Dunster Castle’s Interior Design Inspirations

Interior design magazines, other people’s houses, hotels, restaurants, holiday cottages, big cities, parks, small villages and botanical gardens… they are all a wonderful source of design inspiration for your home and garden. Sometimes you just need a truly magical place to free your imagination… let your dreams run wild…a place so very different that might seem unreal… a place from a fairy-tale, myth and legend… one of my favourite inspiration sources for home and garden… filled with a magical atmosphere and quirky design features… The Castle.

Since I was a child, I always had a little obsession about castles, manor houses and palaces – you name it. I’ve visited dozens in the UK, Europe and beyond. However only recently I discovered a castle that is ‘totally me’ and now one of my favourites. It’s not only the architecture, interior design and gardens but the setting and landscapes around are just perfect. The place where I’m taking you today is Dunster Castle in Somerset. Surrounded by a dramatic landscape of lush forests and hills, overlooking the coast of the Bristol Channel to the North and the Exmoor Hills to the South, the castle itself is situated on a steep hill.

Dunster Castle which dates back 1000 years not only will be fascinating for history lovers but it is a magical place for a family day out (with small and older kids), a fantastic place for a romantic date, great for a day out with friends or to have a ‘me day’ on your own.

 

 

A few of my friends visited the castle this spring and they recommended it. I’ve looked up some info about the castle on the National Trust website and I’ve seen pictures of it taken by various photographers and my friends, but nothing could actually prepare me for how gorgeous and fairy tale like the castle is in real life. The pictures certainly don’t do it justice.

Although the history of the castle dates back to the 11th century, today’s appearance is actually down to Victorian architect. Anthony Salvin was employed to remodel the castle to fit Victorian tastes, this work extensively changed the appearance of Dunster to make it appear more Gothic and Picturesque. With the Victorian era architecture being one of my favourites there is no wonder I immediately fell in love with this castle.

Take in the scenic views and let your imagination run free…

The spiral path around the steep hill is an easy climb and it will take you up and around various levels and terraces around the castle gardens. Enjoy the views of the sea, Exmoor and the Quantock Hills and the idyllic countryside of lush old forests.

Take a walk in four different microclimates of subtropical and Mediterranean gardens that wrap around the hill of Dunster Castle. It’s fascinating to see how many exotic plants can thrive in British weather. This gave me quite few ideas for a garden makeover so later in the Summer I will be adding more exotic looking plants to my garden for a truly Victorian look.

Picture credit: National Trust.

Read more about Dunster Castle Gardens here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunster-castle/features/the-gardens-at-dunster-castle

 

The castle stretches across various levels of the hill, with different terraces, walls and towers making it a more interesting and adventurous place.

The interiors of the castle won’t let you down.

Here is a photo tour of some of the Dunster Castle rooms with My Design Inspirations which I’ve put together for you:

 

I love the richness of the prints on antique fabrics and wallpapers. If you also feel inspired by how good potentially clashing patterns actually look together here is a little pick of some of the similar fabrics that are available online (just click on the picture to follow the link to the shop).

 

 

 

I always had a soft spot for Victorian tile mosaics and Dunster Castle didn’t disappoint me.

Victorian mosaic tiles are beautiful and certainly a period feature which will add character and value to your house.  Unfortunately they also come with a bit of a high end price tag… and the job of putting new tiles in your home is not a little and easy DIY project. Here is where lino comes to the rescue! So forget about old-fashioned lino from the 70’s or 80’s that spring to mind. Good quality lino flooring is durable, warm under bare foot and it comes in a wide range of colours and finishes. It is also very easy to install without a need of ripping off your existing tiles or lino. Oh, and did I mention the price tag? The prices start from around £6 to £9 per square metre, which means that you can get a new floor for your entry porch for around £20 or do up a family size bathroom for around £50! Here are a few designs which I like and I might just use in a little makeover of my own porch entrance or the cloakroom. These lino floors are from Best4flooring.co.uk (click on the pictures to follow the link).

 

 

 

Inspired by this lavish room I will be adding a dash of baroque glamour with this mirror from The Range which is available for only £10.99 (click on the picture to follow the link).

 

 

The roller blind is a modern window dressing but I love how the simple detail of the lace trim ties it in with the period features of the window. This simple detail looks great and it will be an idea that I will be using in my home. This will be a quick and easy little DIY project. You can find various designs and colour lace trims at low prices on ebay.

I adore the deep colour of peacock blue wallpaper with rich floral and bird print. This actually reminds me of a wallpaper which I have not got bored of for the past two years and which I like to incorporate into my interior design. You can but this Fresco Wallpaper in Oriental Blue at Wilko for £10 per roll. A great price for a great design! (click on the picture to follow the link).

 

The medieval village of Dunster which lies on the bottom of the castle hill has a charming atmosphere. It made me think of Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings. The narrow winding streets are packed with old, crooked houses, cosy tea rooms, cafes and quirky shops.

The medieval garden at the bottom of the castle is definitely worth visiting. It’s just postcard perfect, a cosy, magical garden.

Have a picnic in the meadows at the bottom of the hill and take in the views of the castle, enjoy the walk along the River Avill which wraps around the bottom of the hill and at the back of the hill you will find a working water mill.

Dunster Castle is just a perfect day trip destination. The castle itself is as if from a fairytale, the landscapes and setting is stunning, the interiors are lush and the athosphere of the medieval village and gardens – magical. We thoroughly enjoyed our day at Dunster and I know that this will be a place to which we will return again.

 

If you like visiting castles and manor houses it is worth getting a National Trust Membership. After few visits you will already get your return on it. I am a happy member of the National Trust which means that the visit to Dunster Castle cost us nothing. The tickets were free for us and so was the parking. (This also means that I will be visiting plenty more castles and manor houses this summer! yaay!) Please follow the link here to find out more about a National Trust membership: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/join-us

Dunster castle has many lovely spots to eat a picnic – there are benches all over the gardens from which you can admire exotic plans, views of the sea, hills and forests. There are plenty of lovely lawns all around the castle (with free outdoor castle style games), there is a large picnic area with tables and benches at the bottom of the hill as you enter the car park. You can also just take a short stroll and have your picnic by the river or on the meadows where you can take in the views of the castle from a distance. This is what we did which meant that we didn’t have to spend any money on eating out so our day there was super thrifty! 😉

More info about Dunster Castle here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunster-castle

 

 

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