A SPECTACULAR gothic mansion, leaping with gargoyles and maybe harbouring a ghost or two, Tyntesfield was the perfect destination for a stormy autumn day, close to Halloween.

With towers and turrets, stained glass and arched doorways, an air of grandeur and luxury tinged with a melancholy hint of decay, it is not surprising the National Trust property near Bristol is always popular with visitors.

The place has fascinated me since it first came to public attention in 2002, following the death of Richard, the second Lord Wraxall, the last member of the family to live there.

The National Trust launched a public appeal to raise funds to buy the place – offering tantalising glimpses of a house locked away in the past, full of magnificent, dust-shrouded rooms, filled with ancient treasures. It was irresistible, and because I made a donation, I still have an irrational sense I have a tiny stake in the place — and have visited several times in the years since.

It has been fascinating to watch the restoration unfold and the place develop as a property to visit.

Tyntesfield was created by businessman William Gibbs, who made a fortune trading in Guano from South America.

He bought and transformed the Georgian house on the site into the Gothic Revival masterpiece we see today.

It is always busy, and you need to book a timed ticket for entrance into the house. On this occasion we were first in the door at 11am, and enjoyed an hour wandering through the halls and rooms, relatively free of crowds.

The trust’s volunteers are always brimming with interesting information and ready to tell you all they know.

Every room is a feast of visual delights – particularly the lavish ornamental carvings of leaves, fruit and flowers in the panelling, the shelves of leather-bound books and the giant marble fireplaces.

This time, I was enchanted by a noble rocking horse in the library, and the special exhibition in the drawing room.

Called Passions and Possessions, this included a collection of luxurious items belonging to Antony Gibbs, from the second generation of the family to live at the house.

Tyntesfield has plenty more to offer besides the house – including the gardens and pleasure grounds, the rose garden and rock garden though on a day as grey and windy as Sunday, we preferred to savour these pleasures as a view from the tower window. For families visiting, various Halloween activities were in progress and the café had a satisfying quantity of tasty cakes and refreshments.