Travel

5 MINUTE READ

Country manors for exclusive hire

Words by Georgie Young

17 May 2024

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Spend the weekend with everyone you love at these for-rent stately homes across the UK.

If you don’t already own a country pile, chances are you’d like to spend time in one – especially as summer comes closer. There’s just something deeply British about hosting a garden party in neatly manicured grounds before retiring to a stately drawing room (although that might be the Bridgerton fever talking). Anyway, if your ideal summer weekend involves gathering your clan and renting out a country manor, here are seven places to do just that.

Keythorpe Hall, Leicestershire

There are many reasons you’d want to have Keythorpe Hall to yourself. But the main one is to have private use of its exceptional restaurant. The hall’s chef, Bent Varming, makes full use of the produce grown in the 20 acres of grounds surrounding the property – including a walled garden that supplies many Michelin-starred restaurants. So, it’s no surprise that your meals here will be hyper-seasonal affairs, which you’ll tuck into after making full use of the tennis courts, croquet lawn, and wood-fired cedar hot tub.

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Uppingham Rd, Leicester, LE7 9XJ

St Giles House, Dorset

First built in 1651, this Grade I-listed manor is the product of almost two decades of careful renovation by the current Earl of Shaftesbury – whose family has lived here for centuries. The property’s heritage shines through at nearly every turn (see the four-poster bedrooms in the main house or the recently revamped Riding House as evidence), but modern additions include a basement nightclub and speakeasy bar – ideal for late-night get-togethers.

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Wimborne St Giles, Wimborne, BH21 5NA

Aldourie Castle, Inverness

There’s no lake more famous than Loch Ness, – and no castle more Baronially grand than Aldourie. Its topknot of turrets has lorded over this tranche of the Highlands since 1626, but it was recently transformed into a home-for-hire by a pair of Danish property magnates. The result? A characterful castle filled with spaces you actively want to spend time in – like the boathouse, which was practically born for sunset gatherings. It’s also impossible to get bored, with wild swimming, whisky tasting, and Highlands games all available.

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Loch Ness, Inverness, IV2 6EL

Broughton Sanctuary, Yorkshire

It’s no wonder Broughton Sanctuary is often chosen to host wellness retreats – you simply feel more peaceful every time you draw back the florid curtains and see the Yorkshire Dales ambling into the distance. The state-of-the-art spa also helps with the relaxation side of things, as does the stuffed library and elegant drawing room overlooking the hills. Still, there’s plenty to do if you want a more active weekend – whether you fancy a knockabout on the tennis court, a snooker tournament in the games room, or a wine tasting in the cellar.

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Broughton, Skipton, BD23 3AE

Kirtlington Park, Oxford

If buildings could brag, Kirtlington Park would chew your ear off about its Palladian architecture and Capability Brown-designed parkland. Because this Grade I-listed mansion is elegance incarnate, with classical touches at every turn (need we tell you more about the frescoed staterooms – or the 3,000 acres of magnificent gardens?). It’s so lovely, in fact, that actress Elizabeth Taylor once dreamed of buying it and turning it into a drama school – but thankfully, she didn’t, as that would mean you and up to 15 others would have lost the chance to stay in its eight ornate bedrooms.

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Kirtlington, Oxfordshire, OX5 3JN

North Cadbury Court, Somerset

Old doesn’t just meet new at North Cadbury Court – it invites it to a party in its 14th-century wine cellars where Radio 1 DJs are sometimes spotted spinning the decks. It’s an Elizabethan Grade I-listed property in the middle of a bucolic Somerset estate (which just so happens to be where Montgomery cheddar is made). Inside, its 21 bedrooms are furnished with an eclectic mix of Georgian and Victorian furniture, and there are lifts to reach the first and second floors – ideal for less mobile guests. But our favourite part? The three-hole golf course, whose first tee is on the roof.

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North Cadbury, Yeovil, BA22 7DR

Middleton Castle, Norfolk

An actual castle surrounded by a small moat? We’re sold. Built back in 1445 by Thomas Scales, the entire property was recently refreshed for private hires last year, including the addition of a helipad in the neighbouring fields. It sleeps up to 38 people in its snazzy bedrooms, and other hang-out spots include an oak-panelled dining room and a billiards room with a brilliantly extravagant ceiling – look out for the hidden nook if you’re after somewhere cosy for a candlelit tipple.

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Station Rd, Middleton, King's Lynn, PE32 1EE

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Georgie Young

As our Digital Editor, Georgie writes about all types of luxury – whether that’s deep dives into London restaurant trends, interviews with famous faces, or travelogues from all over the world.

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