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Superluxe Stays

Some really luxurious places to book for your hols, for those times when you've had it with sticking to the budget.

I know it’s not very sensible, but sometimes you just don’t want to stick to your holiday budget do you? I’ve just bought up on a holiday in Croatia that will nearly bankrupt me but do I care? No. Sometimes you need to realise that the break is more important than the headache of paying it back. You thinking of a luxury break too?  In which case, may I introduce you to the Best 30 super luxe holiday farmhouses, castles, manor houses and lodges as suggested by 17 in-the-know Muddy editors. No need to curtsey or anything, but do remember to stick out your pinky finger if we drop in for a cuppa.

STAY IN…BERKSHIRE

1886 Victorian Mansion, Ascot

Party like you’ve picked the winner at Royal Ascot, this Victorian Mansion has the sort of grandeur you’ll struggle to leave behind. It sleeps 16, comes with a heated outdoor pool, large terrace and an absolutely mahoosive garden. If your friends and family are planning to see the gee gees this summer, then this is the place to do it in style. It’s a stone’s throw from the legendary racecourse – invite Her Maj back for afternoon tea or stagger back with your mini Moet in hand – which ever way you roll, this mansion is for loafing in luxury.

Dower House, Coworth Park, Ascot

If you want to rub shoulders with celebs and royalty then giddy up and head to Coworth Park for a super-luxe stay that gives you the chance to enjoy all the perks of being at a luxury hotel, with the peace and quiet of your own pad. Dower House is the jewel in Coworth Park’s crown. Cheryl (married so many time she only has one name) has stayed here, Pierce Brosnan and Prince Harry is a regular on the polo pitch. This grade-II listed beauty gives you a 3283sq ft play house in with three bedrooms, your own private garden and stream, plus concierge service. As you’d expect it comes with a hefty price tag, but you’re worth it.

STAY IN…BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

It’s a ‘Georgian style property’ – plenty of those faux heritage buildings in Beaconsfield -but Brook Houseis a bit spesh, with 6 bedrooms, 3 floors, an acre of garden (including a croquet lawn) and an extra 6 person annex should you wish to extend your party. Beaconsfield is a hop and a skip from London (25 minutes on the train from Marylebone)  so it’s ideal for city folk looking for easy access to the countryside but the attactive, affluent town has plenty to offer in it own right with a gazillion restaurants, bars, pubs, and boutiques.

STAY IN…CAMBRIDGESHIRE 

Ellis-Miller House, Ely

An award winning architectural holiday house that brings a dash of Palm Springs to the Fenlands.  The Ellis-Miller house is named after it’s owner and architect Jonathan Ellis-Miller who, heavily influenced by American design greats like Charles and Ray Eames, built this small (it sleeps two) long and low property that transforms into a  light box at night.  Made primarily from a mixture of steel and glass it’s a house of thirds; one taken by the carport and two for the house itself. Inside simplicity extends with a large open plan living space, divided by a free-standing fireplace, plus a double bedroom with en suite and kitchen.  Venetian blinds, parquet flooring and iconic Robin Day furniture further extend the mid-picentury minimalist trend.  Outside there’s a beautiful, secluded suntrap with a decked area perfect for enjoying al fresco dining and small lawned garden. Prickwillow is a small hamlet with far reaching views across the fens and a view of Ely Cathedral a few miles away.

Beechwood House, Fulbourn, Cambridge

Swimming in your private pool, playing badminton or croquet on the lawn or reclining with your Pimm’s in an acre of garden – this is what you’ll be doing at Beechwood House.  This house is all about Victorian grandeur; it’s a 5 double bedroom home that dates back to the 1800s and is heaped with period features. It’s been beautifully renovated mixing the old with modern touches including a large glass contemporary living and dining space, perfect for entertaining.  It’s peacefully situated on the fringe of the picturesque village of Fulbourn, five miles from the centre of Cambridge. The house sleeps 10, but there are two self-contained studios in the stables, located in the grounds of the house, that can accommodate a further 4.  There are two bikes available for guests to use and additional services such as babysitting, everyday house cleaning and help in the kitchen can all be arranged.

