“Lavish country house on a friendly scale, full of character and charm, in the green Welsh countryside (sleeps up to 18 but also great for 5-10)”
Huw and Elizabeth want guests to feel that this is a proper home, not a hotel, so none of the 9 bedrooms are named or numbered. They form an interconnected ring around the wide, glass-domed staircase, 7 bathrooms dotted between them. Part of the delight of staying here is learning how it all fits together, opening what must be a bedroom door to reveal another corridor, or a majestic white and chrome bathroom. It’s like inhabiting an Escher engraving.
Rooms are decorated in comfortable country-house style with antique furniture discovered during renovations, or bought at local auctions. Thick biscuit-coloured carpets, Persian rugs of all sizes, school trunks, sofas and chaises longues, piles of leather suitcases; prints and paintings have been chosen to fit the character of each room. The best of the bunch has a stone balcony overlooking the herbaceous borders, and a gargantuan four-poster bed.
We had a lovely roomy pink twin (4 of the doubles can be made into twins), with both a shower room and a grand bathroom. Oh, the luxury of a bath with a view. Smaller, cosy rooms at the back of the house are ideal for kids. Crisp white cotton bedlinen, new mattresses and down pillows, coupled with the deep, rural silence, guarantee peaceful sleep.
All the country house requisites are here. The roomy kitchen has a long wooden table for indulgent breakfasts and an Aga and gas range to cook them on. Views out over the herb garden provide inspiration, and there are huge quantities of good china, cutlery, saucepans and utensils for even the most demanding cook. There is also a large dishwasher for the aftermath. Beyond the herb garden outside, there’s a charcoal barbecue, chairs, tables and a large parasol for summer lunches on the patio, washed down with plenty of Pimms. For more formal occasions, double doors reveal a stately dining room, complete with grandfather clock, white linen table cloth, and huge windows overlooking the front lawn.
If you haven’t come here to cook, a chef or caterers can be brought in to do it all for you. They’ll make the most of the good quality local produce while you lounge the drawing room or play croquet on the lawn. There's also a fully stocked wine cellar from which to choose your tipple.
Local eateries include the Felin Fach Griffin Inn a couple of miles away, nationally lauded for its food and wine. The River Café in nearby Glasbury overlooks the Wye and specialises in authentic Italian food.
The useful "Book of Things" in the morning room has a comprehensive list of local suppliers and restaurants.
Kids are really welcome here, but there are a few caveats -it's not somewhere to just let them run riot, even if you are booking the house for exclusive use (see 'Families should know' below).
That said, children love it here, whether they're exploring the hollow trees in the grounds, watching heron fish on the pond or playing croquet in the gardens. There are a lot of quirks to fascinate kids in the house. The owners have even hosted a party celebrating a 2-year-old's birthday here, and you can book a photographer for the day if you are hosting a similarly special event.
Note that it's also a dog-friendly spot so bring your favourite canine - they have a kennel, 2 dog beds and plenty of fields for them to run in - making it a great spot for all the family.
4 of the 9 bedrooms have double beds that can be arranged as twin beds; cots fit in every room and you can also borrow 1 of the 2 camp beds if needed. We thought the small cozy rooms at the back of the house would be great for kids.
Babysitting available by arrangement.
Bring your own baby monitor. Depending on the model, monitors work through most of the house.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
It's self-catering with a fully-equipped country kitchen so you can cook up a storm for the family. Mums and dads wanting a holiday from cooking can book the chef, catering service and washing up service (genius!).
It's a country house and not a modern place made with health and safety in mind - the staircase is too big for a stairgate and there's an unfenced pond in the gardens. Keep your little ones under a close eye.