Tag Archives: Country Life Magazine

Home Tours: Kelmscott Manor In The Cotswolds

The architecture of Kelmscott Manor is woven into William Morris’s 1890 novel, News from Nowhere, in which a journey exploring utopian ideals in a post-industrial world leads, after much wandering, to a ‘many-gabled old house built by the simple country-folk of the long-past times’. There is no ‘extravagant love of ornament’ here, only a feeling that ‘the house itself and its associations was the ornament of the country life amidst which it had been left stranded from old times’. It is a poignant vision that underlines both a respect for the past and an ideal of a new society based on mutual interest and support.

Jeremy Musson, May 15, 2022

Today, this old stone-built farm house is best known as the Morrises’ country home, from 1871. First leased as a retreat from busy London life, it became a vital point of reference for Morris, as artist, designer and poet; it was his ‘Heaven on Earth’, and a source of profound emotional and artistic inspiration.

Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire

Fig 2: The first-floor Tapestry Room, with a carved 1660s chimneypiece, is hung with a late-17th-century Oudenarde tapestry. Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire. ©Paul Highnam for Country Life

Top USA Road Trips: The Washington DC Region

Country Life Magazine, May 14, 2022 – The area around Washington DC isn’t the obvious choice for holidaymakers crossing the Atlantic, but as Sophia Constant discovered it offers a huge range of wonderful options — particularly if you pencil it in now for the autumn.

Start in Winchester, Virginia, the oldest city west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which famously changed hands between Unionists and Confederates 72 times during the Civil War. Over 15 million Americans can trace an ancestor that travelled through Winchester on the wagon-way trail from Philadelphia to the American West. Take the Taste Winchester History tour through the historic downtown’s restaurants and bars. Explore The Mall, where original buildings and classic facades have been restored to look exactly as in the 1800’s. Don’t miss the Beaux Arts Library, Post Office, Union Bank, Court House, Clock Tower, and The Museum of The Shenandoah Valley’s 200-year old house, museum and gardens.

Winchester in Fall. The American one, not the Hampshire one. Credit: Capital Region USA

Havre de Grace, Maryland. Credit: Capital Region USA

The Shenandoah Valley’s winding country roads pass colonial-style houses, vast orchards, farms and picket fences. Enjoy gorgeous hills and forests via hiking trails, including Sky Meadows and Eagle Rock. Gastronomy is a major part of the experience. Tour Winchester Ciderworks to taste experimental blends: blackcurrant and ginger, or even turmeric chai anti-inflammatory cider. For homemade pies and cakes, head to The Homestead Farm at Fruit Hill Orchard, a fourth generation farming family’s store, set in an old carriage barn. Their BBQ and Bluegrass Night is an authentic experience, where local musicians jam on the porch and anyone’s welcome to join. The drive through Middletown is particularly striking; a half-pipe valley with mountains rising up on either side. Time this over lunch at Shaffer’s BBQ, a dilapidated gas station transformed into a restaurant serving delectable on-the-go southern cuisine. Shaffer’s sits on a Civil War battle site, Cedar Creek (1864), where annual re-enactments take place, including 3000 people, cavalry and heavy artillery

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English Country Homes: The Abington ‘Hunting’ Lodge On River Granta

Nestled in a private corner of the award-winning village of Great Abington is Abington Lodge: Where over 19 acres of gardens and grounds meet with elegant interiors and wonderful ancillary accommodation.

It’s hard to tell what’s best about Grade II-listed Abington Lodge, in Great Abington —whether the idyllic setting in a little more than 19 acres of parkland and paddocks coursed by the River Granta, the 8,600sq ft interior with magnificent spiral staircase and floor-to-ceiling sash windows or the intriguing history: the house was once a hunting lodge for Richard, Earl of Grosvenor, whose wife scandalised Georgian Britain for her relationship with the Duke of Cumberland.