STAY IN…CORNWALL

Reflection, Portwrinkle

The house where I live, in my Cornish dreams, Reflection is an architect-designed stunner with panoramic sea views. Floor-to-ceiling sliding windows wrap around the front of the house, looking out onto the lounger-strewn deck and garden. Inside you’ll find light and spacious interiors, with more pleasing curved lines and cool contemporary furnishings. You’re 20 metres from the South West Coast path and a short drive from the pretty fishing villages of Polperro and Looe. Staycations don’t get much better than this!

Pednolver, St Ives

Even the children’s rooms are super-chic at this elegant, period town house in St Ives. Pednolver has been renovated to the highest standards, combining comfort and design in its contemporary interiors, with carefully selected artwork and accessories in every room. Great for families or small groups of adults holidaying together, there are five bedrooms and three spa-like bathrooms, beautiful living spaces, a cinema room and private parking for four cars.

STAY IN…DEVON

Great Bidlake Manor, nr Bridestowe

If luxury on a grand scale is what you’re after, well we don’t blame you; everyone deserves to live like Lady Mary once in a while, don’t they?  In the depths of Devon, on the fringes of Dartmoor, down a tree-lined drive you’ll discover Great Bidlake, a 13th century Grade II listed Manor House where the list of the finer details is nearly as long as the number of years the house has been standing.  Six bedrooms, with six bathrooms, a dining hall for goodness sake, decked out with ancient coats of arms, games room with snooker table, music room with baby grand piano, library with open fire and the list goes on.  The modern world is reassuringly present, with a kitchen fit for cooking up a feast (if you choose not to make use of a professional chef), a multi-room sound system and beds that you’d normally find in world-class hotels.  Step outside and explore over thirteen acres of gardens, woodland and paddocks, with uninterrupted countryside views of the River Lew Valley. Sip a glass of Sauv (using the bespoke wine service) on the enormous south facing terrace and burn off energy with a spot of croquet or cricket.  Do you get the picture?  This is one seriously superluxe stay.

Sojourn, Drewsteignton

Good things come in small packages: a diamond ring, the keys to an Aston Martin and the chocolate box cottage, Sojourn, tucked away down a private lane in the idyllic village of Drewsteignton, near Chagford.  The Grade II listed thatch sleeps just two and is full of lavish touches, making it a perfect romantic getaway.  Cosy up next to the log fire, sleep wrapped in beautifully soft linens and sip champers in the deep copper bath tub.  If you can bear to leave the cottage’s cosy confines, head into the secret garden and read a novel listening to the soothing sounds of the water fountain in the flower house (a bespoke Chelsea Flower Show buy), or keep the superluxe theme going with a visit to nearby Gidleigh Park for a lavish lunch.  Then again, if you plan on going absolutely nowhere (and, frankly who would blame you?), then bliss out in the luxury spa room made for two, complete with treatment list, should you want to call on the local therapist for a hot stone massage.  Tempting, huh?

STAY IN…GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Temple Guiting Manor, near Stow-on-the-Wold

This medieval country house in the heart of the Cotswolds will make you gasp. Built for a knight, it’ll make you feel like a Tudor princess with its exposed beams, arched, leaded windows, secret staircases and original timbered doors dating back to the 16th century. You may not find Jonathan Rhys Meyers lurking in any of the bedrooms (more’s the pity), but it’s the kind of place Henry VIII would have felt right at home in. All of the five bedrooms are luxe affairs, but try and bagsie the four-poster which also has an open fire, chaise longue to swoon on and the largest en-suite. The dining room seats up to 24 and is made for a banquet (you can book ahead for a private chef) with its medieval flags hanging from the arched, oak-beamed ceiling and suit of armour standing guard in the corner. There are three (!) living rooms – a  TV snug, a cosy living room with wood-burning stove and a grand drawing room with huge open fireplace, oil paintings and a French chandelier. Outside the 14 acres are split into two areas – an elegant lawn with a seating area and BBQ overlooking a small lake, and a formal, ornate water garden with topiary, roses, wild flowers and lavender. There’s also a tennis court (rackets and balls provided) and a hot tub housed in what was once a pigeonniere.

