Live like lord or lady of the manor for three nights from less than £100 per person
One of Britain’s favourite period dramas, Downton Abbey, hits the big screens this month. The latest chapter in the life of the Crawleys is set to generate a surge in interest in country house stays. So, ahead of the film’s premiere on 13th September, Premier Cottages highlights the best places to holiday like lord or lady of the manor.
Steeped in history, the grade II* Llanfendigaid Estate has been owned by the same family since records began in AD 1241. It occupies one of the most attractive stretches of Welsh coastline within Snowdonia National Park and is set in an acre of private wooded gardens making it perfect for bracing country walks with family and friends.
It’s easy to enjoy a truly decadent escape here, as the interior bursts with character – think painted panelled walls, antiques, fine family portraits and a number of interesting items collected from 200 years of travels around the world. The main house sleeps up to 17 in nine bedrooms and has access to one of the more secluded beaches in the area. A three-night weekend break this autumn starts from £1625 (£96 per person). (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 07463 441455)
Fancy a house that comes complete with servants’ bells just like Downton? Then look no further than dog-friendly Trewidden House, a spacious grade II listed home accommodating up to 15 people. The beautifully appointed home has eight generous bedrooms, a magnificent dining room, two large drawing rooms plus a grand entrance hall, children’s TV room and extensive kitchen.
Large lawns and a private driveway surround the house and the tennis court at the bottom of the garden has glorious views across the valley. A three-night weekend break for up to 15 this autumn starts from £1060 (£71 per person). (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01736 363021)
Alternatively, stay in the elegant period house Cossington Park in Somerset. Home to a family of explorers, adventurers and philanthropists for 400 years, it provides the perfect backdrop for 12 Downton fans to celebrate in style. There are roaring log fires, luxurious roll-top baths, cosy four-poster beds and rooms brimming with antiques and portraits. There is also a 250-year old Clementi piano for entertainment Crawley style and an elegant dining room where guests can host a magical formal dinner. A three-night weekend stay at this historic property sleeping 12 starts from £2265 this autumn (£189 per person). www.premiercottages.co.uk, 08000 433468)
Those wanting an easy escape from London or Birmingham (just 1.5 hour’s drive) will love the five-star grade II listed Swan House, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire.
Located in the exclusive and “secret” Cotswold village of Winson, this luxuriously furnished house oozes country house chic and comes with two acres of lake and river frontage plus its own spring-fed trout lake. It has six bedrooms, five bathrooms, large hall/sitting room, laundry/boot room, a fully equipped Miele kitchen (boasting two dishwashers and five ovens!) and a ballroom size dining room that seats twelve in comfort. There is also a 36′ drawing room with grand piano for that all-important evening entertainment. A three-night weekend break or 12 this autumn starts from £2240 (£187 per person). (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 020 8995 9072)
In the north of the country, Hopton Hall is a beautiful historic property in 30 acres of grounds on the edge of the Peak District National Park, there are five properties in the grounds, which sleep between four and 14.
There’s plenty of room for family croquet on the lawns here as well as a play area, paddock with football goals, plus an indoor pool. The historic Chatsworth House, where Pride & Prejudice and The Duchess was filmed is also just a short drive away. All five properties can be hired to sleep forty guests, making it the ideal place for families and friends to come together. For those that enjoy country pursuits, there is clay pigeon shooting, riding and fishing nearby. The Granary, which sleeps 14, costs from £2045 for a three-night autumn weekend break (£146 per person). (www.premiercottages.co.uk,01629 540458)
Surrounded by acres of cider orchards in the Wye Valley, Monnington House has everything needed for a house party Downton style. There are nine spacious bedrooms and nine bathrooms, three reception rooms with comfy sofas and cosy wood burners plus a large kitchen with a four-door Aga, two electric ovens and two dishwashers making catering here a breeze.
There is also a vast dining table seating 18 and, those that want to celebrate in style can book a private chef for all or part of their stay. Outside guests can explore two acres of grounds and gardens and within walking distance, there is a choice of pubs and glorious walks. A three-night break for up to 18 guests costs from £2,600 (£144 per person) (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01672 563571)