Best country mansions to stay in: 7 dreamy holiday lets
Live the country house dream by renting one of these stately home holiday lets
Want to live like grandees of Downton Abbey? Pretend you're one of the Bridgerton clan? Well that dream can become a reality if you rent one of these country houses for your next holiday.
Well, almost - we can't promise you a Carson to wait on your every whim, the cooking of Mrs Patmore, or the wardrobe of Lady Mary, but we can promise you plenty of grounds, grandeur and opulence that will be all yours for the duration of your stay - whether it's a weekend treat or a leisurely fortnight.
And best of all, most of these grand homes can end up becoming quite affordable for a bigger group, so go ahead and get family and friends together to holiday at home and in style this year.
Here are our favourite stately homes across the UK that can be your very own... for a short time!
Best country house holiday lets
Price: £7,000 for a weekend
If you want somewhere impressive, it doesn't get much better than Wantage Manor in Oxfordshire. Straight out of a Jane Austen novel, this Georgian mansion combines cosiness with grandeur. Picture yourself descending the sweeping staircase, or having a grand dinner party in the elegantly-panelled dining room - although you may have to imagine the footmen serving you from a silver service!
There are 30 acres to lose yourself in, as well as a tennis court and a swimming pool.
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Price: From £6,195 for a weekend
With a grand entrance hall, billiard room and library, winding staircases to attic bedrooms, neo-Tudor manor Rippon Hall in Norfolk is a perfect country retreat however long you're staying - and pets are welcome too
Outside the grounds include a heated swimming pool, hot tub, gardens, formal lawns - and even a brick folly perfect for picnics. And if you decide to venture out, the property is within easy reach of the Norfolk Broads, and a short drive from the coast
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Sleeps: 10 (although more accommodation is available)
Price: From £3,600 for a weekend
If you want pure luxury, you can't do much better than Home Farm in Leicestershire. As well as a stunning indoor swimming pool, there's a big sociable kitchen complete with Aga, orangery, cosy wood-panelled snug that's perfect for movie nights, and beautiful bedrooms and exquisite bathrooms with gorgeous roll top baths. Outside, beautiful manicured gardens wrap around most of the house.
Nearby there's the stunning Rutland Water, where you can walk, cycle and fish to your heart's content, and even have a go at water sports. Rutland Water is also home to a fantastic nature reserve and the Rutland Osprey Project for a family day out.
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Price: From £3,950 for a weekend
Just two miles from the stunning Cornish coast and just outside picturesque Port Isaac (of Doc Martin fame) this quintessential country Georgian house is irresistible, bursting with period charm. Inside, you'll find 10 bedrooms, a cinema room, games room with snooker table, a large kitchen - well, you get the picture!
The 14 acres of beautiful grounds include a duck pond, woodlands, a croquet lawn and tennis court - nothing says 'country weekend' more than a round of croquet or tennis match (as long as the competitive members of the party are kept in check)! And if that's not active enough for you it is also near some of the best surfing locations in the UK.
Whether it rains or shines, you can't fail to have the holiday of a lifetime here - as long as no one falls out over the croquet rules!
Price: From £3,215
For character, you can't say better than the Grade I listed Blencowe Hall on the edge of a quaint Cumbrian village. This fortified building dates back to the 1400s and was designed to repel and intimidate invaders during the turbulent Border Reiver times, but now thankfully boasts a much more welcoming aspect.
If you've dreamed of living in an ancient castle or going back in time the experience of staying here will come pretty close. Inside there are ancient masonry walls and doorways, spiral stone staircases, Juliette balconies, inglenook fireplaces, oak panelling and beams, and obviously the ultimate period accessory - four poster beds.
Blencowe Hall won an English Heritage Construction Conservation Award, an Eden District Design Award, the NWDA Conservation Award and the RICS National Conservation Award. Plus, it's just four miles from the Lake District and the stunning Ullswater (which our sister title Countyfile named one of Britain's most beautiful lakes), while Penrith is the nearest town.
Price: from £4,500 for a weekend
Where: East Lothian, Scotland
Fancy a Scottish break? Then why not head to the beautiful Georgian mansion Gilmerton House, which has been home to the Kinloch family for thirteen generations. Located just 45 minutes drive from historic Edinburgh and minutes from the sandy coastline, it is the archetypal country retreat.
There are two drawing rooms, as well as a snug, music room, oak-panelled dining room lined with family portraits and antique books, and the all-important billiards room. Outside, make the most of extensive gardens and 100 acres of woodland, where possible activities include quad biking, horse-riding, clay pigeon shooting, archery and falconry experiences. If golf is your thing then explore the many prestigious golf clubs in the area.
Plus, a private chef and butler service can also be arranged on request - what could be more Downton? Although a ladies maid to do our hair would be good, too!
North Cadbury Court
Price: £13,000 for weekend
Have we perhaps saved the best country house until last? This Elizabethan mansion in Somerset definitely has the wow factor - and is perfect for big parties seeking an impressive location and amazing facilities. From a games room with snooker table to a morning room, a ballroom to banqueting hall, as well as two kitchens, there is truly everything you could dream of from a country house stay. And that's not all! In the cellar, you'll find a casino and a disco - this is the ultimate party pad!
There's also an indoor swimming pool, 10-seater jacuzzi, gym, sauna and two treatment rooms...
And the dream doesn't stop outside, either! Available on-site and included in the house rental, is a 3-hole golf course with the first tee from the roof (of course!), as well as archery, croquet, pedaloes, paddleboarding and canoeing, country walks and fishing (on one of two lakes) and three tennis courts.
With all this we think it might even beat Downton in the grandeur stakes - we just need to find a group of 50 people, but we are working on it!
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Debbie Graham is the senior digital editor for YourHomeStyle, and is passionate about vintage interiors. In her free time she loves nothing better than scouring second-hand and vintage shops for bargains and upcycling projects. Her home is a Victorian house that is a bit of a project and when she's not putting buckets under leaks you can find her painting and patching