Painswick Court, Painswick

Fancy a game of Cavaliers versus Roundheads? Well, Painswick Court is the place to come as King Charles I actually stayed here during the siege of Gloucester in 1643 and, apparently, he and his loyalists still haunt the grounds, which makes this eight-bedroom manor house perfect for a right royalist holiday. Sleeping 22 (plus 3 tiny people), it’s located bang in the middle of the picturesque village of Painswick, and is nearby a host of Cotswold attractions, but to be honest you’ll probably want to stay put as the estate (that’s the only word for it) is so luxurious you won’t be able to drag yourself away. Not only does it have a court room with original 16th-century fireplace, library, wood-panelled dining room, sitting room with 3D telly and vaulted games room with full-size billiards table, TV and bar area, there’s also a Jacuzzi, swimming pool, gym and gorgeous formal gardens. Book ahead for a platinum concierge package and you’ll get a pre-stocked drinks fridge, fresh flowers, daily maid service, a mid-week grocery shop and a private chef for a lunch or dinner during your stay.

STAY IN…HAMPSHIRE

Beaulieu Brickworks

Big. Bold. Baronial. Boho. This eccentric brick-factory cum river house, with its own jetty no less, overlooks one of Britain’s few private rivers. Secreted away in ancient forest, the space suites urbane groups wanting both style and privacy. The river may be one of the shortest in Britain, but it packs a punch. Houses here sell upwards of £10 million, but The Beaulieu Brickworks is the only large property for rent in the area. The famous Dr No circular glasshouse across the river and the house is smack-bang next door to the amazing New Forest Activities river base. Deposit older kids there to enjoy some down time, priceless!

Inside, think mini-Stately meets Conran Shop: huge beams, original painted ironwork, vaulted ceilings; we’re talking a stylish bohemia of antique furniture, cheeky satirical prints and shelves crammed with books. Come summer 2017, there’ll be a yurt in the garden too, styled with guests in mind: from romantic escape to Lego den, whatever you ask for. Outside, amongst the crumbling old industrial heart of the building, there is an outdoor altar (yes really), fire bowl and dining area surrounded by summer gardenalia and fairy lights. You could easily sit twenty here. Enjoy champagne on the river jetty, supper cooked under the stars by your private chef, then kick-back for a long summer evening of live music, storytelling or simply listening to the birds roost. Whatever magic you want, the lovely ladies of New Forest Escapes will make it happen.

Forest Cottage, The New Forest

If you’re after rustic-luxe, then buzz like a barefoot bee to The New Forest’s zeitgeisty Limewood.  Sister-hotel to the medjaa darling that is The Pig, it is Hampshire’s equivalent to a tented, Serengeti safari where your surroundings are embraced and celebrated. A stay in one of the Forest Hideaway Suites plugs you back into nature: the peace, the birdsong, the verdant canopy —  in fact, all the positives of outdoorsy camping minus the communal shower, shivering damp and leaky canvas. No siree, at Limewood we’re talking cosy fireplaces, standalone baths, waterfall showers, a King-size bed and a world-class restaurant. Hartnett Holder & Co is run by Ramsay protégée and Michelin star holder, Angela Hartnett, and specialises in locally sourced Italian dishes with a respectful nod to the seasons. Finally, there’s The Herb House Spa, a haven of zen with its rooftop herbery and glass-sided sauna looking out to the forest.

