As English as the croquet you can play on its manicured lawns, Norton Hall sits within 500 acres of private farmland. Wrapped in an ivy coat and bursting with Georgian features, this Cotswold manor house is the perfect place to gather, chill and dally.
A picnic or party is on the menu on lawns crying out for canapés, cricket and chilled drinks, with a side-order dip in the heated outdoor pool. Wander the arboretum or down to the lake, take in the views of Meon Hill beyond the fringe of tall, ancestral trees, savour the silence, live the English rural dream.
Set the barbie to sizzle on the terrace, gather for a sing-song around the grand piano, take a brandy to the snooker room, or take to the all-weather tennis court. Sleep off the day’s exertions in nine grand bedrooms with the feeling of endless contentment that comes with traditional country-house living.
There’s an oh-so-English stripe to the summer lawns at Norton Hall. It conjures visions of white-gloved butlers balancing silver trays as well-heeled guests sip politely from finely turned champagne flutes.
You can do all that. Or you can just picnic away, down by the lake or on the grass, while the kids go all Andy Murray on the tennis court or play out a test match. Of course, you’ll all want to dive into the heated pool. When you emerge, you can sit in serene silence on the sun chairs in the dappled shade of the trees.
There are a dozen acres to explore here, and they come wrapped in a further 500 or private farm and parkland. So the kids can go free-range while you sun yourself or whittle away the day with a gentle game of croquet, bowls or badminton.
New logs arrive daily for the open fires. Gather round, talk about today and plan tomorrow as the flames cast a warm glow into the vast spaces. Beneath the chandeliers and ceiling roses sit layers of comfortable opulence. All that’s missing is a butler, and we can even provide one of those.
At Norton Hall, living the grand life is as easy as putting on a movie, getting the board games out, or tickling the ivories of the grand piano. Sofas are deep here, rugs heavy and ceilings high. It’s an atmosphere of comfortable elegance.
Is there a snooker room? Of course there’s a snooker room, perfect for a gentlemanly game over a glass of brandy. At Norton Hall, you can spread out among family and friends or curl up with a book amid the relaxed, comfortable elegance.
Whipping up a stew on an oil-fired-Aga is the essence of English country-house living. You can do that here, and if dozens are dining, we’ve another gas-hob cooker for good measure. As if that weren’t enough, there’s a back-up kitchen with
gas hob and electric double-wall oven.
If all that doesn’t stir your culinary juices, call us. We’ll send our chef round for anything from a special occasion to a fully catered holiday. Light the candles round the old oak dining table, butter the bread from the Chipping Campden Bakery and let the conversation flow as readily as the wine.
Stock up at the Clopton Farm Shop in Mickleton. Here on the fringe of the Vale of Evesham, hearty pies, perfect puddings, apples, pears and plums are the fresh fruits of the Malvern Hills.
Out and about. The Old Butchers in Stow-on-the-Wold has a reputation as big as its hospitality. Pick from charcuterie that includes quails’ eggs, warm raclette cheese and chorizo magno. Or try a rump steak burger or ox tail and kidney pie. Chase down other hearty fare at The Ebrington Arms and The Bell at Alderminster.
Let the battle for the bedrooms begin. There are nine here and they’re all elegant, sumptuous and spectacular, so everyone’s a winner. The four en-suites all come with huge baths for a long, languorous soak. You might also want to bag a four-poster, so be quick up those stairs.
There are four kingsize doubles at Norton Hall and three superkings with the option of zip-and-link for family flexibility. Two singles and another double complete the line-up.
You’ll sleep deeply wrapped in quality cotton on thick mattresses under soft, luxurious duvets. Notch open the window and let the pure Cotswold air and the sound of the breeze lull you into a log-like state. Good times.
Norton Hall is the place where free-range kids play Swallows and Amazons in an English rural paradise. The manicured lawns are perfect for cricket and croquet, bowls and badminton. Beyond that, there are 12 acres to explore here, all set against the magnificent backdrop of Meon Hill and the Cotswold escarpment.
Outdoor adventurers will find the arboretum, a lake and three ponds. But the main aquatic attraction around the house is the heated pool, available from June to September. Splash away the day in the shade of the elms and oaks. Hunt further to find the all-weather tennis court and play area with swings.
Settle back indoors for Sky TV and a selection of DVDs. Dig out the board games, play cards or charades in front of the blazing logs way past bedtime, and tap into the wifi. Hide-and-seek could be an all-day affair here, among the nine bedrooms, cellar rooms, laundry room and reception rooms. See you at teatime.