Tag Archives: Country Life Magazine

English Guest Houses: The ‘Lord Crewe Arms’, Poet Auden’s Favorite Bolthole

‘No other spot brings me sweeter memories,’ remarked the poet W. H. Auden about the Lord Crewe Arms. 90 years later, the beauty of this historic bolthole, on the Northumberland/Co Durham border, hasn’t changed. 

Harriet Compston, July 27, 2021

In the village of Blanchland, the 12th-century building was originally a guest house for Blanchland Abbey. Today, the Calcot Collection runs the show and the company’s clever touches — as seen in Barnsley House — shine through.

The superb food is modern British with big flavours, made using local produce. After cocktails in the barrel-vaulted Crypt Bar, we feasted in the elegant dining room: my favourite dish was the super succulent roasted guinea hen with a garden herb sauce.

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British Estates: St. Peter’s House, Island Of Jersey

A traditional country property with about 20 acres of grounds, St Peter’s House is ideal for a buyer looking for a private retreat. 

Holly Kirkwood, July 27, 2021

The interiors are full of charming features, including original panelling, moulded ceilings, stained glass and working fireplaces. The main residence has a striking reception hall with minstrel gallery, five elegant reception reception rooms, five main bedrooms and four secondary ones.

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English Countryside: Peak District National Park

The air in the Peak District feels different. It’s softer; thicker even — one friend compared it to ‘butter’ (a good thing, I think) — and certainly cleaner than any air in London. Maybe it was the feeling of freedom: it was the farthest any of us had travelled in months, following months of respective lockdowns in the capital and in Devon (where the air is lighter, and salty). 

We had few expectations. Several people had said that the Peaks couldn’t compare to the Lake District (spoiler alert, they are wrong and have likely never been), several more couldn’t even point them out on a map. But change is afoot and the Peaks look set to become one of the UK’s most popular destinations with the arrival of several new, exciting hotels. Buxton Crescent Hotel (Buxton of bottled water fame) opened last year; The Tawny — a collection of rooms, tree- and boathouses — and Wildhive Callow Hall join it this summer. 

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Georgian Views: The Wick, Richmond Hill, London

On the gentle slope of Richmond Hill, Grade I-listed The Wick is a secret Georgian paradise that feels like a country house, albeit hopping distance from the heart of the capital, enjoying as it does the only view protected by an Act of Parliament. 

Annunciata Elwes, July 21, 2021

Lush terraced gardens meander down to an idyllic swimming pool and pool house, with the Thames elegantly curving in the distance.

Location: Richmond, or the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames, is an affluent district that boarders the River Thames. It is approximately 10 miles from central London. It has both national and city rail links, with Richmond rail station and Richmond Underground station that offers District and Overground services.

Atmosphere: Richmond has a community feel, much similar to that of a village, rather than a borough on the outskirts of London. It benefits from a number of independent cafes, shops, restaurants, bars and pubs — many of which take advantage of the river-side setting.

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Tower Houses: Killberry Castle, Western Scotland

Kilberry Castle is the epitome of historic Scottish Baronial Tower Houses —  built in the 15th century, it has undergone everything from a pirate attack, being besieged during the 1643-1645 civil war, to almost being destroyed by a fire.

Lydia Stangroom, July 18, 2021

In 1550, the Campbell family acquired the Kilberry lands and the castle has, quite amazingly, stayed in the same family ever since.

Today, the property is a gateway for stepping back in time. Yes, there are original open fireplaces, decorative cornicing and galleried landings, but in one of the 10 bedrooms is a museum-like shrine to the era.

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Channel Island Views: Monuments Of Jersey

Famous for its Jersey Royals, honey-coloured cows and international finance industry, Jersey is perhaps less well known for its rich history and distinct culture. Evidence of human activity dates back 250,000 years (the caves at La Cotte de St Brelade are associated with mammoth hunting) and its more recent Norman links give it a very French feel.

Country Life, July 17, 2021

Electric bikes, available to rent, are an ideal way to explore the landscape, as you look out for a glimpse of a bottle-nosed dolphin, red squirrel or puffin, or you could simply take to your feet to stroll around the island and drink in the magnificent views.

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English Country Estates: Aberdyfi, Western Wales

Owned by the vendors for 20 years or more, elegant, Edwardian Plas Penhelig, was built in 1908. It stands in just under 12½ acres of gardens, paddocks and woodland and boasts ‘six different views over the picturesque Dyfi estuary’.

Penny Churchill, July 14, 2021

Thanks to the waters of the Gulf Stream, rare plants and flowers flourish in Plas Penhelig’s sheltered valley, where the hillside is planted with a mass of shrubs, flowers and trees—from peonies and azaleas to camellias, magnolias, lavender, laburnum, lilac trees and a monkey puzzle.

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English Country Homes: Avon Court, Alveston

Everything about Avon Court has a opulent yet whimsical air about it — from the large wrought iron entrance gates, to the mature Willow tree in the garden that leads down to a mooring on a private stretch of river.

Annunciata Elwes, July 12, 2021

Avon Court’s glorious setting on a bend of the Avon — with private frontage, a mooring beside a lovely willow and dipping opportunities through the bull rushes on hot days — is hard to beat.

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Country Estates: Elton Hall In Peterborough, UK

Elton Hall, near Peterborough, is a house of many faces. It is formal and Classical on the approach, yet reveals on inspection a complex architectural history stretching back to the Middle Ages. All this with gardens that extend and frame it with a kind of painterly stillness. Inside, the house has one of the best private art collections in the East of England.

John Goodall June 27, 2021

As it survives today, the house bears the stamp of important changes undertaken from 1857 by Granville Proby, the 3rd Earl of Carysfort, which is remarkable, given that he was 74 when he inherited the estate in 1855. He had grown up on the family’s Glenart estates in Co Wicklow, Ireland, fought at the Battles of the Nile and Trafalgar asa naval officer and later rose to the rank of Admiral. What inspired him to undertake this work is not now clear, but it may have been the poor condition of the building.

The architect he chose was Henry Ashton, a pupil of Smirke who served as an assistant to Sir Jeffry Wyatville from 1828 during the latter’s transformation of Windsor Castle (and who edited Wyatville’s posthumously published Illustrations Of Windsor Castle, 1841). It must have been through Windsor that Ashton caught the eye of the anglophile Willem II (Prince of Orange until 1840), who commissioned him, in 1838, to design a summer palace at the Hague. Nothing came of the project.

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English Country Estates: Yarner House – Dartmoor

Yarner House and the adjoining Yarner Wood, a 365-acre block of ancient woodland managed by Natural England as part of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve, were both once part of the manor of Bovey Tracey granted by William the Conqueror to Geoffrey de Mowbray, Bishop of Coutances.

Penny Churchill June 22, 2021

On de Mowbray’s death in 1093, his nephew, Robert Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, inherited, but later defied the king, which led to the seizure of his estates in 1095.

Over time, ownership of the Bovey Tracey estates reverted to the Crown as favourites came and went, until, in the 16th century, a succession of costly wars left Tudor monarchs strapped for cash.

Elizabeth I began to sell off Crown properties and, in 1578, the Yarner estate was bought by Gregory Sprint, a canny lawyer with good Court connections, who swiftly resold it at a profit.

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