hundreds of years. Before visiting nearby Montacute House or clambering up Ham Hill, take some time to explore the village. The TV museum at Montacute has a delightful tearoom with the added bonus of an old-fashioned television playing 1960s programmes in the background. Nearby is the 17th-century King’s Arms Inn, which features good food and hand-drawn ale in a quaint, atmospheric setting. Montacute is a masterpiece of Elizabethan Renaissance architecture and design. With its towering walls of glass, glow of Hamstone and surrounding gardens, it is a place of beauty and wonder. Sir Edward Phelips was the visionary force behind the creation of this masterpiece, which was completed in 1601. Built by skilled craftsmen using local Hamstone under the instruction of master mason William Arnold, the house was a statement of wealth, ambition and showmanship. The beautiful gardens that surround Montacute are constantly changing, filling the house with scent in summer and providing an atmospheric backdrop for a winter walk.