Downton Abbey style retreats to stay in the British countryside

One of Britain’s favourite period dramas, Downton Abbey, hit the big screens this month. Here is your chance to live like a lady or lord of the manor with our selection of the best country houses for a weekend break or autumn holiday across the UK.

Country manor in the evening light

The latest chapter in the life of the Crawleys is set to generate a surge in interest in country house stays as the new Downton Abbey film hits the big screen from today.

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Here is a selection of the the best country retreats to holiday like lord or lady of the manor across the UK.

Llanfendigaid Estate,  a decadent Welsh home in Snowdonia

Country house
Llanfendigaid Estate, a decadent Welsh home sleeping 17

Steeped in history, the grade II* Llanfendigaid Estate has been owned by the same family since records began in AD 1241. It occupies one of the most attractive stretches of Welsh coastline within Snowdonia National Park and is set in an acre of private wooded gardens making it perfect for bracing country walks with family and friends.

It’s easy to enjoy a truly decadent escape here, as the interior bursts with character – think painted panelled walls, antiques, fine family portraits and a number of interesting items collected from 200 years of travels around the world. The main house sleeps up to 17 in nine bedrooms and has access to one of the more secluded beaches in the area. www.premiercottages.co.uk

Castle

Cossington Park, home to explorers and adventurers in Somerset

Drawing room
Cossington Park has been home to a family of explorers, adventurers and philanthropists for 400 years.

Cossington Park is an elegant period house in Somerset. Home to a family of explorers, adventurers and philanthropists for 400 years, it provides the perfect backdrop for 12 Downton fans to celebrate in style. There are roaring log fires, luxurious roll-top baths, cosy four poster beds and rooms brimming with antiques and portraits. There is also a 250-year old Clementi piano for entertainment Crawley style and an elegant dining room where guests can host a magical formal dinner. www.premiercottages.co.uk 

Swan House, a Cotswold retreat within easy reach of London

Country house with pond and swans
Escape the capital for a country retreat in style at the Swan House.

Those seeking an easy escape from London or Birmingham (just 1.5 hour’s drive) will love the five star grade II listed Swan House, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire.

Located in the exclusive and “secret” Cotswold village of Winson, this luxuriously furnished house oozes country house chic and comes with two acres of lake and river frontage plus its own spring fed trout lake. It has six bedrooms, five bathrooms, large hall/sitting room, laundry/boot room, a fully equipped Miele kitchen (boasting two dishwashers and five ovens!) and a ballroom size dining room that seats twelve in comfort. There is also a 36′ drawing room with grand piano for that all-important evening entertainment. www.premiercottages.co.uk

St Catherine’s House, Tenby, Pembrokeshire – perfect for a house party by the sea

House overlooking sea
For a Downton-style house party by the sea, St Catherine’s – a stylish Georgian townhouse overlooking Tenby’s Castle Beach.

For a Downton-style house party by the sea, St Catherine’s – a stylish Georgian townhouse overlooking Tenby’s Castle Beach – has plenty of room for elegant dinner parties, cocktails on the terrace and relaxing in the large lounge with sea views. Sleeping up to 16, the house has a well-equipped kitchen, a library and an additional ‘snug’, while below stairs the original kitchen has been converted into a games room and a secret passageway once used by staff now offers discreet, private access to the lower terraces of the garden and right onto the beach. This luxurious house is steeped in history and is ideally situated for exploring the bustling streets of Tenby, its award-winning beaches and the wider Pembrokeshire coast.

Downton Abbey guide: history of Highclere Castle and how to visit, plus watch the new film trailer

The stars of Downton Abbey are set to return to the big screen as a new Downton Abbey film is set to be released in the UK cinemas this week. Here’s our ultimate Downton Abbey guide, including how to visit Downton, the history of Highclere castle, plus watch a trailer of the new film.

Watch the new Downton Abbey trailer 

 

The Crawleys, Downton Abbey

Hopton Hall, historic properties in Derbyshire

Country house with trees
The historic Chatsworth House, where Pride & Prejudice and The Duchess was filmed is also just a short drive away.

In the north of the countryHopton Hall is a beautiful historic property in 30 acres of grounds on the edge of the Peak District National Park, there are five properties in the grounds, which sleep between four and 14.

There’s plenty of room for family croquet on the lawns here as well as a play area, paddock with football goals, plus an indoor pool. The historic Chatsworth House, where Pride & Prejudice and The Duchess was filmed is also just a short drive away. All five properties can be hired to sleep forty guests, making it the ideal place for families and friends to come together. For those that enjoy country pursuits, there is clay pigeon shooting, riding and fishing nearby.  The Granary sleeps 14, making it ideal for a house party. www.premiercottages.co.uk

Monnington House – a house to celebrate in in style in Herefordshire

Country house and garden
The house is within walking distance there is a choice of pubs and glorious walks.

