As mentioned in my post about getting to Shaw’s Corner, I had noticed on the NT app that tours of the house were being offered. The tours, two per day at 11.15 and 12.15, are free of charge, but booking is required – either by phone or online, via the National Trust website/Eventbrite. I thought that a tour might offer a new perspective of the house, which I had visited on several previous occasions, so I booked my mum, her friend and I in for a tour.
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On arrival at Shaw’s Corner I was a bit early, but I was encouraged to enjoy the garden before the tour began (the property is only open for general admission at 1pm, so I had it to myself!).
Once all five members of our tour had arrived (maximum 6 per tour, as the rooms are quite small), Cathy, our guide, welcomed us into the house. As the ropes had been removed from the rooms for our tour and we would be walking on the original carpets, we were asked to either remove our shoes or put cloth overshoes on over our footwear. I opted to take my shoes off – and it definitely made the house feel more like a home! The house was quite cool though, so I’d recommend keeping your coat on.
To start the tour we sat in the kitchen while Cathy gave us an excellent introduction to Shaw and his life. Cathy was an outstanding guide – extremely knowledgeable, very enthusiastic and able to bring the Shaws and their house to life. Following the introduction, we toured the house a room at a time, and Cathy and her colleague Becky pointed out all the highlights, shared stories about the Shaws’ life there and answered any questions we had. It was great to be able to go right into the rooms and get up close to the artwork (including several Rodin sculptures) and see the spaces from a different angle.
The tour was meant to be 45 minutes long, but we ran over due to the fabulous opportunity to see the many details in the house. Upstairs, after Cathy had shown us GBS’s bedroom, we were free to look around the other upstairs rooms and the display about the filming of Pygmalion (complete with Oscar trophy!) in Charlotte Shaw’s bedroom.
I would thoroughly recommend the tour – it was aimed at just the right level – extremely interesting, easy to follow and well delivered. An excellent innovation from the team at Shaw’s Corner.
Please note: All information is correct at time of publication, but please do check – timetables and ticket prices are subject to regular changes.