A Christmas castle: festive estates to rent
By Cosmo Brockway
In the current times, what better place to gather friends and family together than a rural estate to celebrate the festive season? We handpick the most comfortable and elegant country houses and castles, set in glorious countryside, for exclusive hire. As autumn comes upon us and our thoughts turn to Christmas and New Year, we highlight some of our favourite available properties across the UK to rent.
We are also excited to say that the Highland castle which had a starring role in Downton Abbey is opening its doors this Christmas/New Year. Contact us for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We can also arrange staffing and outdoor activities over the festive season, taking in some of the best sporting and entertainment across Britain. Whatever your vision for the perfect festive retreat, we can make it a reality. From beautiful Christmas decorations (we deck the grandest halls with boughs of holly) to special yuletide menus by excellent chefs, and festive shoots, we look forward to creating a memorable Christmas and New Year 2020 for you.
Fenton Tower, East Lothian
Close to the famed Glenkinchie Whiskey Distillery, perfect for those festive drams of ‘Scottish Water’, this romantic tower sleeps 10-12. Boasting one of our favourite castle dining rooms, Fenton Tower is the ideal entertaining space. The candlelit dining room with its antique French dining table and suit of armour is an atmospheric dream for an unforgettable dinner, seating up to 32 guests. The Great Hall, with its roaring fire, dressed with a towering Christmas tree and a private bagpipe player for Auld Lang Syne, will stay in your memories for a long time.
Farleigh Wallop, Hampshire
Farleigh Wallop is just an hour’s drive from London, but another world. Nestled in a 4,000- acre estate, this noble house is impressive from the first glimpse down the tree-lined avenue. Eleven bedrooms sport features such as four-poster beds, enormous bathrooms and glorious views onto landscaped gardens. This has been the home of the same family since the 15th-century with every corner breathing history and charm. Nothing is too much trouble. Come here to enjoy sink-in luxury at its finest. Christmas begins with carols by candlelight at the pretty village church or midnight mass at splendid Winchester Cathedral nearby. Christmas Day starts with champagne, flows into a spectacular Christmas lunch with a gloriously decorated table (the homemade Xmas pudding here is the best in England) before gifts and frosty walks around the gardens and estate. Welcome to roast chestnuts and crackling log fires – you will never want to leave Farleigh Wallop!
Silverholme Manor, Lake District
Sleeping up to 18, we love that Silverholme Manor, perched on the shores of Lake Windermere, is the UK’s only totally carbon neutral Georgian manor house. Set in the Lake District, there is a good chance of snow over the festive season – and what better sight to wake up to than that! We cannot promise a white Christmas but we can promise unparalleled views, private access to an iconic lake and a picture-postcard-perfect holiday. The 18th-century house has long windows to take in the surrounding scenery, cosy interiors (we love the library filled with board games and walking maps) and a sweeping staircase. Enjoy grand meals in the red dining room before boating and exploring then come home to informal kitchen suppers in front of panoramic glass French doors. Silverholme Manor is a feast for all the senses!
Ashby Manor, Northamptonshire
Ashby Manor has a tapestry of British history under its vaulted roof – Guy Fawkes, royalty and Edwin Lutyens all have connections to this striking manor house. Available to hire for exclusive use during Christmas and New Year, this family home of the aristocratic and colourful Guest family has a striking mix of period and contemporary styles with every detail of the highest quality and comfort. Children will love the former medieval kitchen-turned-play area complete with pirate’s shack as well as the games in Viscount Wimborne’s study while adults will fall for the panelled dining room and south-facing Lutyens Hall, with its stunning views and feather-soft Rose Uniacke seating. Ashby Manor, always welcoming, can accommodate up to 23 people and has everything needed for a magical festive houseparty in the most stylish of surroundings.
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