Surrounded by acres of cider orchards in the Wye Valley, Monnington House has everything needed for a getaway Downton style. There are nine spacious bedrooms and nine bathrooms, three reception rooms with comfy sofas and cosy woodburners plus a large kitchen with a four door Aga, two electric ovens and two dishwashers making catering here a breeze.

There is also a vast dining table seating 18 and, those that want to celebrate in style, can book a private chef for all or part of their stay. Outside guests can explore two acres of grounds and gardens and within walking distance there is a choice of pubs and glorious walks. www.premiercottages.co.uk

Huntsham Court – a baronial mansion in Devon

Country manor in the evening light
The house offers period-style charm and relaxed grandeur, sleeping up to 92 guests in 40 bedroom suites.

Huntsham Court is a stunning exclusive hire Grade II listed baronial mansion situated in Devon countryside close to the Exmoor National Park and Somerset border, the perfect elegant country pile for a party. The house offers period-style charm and relaxed grandeur, sleeping up to 92 guests in 40 bedroom suites whilst maintaining an intimate, homely feel. Ideal for private parties, weddings, short-breaks or corporate functions, the house caters for events of up to 130 people. Furnishings can be moved throughout the house to alter spaces to guest’s needs, whilst the beautiful five-acre garden is ideal for festival-style celebrations. www.huntshamcourt.co.uk

Pastoral countryside, England

Manor House, a historic Cornish home with Royal connections

Country house and grounds
A historic and cherished home with royal connections, Restormel Manor is only a mile from the attractive medieval town of Lostwithiel

A historic and cherished home with royal connections,  Restormel Manor is only a mile from the attractive medieval town of Lostwithiel. Owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, the 500-year-old Restormel Manor sleeps 18 and features a spacious dining room big enough to host a grand banquet. Guests can be Lord and Lady of the Manor for the weekend as there are three sitting rooms, three kitchens, cloakrooms, larders and five bathrooms. They can also enjoy the property’s extensive leisure facilities including: an indoor heated swimming pool, tennis court, games room and play area. There’s also a pub within walking distance! www.premiercottages.co.uk

Trewidden House,  a spacious grade II listed property in Cornwall

Elegant period dining room and laid table
The beautifully appointed home comes complete with servants ‘bells, just like Downton!

Part of the Bolitho Estate, Trewidden House is a dog friendly, spacious grade II listed house accommodating up to 15 people. The beautifully appointed home comes complete with servants ‘bells, just like Downton! It has eight generous bedrooms, a magnificent dining room, two large drawing rooms plus a grand entrance hall, children’s TV room and extensive kitchen.

Large lawns and a private driveway surround the house and the tennis court at the bottom of the garden has glorious views across the valley. Guests are welcomed with a cream tea and a delicious selection of Cornish food and drink. A complimentary housekeeping service is provided on weekday mornings. www.premiercottages.co.uk

Borthwick Castle – a stunning Scottish pile near Edinburgh

Castle exterior
Situated in the heart of the Scottish countryside is this privately-owned opulent fifteenth-century castle.

Borthwick Castle is a majestic and authentic exclusive hire venue located 30-minutes’ drive from Edinburgh Airport. Situated in the heart of the Scottish countryside, the privately-owned opulent fifteenth-century castle is perfect for hosting glamourous parties. Offering ten bedchambers and three reception rooms within the castle keep, in addition to a two-bedroom cottage and a one-bedroom Gatehouse retreat, Borthwick Castle can accommodate up to 30 overnight guests. Start with a delicious dinner in the grand Great Hall, head up two stories to The Garrison, a space which can be adapted to suit guest’s needs before going down to The Stateroom to lounge on the opulent sofas and enjoy a dram of whiskey. www.borthwickcastle.com

Bruern Cottages, Oxfordshire

Country house with garden
Weir House, set in its own pretty garden down a private driveway, is the biggest and most beautiful.

Bruern Cottages is a cluster of twelve properties, which combine the attention to detail of a good hotel with the privacy and comfort of home in the heart of the glorious Cotswolds.

Weir House, set in its own pretty garden down a private driveway, is the biggest and most beautiful. Sleeping ten in five en suite bedrooms, with an oak floored games room, a large  beamed drawing room with Gothic arched stone fire place and a dining room, as well as a big kitchen.

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There’s also a galleried landing lit by a round oeil de boeuf window and a large hall lantern. The house is ideal for celebrations with children as it features a much loved rocking horse, a doll’s house and under the stairs, the children’s den, with dressing up clothes and a puppet theatre. www.premiercottages.co.uk