House on the hill

Well, it’s not just any house. It’s a quintessentially English country house!

I was excited , and very fortunate, to be on location last week at North Cadbury Court. Overlooking some of Somerset's finest countryside, this former residence has been lovingly restored to provide the most opulent of rooms and is available for private hire and frequently hosts events of both a corporate, or more personal nature. 

The house offers no less than 21 bedrooms, a self contained 4 bedroom flat, numerous gardens and not to mention a snooker room, pool, tennis courts, golf course (complete with Tee off the roof!), fishing lake, basement casino, gym and its very own disco under the brick arches of an old wine cellar! With this list of attributes together with the village Church of St Michael located on the Estate, it’s easy to see why so many find its charm hard to resist! 

The Architecture on show is inspiringly reflective of many an era gone by. The obvious variety include the original medieval hall, dating back to C.1300, containing dark heavy timbers which support the roof, while the golden blocks of the Georgian Facade overlooking the south lawn give the house a warm glow, even on a dreary day, but bear no resemblance to the Elizabethan architecture of the north side with its leaded windows and heavy studded front door. All of which are indicative of the many hands which have helped to mould its history and appearance seen today. 

A combination of the large rooms, high ceilings, dark wood and rich furnishings made this a challenging shoot at times. Adding to the mix the low winter sun and short daylight hours meant I ended up walking over 25km in the house to make the most of each aspect. The house is so grand, yet homely at the same time and I really wanted to capture this combination, but in order to do this, in some cases it took up to 28 exposures blended together to get a final image. This enabled me to highlight the details; be it the wood panelling of the Principle Staircase, the sunken slate bath of The Orient room or the sumptuous textiles of The Balcony and Jane Austen’s Room.

The pool, with a massage fountain at one end and a Jacuzzi which really comes to life after dark beneath a twinkling starlit sky, would not be out of place in even the most luxurious spa. The huge skylight above keeps the pool floodlit and there is a wall of bi-fold doors which make it a truly inside-out experience in the summer, leading you onto a patio surrounded by a flower garden and beyond, the tennis courts enclosed by the old kitchen garden walls.

When it came to the house itself, luck was on my side, and I was gifted the coldest, crispest day of the winter to date. With the temperature skirting -5 degrees, I took advantage of the cloudless sky to capture the magic of the house at twilight. The house looks nothing less than regal and spectacular at this time of day with the glow of the chandeliers inside almost matching the golden steps leading up from the lawn.

After over an hour outside, I was pleased to warm up and immerse myself in the mystery and glamour that the Casino exudes.  Sumptuous materials and low lighting compliment the unique wallpapers (supplied by to draw you in. It really makes you want to slip into something very ‘black tie’ and pull up a chair!

To be honest, it’s difficult not to get distracted when spending time in the house. There are too many antiquities to count and an array of admirable furnishings. With more than their fair share of four-poster beds and freestanding baths, the bedrooms provide plush spaces for relaxing if you don’t feel like taking advantage of the numerous activities available. There are trinkets and pieces in every room, which will encourage you to ask where and from whom they came. Wander the halls and there is certainly plenty of history to keep you intrigued about those fortunate enough to have once called this house 'home'. 

For more information about holding your event at North Cadbury Court, please visit