Stanley Stewart recommends more stately residences to rent in Britain
Buckland House, Devon: Set in 100ha of private woodland in mid Devon, Buckland gives new meaning to big. I feel there must be guests lost here from previous house parties, still wandering the corridors. There is a snooker room, a children’s playroom with a dressing-up box, an outdoor pool and a lake with a rowing boat. But the highlight of this house has to be the galleried ballroom complete with grand piano. Sleeps 27. www.bucklandhouse.co.uk. The Beach House, Porthpean, near St Austell, Cornwall: This seaside villa, perched directly above Porthpean Beach, has a beach-house atmosphere: bleached wood and painted furniture. The ground-floor rooms all open to the garden and the wide deck. A boardwalk leads to a private entrance to the beach. There is an attic sitting room, a great hideaway for children or teenagers, while adults may end up spending most of their time in the kitchen with its three sofas and views of the sea. Sleeps 14. www.thewowhousecompany.com. Tone Dale House, Somerset: A Palladian villa set in 1.6ha of landscaped gardens with a mill stream, Tone Dale is near Wellington on the edge of the Blackdown Hills. Light streams into this house through beautifully proportioned windows. Decorated with great style, Tone Dale is an interior designer’s dream. Children can be happily dispatched to the Long Room with numerous games including table tennis and a pool table, while any extra guests could be accommodated in the five stable bedrooms. Sleeps 21. www.thebighouseco.com. Berkeley House, Gloucestershire: Tucked behind a Georgian facade in Tetbury is something completely different: a modern stylish interior without a whiff of chintz or baronial flummery. Like the house, the town garden is spacious and stylish. The Orangery is the perfect spot for a candlelit dinner party or for the premiere of your latest home video. There is also a decadent bedroom tucked away in the garden in case you have any rampant newlyweds in your party. Sleeps 16. www.thecountrycastlecompany.com. Assynt House, Ross-shire, Scotland: As befits a Scottish estate, woodwork is one of the great features of Assynt House. Both the drawing room and the dining room are lined with the gorgeous light-coloured wood panelling that gives the house so much warmth. Skiing at Aviemore is only 30 minutes away. The famous Royal Dornoch golf course is nearby, as is the Moray Firth. Grouse, pheasant and clay pigeon shooting can all be arranged, as can salmon and sea trout fishing. Sleeps 16. www.the bigdomain.com. Rectory Park, Gloucestershire: This is a Regency rectory, close to Stroud and Cheltenham. Plenty to keep kids of different ages busy here with a home cinema and games room while outside there is croquet, petanque and a small football pitch. A medieval moat may keep them from wandering while the grown-ups lounge in the hot tub on the patio. Sleeps 13. www.dunsterliving.co.uk. Voewood, Norfolk: A genuine arts and crafts masterpiece, built in 1905. For anyone tired of florals and baronial fireplaces, this bohemian property is just the thing. It feels very Bloomsbury. Along with a fabulous modern art collection, the house boasts hand-painted murals in the bedrooms, a piano once owned by Liberace, a 1960s-inspired chill-out room as well as a gorgeous mosaic room. There is even a tepee in the listed gardens. The Great Hall can accommodate a party of 100 should you wish to invite a few more mates round for drinks. The Norfolk coast is a short drive away. Sleeps 32. www.thecountrycastlecompany.co.uk.