STAY IN…LEICESTERSHIRE

Stapleford Park, Melton Mowbray

This impressive Grade I country pile is surrounded by 500 acres of Capability Brown landscape. It ticks all the boxes for luxury; spa -check, an award-winning restaurant – check, impressive decor – check (some of the rooms have been designed by Crabtree & Evelyn and Nina Campbell). There’s even a golf course for those who want to practice their swing. Bedrooms are spacious and come with little indulgences like a complimentary decanter of sloe gin or chocolates (thanks, don’t mind if i do). Interior designer Russell Sage has worked his magic on the ground floor to combine the building’s historical architecture with a contemporary country house look and feel. Public spaces are adorned with original period paintings and those with an expert eye may even spot an antique or two. Request a room with views and you can enjoy sights of the perfectly  manicured gardens or the rolling Leicestershire hills dotted with grazing sheep.

Kilworth House Hotel, Lutterworth

A fabulous luxury hotel complete with its own outdoor theatre? Now that is grand. Set amid 38 acres of landscaped parkland, the hotel’s award-winning theatre is set in a wooden glade and adds to the hotel’s overall luxe factor. Back to the hotel, inside there’s 44 individually designed bedrooms (11 of which are over-the-top luxurious) and each comes with fluffy robes, Clarins toiletries and stunning views over the garden or the Victorian Orangery. Opt for the Marlowe Room and you’ll sleep in a luxury four poster bed with feather plumes, meanwhile, the Tennyson Room is spread over two floors and includes a luxury bathroom, complete with a roll top bath and walk in shower. If you can tear yourself away, there are woodland walks, jogging trails, and guided tours of the house, grounds and of course the theatre (open in the summer season only) to keep you busy.

STAY IN…KENT

The Bull, Brenchley

Be one of the first to know about this wonderfully quirky Victorian English pub that’s recently been converted into fabulous, 5-star luxury self-catering accommodation for up to 16 people in the pretty village of Brenchley (10 mins from Tunbridge Wells). Including; 8 beautifully styled bedrooms, 7 bathrooms (6 en suite), lounge with plenty of seating, stunning dining area (that will comfortably seat all 16 guests), south-facing courtyard garden and a kitchen that’s so well equipped you’ll find more of what you need than in the cupboards at home. And down in the basement is what they call a media room, complete with 65″ curved Ultra HD TV but what I call a cocktail/party den – make as much noise as you like because down there whose gonna hear you? Bring on the karaoke (because I’m classy like that).

One Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells

When you’ve had enough of languishing in your rural retreat you’ll need a city stay to let off steam. New to Tunbridge Well is the rather swish One Warwick Park (OWP) and if we’re talking luxe accommodation then you’ll want a Junior Suite, featuring your own private corridor entrance overlooking the striking modern glass atrium. With bags of floor space for all your, er, bags (you’ll have been shopping obvs) there’s also a statement fireplace, luxury bar, study and dressing room area. The immaculately finished bathroom features a monsoon rain shower, bath and double vanity unit plus luxurious Temple Spa goodies. Want to arrive to a mini bar stocked full of Champagne and your favourite chocolates? Just say the word. Then you can head down to OWP’s in-house Gallery for a private shopping trip and purchase your very own original Melanie Berman artwork, or a Cartier watch supplied by G. COLLINS (jeweller to HRH that sits just across the road).

