Grate chance to see the country’s biggest fireplace

PUBLISHED: 09:03 15 October 2014 | UPDATED: 09:03 15 October 2014

England's biggest fireplace at Shute Barton House. Photo by Tim Bowden

England's biggest fireplace at Shute Barton House. Photo by Tim Bowden


Shute Barton House, near Axminster, will open for the last time this year at the weekend.

Shute Barton manor house near AxminsterShute Barton manor house near Axminster

There is still time to take a stroll inside England’s largest fireplace –before the chance goes up in smoke.

This weekend brings the final opportunity, during the current year, for people to visit Shute Barton, near Axminster.

Owned by the National Trust, this grand manor house is for most of the year a very unique holiday hideaway.

But this weekend – October 18 and 19 - will be the last opportunity for visitors to explore the house and grounds until next May.

Shute Barton has a fascinating history spanning over 500 years and architecturally it is a significant example of early Tudor design and style.

It has stood through a staggering amount of history from the dissolution of the monasteries through to the Second World War.

The house – with a fireplace so large that two oxen could be roasted at once - was given to the National Trust in 1959 by the Pole Carew family. Cousins of this family lived there until 2009.

“We find visitors are as curious about Shute’s past as the present,” said Pete Blyth, East Devon Head Ranger.

“Once one of the finest medieval houses in the South West, today Shute Barton is one of the most luxurious holiday places to stay in the area.

“The whole experience is unique as one minute you are gazing up England’s largest fireplace in the restored but bare kitchens and the next minute you are seated round a fireplace on leather sofas enjoying all the trappings of the twenty-first century.”

A team of enthusiastic, knowledgeable guides bring the house to life on regular guided tours during the day, from 11am to 4.30pm.

Entry is by guided tour only from 10.15am to 4.15pm - last tour at 3.30pm. Parking is limited along the side entrance driveway but additional car park spaces are available in the school. Teas and coffees are available at the local church.

Admission is £3.40 adults, £1.70 children and free to NT members. Shute is just 3 miles south west of Axminster and can be found on the Honiton to Colyton road (B3161). For more information please call 01752 346585 or visit

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