Abington Lodge, which is currently on the market via Cheffins with a guide price of £3.5 million, has eight bedrooms in the main building, and also comes with a two-bedroom coach house, two self-contained apartments, a striking indoor pool and a stable block.

New English Travel Books: ‘Deepest Somerset’ (2022)

Deepest Somerset off the presses

THE third book in our series, Deepest Somerset, is on its way to you.  It was printed at Blackmore in Shaftesbury on the last weekend in August, and is now at the bindery, where the cover, again featuring a wood engraving by Howard Phipps, will be joined to the pages.

Cotswolds Views: Weavers Mill House Near Painswick

Located amongst the rolling valleys of Pitchcombe and within walking distance of the pretty village of Painswick, is Weavers Mill: A lovely family home with truly breathtaking gardens that lies on the Painswick stream. 

From its heyday as a mill, Weavers Mill, in Pitchcombe, has kept intact its original waterwheel and bucolic setting. It comes with beautiful gardens of about one acre, bordered by a stream, and another eight acres of grazing land with spring-fed pond.

The gardens extend both banks of the stream, interjected by bridges and peaceful corners that can be reached by rowing boat, including a small island flanked by a palm tree, providing the most idyllic setting.

The first floor reception rooms make the most of the delightful views, with the breakfast room and connecting conservatory opening up to the glorious gardens. The house also has a range of outbuildings including two garages, sheds and further storage units towards the far end of the grounds.

London Views: Houseboat Living On Regent’s Canal

From Chelsea to the canals, Londoners are taking to the water in search of a more peaceful way of life on a houseboat. Jo Rodgers clambers aboard.

Not far from World’s End, the Chelsea neighbourhood of 1970s council blocks and top-tier antique dealers, there’s a turn-off toward the Thames that you could pass 100 times without noticing. Next to the Embankment, a pair of planked wooden doors open to a quiet boatyard with a few handfuls of moorings, including the sunny houseboat of Alexandra Pringle, a publisher, and her husband, Rick Stroud, a writer and film-maker. A sturdy green gangway (‘the Waitrose delivery drivers are sometimes very nervous,’ says Alexandra) takes you over the riverbank to a red front door, flanked by hale plants, in terracotta pots and dolly bins, and a brass ship bell.

English Country Houses: Ancient ‘Hunton Court’ Near Maidstone In Kent

Hunton Court is an ancient house hiding behind a breathtaking Georgian facade, and all set in a truly beautiful corner of Kent.

Take a quick look at Hunton Court — near Maidstone, in Kent — and you’d immediately mark it down as an 18th century country house. Yet its true origins lie many centuries earlier: it’s a building that hides its timbered origins behind a Georgian look.

The house, once known as Court Lodge, had a turbulent history: first built in the 13th century and part of an estate that had belonged to the Canterbury’s Christ Church Priory, it was handed to Sir Thomas Wyatt, Henry VIII’s High Sheriff for Kent, after the Dissolution of Monasteries.

Tudor Architecture: A History Of 16th Century English Great Houses

Country Life’s architecture editor John Goodall looks at the architecture of the Tudor home.

In April 1521, Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, was urgently summoned from his seat at Thornbury, Gloucestershire, to appear before Henry VIII. The Duke could reasonably claim by birth to be the outstanding nobleman of his generation, boasting descent from Edward III and—arguably—possessed of a better claim to the throne than the Tudors.

He played the role of a great nobleman with proud perfection, both at home and in such public events as Henry VIII’s meeting with Francis I of France on the Field of Cloth of Gold, where he jousted and appeared in costume of fabulous expense. His birth and magnificence, however, also made him vulnerable to Court intrigue.

Caribbean Stays: Cap Maison On Saint Lucia

Cap Maison, an iconic boutique hotel on the North of the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, is a perfect example.

Quietly understated with staff so full of joy, it was hard not to be swept along with the wonderful atmosphere, as you soak up  jaw-dropping views out to sea and bask in the sound of waves that are audible — and visible —  from the vast beds, fitted with cloud-like bedding.

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