STAY IN…NORFOLK

Osier Carr Barn, Tatterford

Award-winning, beautiful, stylish and independent (neighbours… what neighbours?), if Osier Carr Barn was a woman, she would certainly be the envy of all her family and friends. But what sets this property apart from others in north Norfolk is views – mile upon mile of lush open countryside afforded via a gentle (and rare) elevation (Norfolk is flat, people). Inside this sprawling, one-storey beauty – with its Norfolk stone-clad exterior built in 1887 – super-luxe hunters will find five gorgeous bedrooms; four bathrooms – two with a roll top; one with a sauna – a contemporary kitchen with an AGA; and an enormous lounge-cum-diner with vaulted ceilings, a wall of bio-fold doors, and artefacts telling the tale of a well-travelled (and trusting) owner. It’s funky  rather than fussy, with modern, clever touches – even the wood burning stove rotates to ensure your tootsies stay toastie come evening. Sunny day? Drive to the nearby Champagne Coast – with its pristine caramel sand and stripy beach huts. Clear skies? Open those doors and marvel at the stars – as bright as diamonds and as low as they go, you feel like you could reach out and pluck one. Style AND substance? Definitely a woman… Read our full review of Osier Carr Barn here.

Lynwood House, Brancaster Staithe

If four floors, sea views and a cinema room don’t shout ‘luxury’ then we don’t know what does. Modern and airy, Lynwood House is the epitome of style and class with an open-plan lounge-cum-diner-cum-kitchen that’s bathed in natural light via large windows and bio-fold doors. Wood floors, clean lines, contemporary artwork and a dual aspect wood affect fire combine to say: ‘I’m expensive,’ yet ‘come and sit beside me’; open the run of doors and step onto a decked dining area leading to a raised seating spot – you get the glasses; I’ll bring the wine. Set over two floors – and separated by a spectacular galleried study area – all four bedrooms are spacious; the master boasting a private balcony, en-suite bathroom (his and hers basins anyone?) and built-in-wardrobe. Several of the rooms have spectacular views, shown off through neutral decor (who needs artwork with views like this?). Did somebody say cinema? Yup, there’s a cinema room downstairs with a large selection of movies to kick back and relax after a day on the coast.  Brancaster Staithe has its own caramel sandy beach and revered pub-cum-restaurant, The White Horse, while Wells-next-the-Sea and rustic Holkham Beach are just a few minutes’ drive away.

STAY IN…NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Deer Manor, nr Wellingborough

Ok, so this Grand Dame is on the Northants/Bedfordshire border but I’m including it because it was modeled on the original Buckingham Palace! I kid you not! Deer Manor was built in 1710 for the aristocratic Orlebar family and is a grand Grade I listed Queen Anne country house set in 38 acres of magnificent parkland. It has served as a private family residence for the last 302 years and has over 20 bedrooms, 3 Turret Cottages, the Great Hall, 2 ornamental lakes, a deer park, a magnificent clock tower, a period walled garden and an ancient dovecote (hmmmmm, I don’t think many of us are going to be able to afford this, but hey, we can see how the other half live)… The house and estate has recently undergone an extensive detailed restoration and has now been returned to its former glory as a magnificent family home. It’s pet and kid friendly, and is yours for oooooooooh, around £10k a night!!!

Mears Ashby Hall

In an idyllic setting deep in the Northamptonshire countryside, Mears Ashby Hall is a fine example of Jacobean architecture (yes I can be cultured you know). Built in 1637, the hall is now the passion project and family home of Clive and Pamela – and they are only too happy to share it with discerning guests and those with something to celebrate. Avid collectors of the unusual and the beautiful from all over the world, the house is perfect for parties, weddings, er, or to move into! Set in 11 acres of garden and parkland, the outside space provides a magical playground for both adults and children alike. With its own stream and lakes, complete with a boat for your own use, it’d be great for the summer. And if you’re feeling energetic, there is also a tennis court, outdoor games room for table tennis, air hockey and table football and you can even have a game of croquet on the lawn. *sighs wistfully

STAY IN…OXFORDSHIRE

Anyhoe Park, Banbury

Er, yeah, I’ll take it. This 17th century, grade I listed, Jacobean stately home is the secret hide out of celebs for big birthdays, discrete partying and naughty dalliances.  With the option to exclusively hire the whole lot you get full rein of a Hollywood Regency style salon with a dash of deco and theatrical flourishes, celestial chandeliered dinning room, orangery, library scattered with intriguing antiques and some statement taxidermy (check out the unicorn, giraffe and zebra). Follow the staircase down to a secret subterranean bar, games room and wine cellar. The whopping 28 bedrooms each have a nod to history from grand Georgian parlours to bodice-straining boudoirs with colonial flourishes. Basically it feels like home, if only I could afford it.

