Guests swing through the gates of Symondsbury Manor to find the honey coloured house hidden behind ancient trees. On your arrival, a white unicorn peeking over a hedge gives a hint of the relaxed, playful style hidden inside this Tudor Manor. Colourful contemporary furnishings mix with traditional pieces to create an inviting home that provides the space and history of a country house without any of the stiff formality.
Pushing open the oak door, you’ll find a beautifully wood panelled ballroom which can be a games room, a place for partying or making music together (there’s a piano) or simply a space for kids to run around – it’s up to you.
A short flight of steps leads into the open-plan living space, lit from all sides by french windows which open onto the garden. At one end, a huge dining table seats everyone comfortably, presided over from above by an impressive gilt cupid (a stage prop from the 1960s film Billy Budd). At the other end, squashy sofas are grouped round a wood burner (limitless logs provided), making the space ideal for everyone to relax together, perhaps glass in hand, whatever the weather. There are interesting books and games, plus TV, piles of DVDs and an ipod dock.
There are 11 bedrooms, of which 6 have double beds and 5 have twin beds. There are 4 bathrooms and 5 of the bedrooms have either freestanding baths, or ensuites with showers and/or lavatories and washbasins. Under the eaves in the large attic, 2 of the double bedrooms are linked, making it ideal for a family. Linen is provided to make up 2 day beds if there’s an ‘overspill’ of children or teenagers.
All the bedrooms are decorated and furnished with originality: expect to find 4 posters, ornate French beds and hand painted headboards, Designers Guild curtains and hand printed wallpapers. There are books in every bedroom, specially chosen for a little light reading before you drop off to sleep on crisp, white cotton sheets.
The charming kitchen has a country feel with old pine, a Belfast sink and a cosy 4 oven AGA. There is a wealth of cooking equipment plus a gas hob and microwave, a dishwasher and pantry with fridges. Should you decide to let someone else do the cooking (and clearing up afterwards), we can supply a list of caterers from budget to fine dining, all familiar with the kitchen at Symondsbury Manor.
French windows lead onto the terrace, from which there’s an idyllic view of the gardens, full of tumbling vines and roses, and the village church beyond. Croquet and badminton sets are provided for use on the lawns and garden chairs are dotted around for the less energetic. A barbeque is built into one of the old stone walls for alfresco dining.
Children can digitally detox while looking for fish in the pond, discovering chickens in the hen house and taking turns on the fairground horse suspended in an old oak.
Click here for floor plan FLOORPLAN