Storbrook House is a cradle of English colonial beauty, with hunting boots by the door and a fire roaring in the drawing room. Deep in the Sussex countryside, it’s the kind of place owned by a colonel back from bagging tigers in Burma, home for an English summer to twirl his moustache, sip gin on the terrace and wield a croquet mallet.
It’s not, but you can do all that, too. There’s a swing and a wendy house for the kids, and lawns to wander for the grown-ups, bewitched by the topiary and specialist trees. Explore the four acres and paddock. Thwock a tennis ball or two while the champers chills and the scones are buttered.
Storbrook House is colonial yet contemporary. Wifi buzzes throughout and you can tap in to Sky in the TV room, or just curl up with books on cosy sofas. Gather for meals around the giant table beneath crazy, contemporary art. At night, you’ll sleep soundly in six sumptuous bedrooms cosseted by soft cotton and lulled by the hoot of an owl.
The gardens and grounds recall an England of another era. Jane Austen, perhaps, or colonial England. They’re all croquet lawns, champers and cricket. Gather at the table for steak and salad off the barbie or cream teas and a tipple in the English sunshine.
Wander the four acres to find specialist trees and topiary, a gazebo for escaping with a book, and an all-weather tennis court for a deadly game of after-dinner doubles. Kids can enjoy endless hide and seek, or escape to the swing or to play happy families in the wendy house.
Everywhere, tranquility reigns. In the shadow of the South Downs, the only sounds are the coo of the woodpigeon and the song of the lapwing. Break out the mallet and hoops, top up your glass, and soak it all up.
The art on the walls is wild and vivid, the décor recalls the days of English colonialism in India and Africa, and the flames are crackling in the hearth. Sit back, put your feet up, pour another drink and drop another log on the fire.
The scene is set in the hall. The artwork’s eclectic and the furniture has a bohemian chic to it. There’s an animal-skin rug on the floor, and pegs for hanging up your stalking hat if you’ve been out hunting. Pause to tickle the ivories of the grand piano, then exit right into the living room, past the hunting boots that live by the front door.
The living room is homely and hearty, among the cushions and the rug. There’s a basket of logs ready to feed the fire and a pile of books for chilling and recharging. A cheeky game of charades or cards late into the evening as the fire roars and the wine flows wraps up the day nicely.
Elsewhere, the games room comes with Sky TV and DVDs for family film nights. Get together in the shadow of the South Downs, in the glow of British Imperialism, put the world on hold and remember what friends and family feels like.
You’re not a professional chef, but you’ll feel like one beneath the old kitchen beams on the four-door mains-gas Aga, electric oven and four gas hobs. This is your chance to be brilliant, or just let us take the starring role. Call up our chefs for a celebratory meal or delicious drop-off.
The family that eats together stays together. And it’s easy to do that at Storbrook House, around the dining table that seats 14 along its quirky benches. Break bread, share wine, discuss today, plan tomorrow.
Eating out? With two AA rosettes, The Leconfield at Petworth know what they’re doing. Try Herdwick lamb rump or take a journey through local produce with the five-course tasting menu. At The White Hart, sit under the canopy overlooking the river and tuck into king-prawn linguine or pan-seared scallops.
For honest, hearty fare with a pint or a pitcher, try The White Horse in Pulborough, The Sportsman in Amberley, The Well Diggers in Petworth or Fittleworth’s The Swan. Special occasion? Pull out all the stops, book ahead and head for Michelin-starred The Pass in Horsham for a meal that’s seasonal and sensational.
Six bedrooms at Storbrook House sleep 14 in soft-cottoned luxury. Beneath the old beams, with quirky, eclectic art on the wall and homely rugs on the floor, you’ll sleep like a log.
At Storbrook House, you can pick from a superking with TV, a king, three doubles and four singles. There’s one en-suite with bath, and two bathrooms come with baths and separate showers.
Stress will slide away in the shadow of the South Downs, amid period colours with jaunty, fun features like flags and hats, trunks and tapestries. Relax and let the clean air and the open windows do their valuable work. You’ve earned it.
This rural retreat plucked from a Jane Austen novel is where memorable holidays begin and end. Storbrook House is a big English manor house with land that spills as far as the eye can see, a paddock and more. Hide-and-seek could take some time.
Say hello to Muffin, the old blind cat, to the chickens in the run and to the sheep in the paddock.
The English lawns invite cricket or croquet, or just crazy somersaults. There’s a swing to while away summer afternoons and a wendy house for playing happy families. Out there somewhere there’s an all-weather tennis court for young Wimbledon winners.
Back inside, there’s wifi aplenty and the TV room comes with Sky and a range of DVDs. Up there in the attic’s snug play area, toys and books abound. Make a million memories for your kids in this English idyll.