STAY IN…SOMERSET

Caspian Ranch, nr Dulverton

An 18th century hayloft turned ultra-luxe self-catering farmhouse, hidden down a track on the edge of the spectacular Exmoor National Park. Perfect for horse lovers (you can bring your own ’oss – there’s stabling close by), walkers and other outside adventurers, who like the finer things in life: chic exposed stone interiors, sumptuous bedrooms (it sleeps eight in four rooms) with fine linens and sheepskin throws, deep bath tubs and rain showers. Romantics and astronomers will love the vast starry night skies and meteor showers – Exmoor’s night sky was Europe’s first Dark Sky Reserve.

Pemberley, Frome

Pemberley was the name of Mr Darcy’s country estate, so most appropriate for this three-storey Georgian townhouse with a chic city feel just outside of Bath (it’s the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death this year, doncha know). Lying in the heart of Somerset’s coolest town of Frome (vintage shops, famed artisan market), it’s also ideally situated to explore the glorious Somerset countryside. It’s done out in all shades of grey (but probably not 50) and crisp whites, faux fur throws and eclectic furnishings to create a luxe, sophisticated stay for eight, in four bedrooms.

STAY IN…SURREY

The Barn at Logmore, Westcott

This beautifully restored and decorated barn is a stunner, with its ancient timbers, beautiful brickwork, vaulted ceiling and old Persian rugs on the stone floor. It’s luxurious with strong notes of rural and rustic. The barn has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, sleeping six. It’s a big space: a library, snooker room, dining and sitting room all in one, plus a well-equipped kitchen. Outside you’ll be surrounded by pretty farmland and the stunning woodlands of the Surrey Hills. There are great walks nearby, and if you’re looking for some great pub food then stop off at the Plough Inn, in Coldharbour. It’s 10 minutes drive from the pretty village of Westcott, and Dorking is a further 10 minutes away with cafes, restaurants, boutiques and the antiques stores for which it’s known.

STAY IN…SUSSEX

Hound Lodge, Goodwood

Lord it up at the Goodwood Estate near the famous horse- and vintage motor-racing circuits. The 10-bedroom Hound Lodge – converted from what was once a grand 19th century kennels for hunting dogs  – is perfect for a special house party. Homely comforts include antique furniture, wool stuffed mattresses and a drawing room bar.  Best of all, a butler and chef will cater to your every whim. You’ll also have access to the wider estate where activities such as clay pigeon shooting, fly-fishing and golf are available, or you can simply relax at the health club. You could even book a flying lesson in the aerodrome. And, yes, you can bring dogs.

Peanswood Country Manor, Robertsbridge

Fancy a dip in an outdoor heated pool while your friends or family prepare you a cocktail at the adjacent bar? Perhaps later you’ll make use of the tennis court and horse riding stables on site. This country manor in rural Robertsbridge, East Sussex stands in 15 acres of private woodland and sleeps up to 16. Dine alfresco on the beautiful terrace, or indoors beside the fire at a long table overlooking the gardens, and afterwards perhaps tinkle on the piano. There are showy bathrooms for grown-up pampering and youngsters will enjoy the playground and trampoline in the garden. Don’t fancy cooking? A chef’s service is available on request.

STAY IN…WARWICKSHIRE

Astley Castle, Nuneaton

Astley Castle was Winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture 2013 and is solidly booked until mid 2017. The stunning living accommodation is on the first floor and the bedrooms and bathrooms on the ground floor. Dating back to the 13th century the site has been owned by three Queens of England. The castle was on the verge of collapse after a fire in 1978 and far beyond a conventional restoration project. The Landmark Trust held an architectural competition to design a Landmark for the 21st century, where unequivocally modern living accommodation was clasped within the shell of the ancient Castle. The winning scheme was by  won by architects Witherford Watson Mann and The Heritage Lottery Fund supported the restoration. A long, narrow drive separates the small village of Astley from Astley Castle and the charming church of St. Mary the Virgin. From the windows of the Castle you have views over the old pleasure gardens which now have footpaths around them. There are lots of walks close by, Astley Book Farm, in nearby Bedworth, is an Aladdin’s cave of second hand books, where you can have a leisurely browse and relax in the coffee shop. Coventry is just over 10 miles away by car, where you can visit the Cathedral, with its striking juxtaposition of ruins and modernist addition and Stratford-upon-Avon is less than an hour’s drive away. Nearby museums and galleries include the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry (10 miles), the Mead Gallery at the University of Warwick (10 miles) and the world famous Shakespeare’s Family Homes in Stratford-upon-Avon (30 miles). You can gain free or discounted entry to these place with a National Art Pass.

Golden Cross Farmhouse, Shipston on Stour

A three-storey, classically proportioned Georgian farmhouse with stunning countryside views in all directions. The house is located along Fosseway halfway between Moreton in Marsh (with a very popular weekly market on a Tuesday) and Shipston-on-Stour. Just 10 miles north to Stratford-upon-Avon for the RSC, and all the Shakespearean history you can soak in. Stow-on-the-Wold is the Cotswold’s major antiques centre, so if you’re looking for a quirky bargain this is the place to reach. Two public footpaths lead directly from the house; a 15-minute walk across fields to Stretton-on-Fosse and its well-regarded village pub, or if a longer walk is on the cards try the trail to Todenham and another excellent village pub. This tastefully decorated, rustic and rambling farmhouse is the ideal venue for large groups or extended families. The huge beamed traditional farmhouse kitchen has seating for at least 14 people and traditional Aga (with an electric oven and hob as a back-up). Other features include roll top baths and king-size beds. Outside the house is a lovely enclosed courtyard with wisteria plants, a charcoal BBQ and garden furniture. There is also a small enclosed garden area of lawn for children (that can be closed off from the courtyard). The front yard has enough room to park up to 6 cars (with high double gates). There is also a decked area with an arbor, and garden furniture.

STAY IN…WILTSHIRE 

King John’s House, Rushmore Estate, Tollard Royal

Wow, wow and again I say wow. To stay in this extraordinary, historic house is truly unique – Medieval, Tudor, Grade II listed, it’s got it all. A tad spenny but you get an entire Japanese pagoda, sauna and croquet lawn for your hard earned. Snuffle canapes in the Medieval entrance hall, dine in style in the Tudor panelled dining room before clicking your fingers for the butler and obligatory Dubonnet in the drawing room (butler not included. But they will hire you a chef if you fancy) and then tumbling into bed in one of their seven bedrooms. The original building was a hunting box used by King John in the 13th century (would that my gaff was as large as a ‘box’) and so the estate is one of the best examples of a typical English landscape anywhere in the country. A 15 minute walk will bring you to the Larmer Tree Victorian pleasure gardens or 18 holes at Rushmore Golf Club, if that’s your bag. When it comes to luxe, this one tops it all.

Valentina’s Lost Orangery, Castle Combe

Sitting pretty beside Sir Walter Raleigh’s old hunting lodge is this gorgeous, uber luxe orangery, fit for a king, sorry, a princess. Dripping chandeliers, tropical palms and lemon trees are hidden within 500 acres of private grounds including enchanted woodland, manicured gardens, even a blooming lake! Oh, and there’s a castle and a pool house and….OK, OK, down to the nitty gritty. Two four poster bedrooms, roll top baths, monsoon showers, private terrace, tennis court. You are going to have a ball here.

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