You’re getting the band back together. Or maybe just the family. You have a mental picture of the kind of place that will suit. A rural retreat, a slice of Old England carved from a past when folk tugged their forelocks in deference to squires, yet transported into the present with wifi and hifi and everything in between.
You need space, somewhere huge to entertain, with kids’ play area, billiard room, open roaring fires that you can feed as you sip your brandy. An Aga, maybe. Sugnall Hall in Staffordshire is that place. It comes with all of the above and more. Much more.
Get everyone together for movies or games and sink back on squishy sofas in front of roaring fires. At night, you’ll retire to grand king-size beds in 14 unique bedrooms, five with en-suites, all with contemporary twists. Sleep tight in the clean country air then pinch yourself as you wake in the land of the gentry once more.
Live like a squire, if only briefly. Stroll the perimeter of the land at dusk. Gather the fruits of our labour from the two-acre walled garden, provenance of many a jam, chutney, soup, tart and quiche sold in the tearoom, and source of 500 bottles a year of juice from the 50 pear trees and 150 apple trees.
Four acres of parkland, woodlands and lake sit at your disposal at Sugnall Hall. They’re perfect for a kids’ kickabout or a picnic in the parklands. Maybe you’ll set up the croquet on the lawn.
Out in the clean rural air, the terrace comes with table and chairs for eight. Fire up the gas barbie, slap on the sausages and a few slabs of meat and keep your glass topped up all night long.
You’re off to a flyer in the grand and imposing entrance hall with its oak wood panelling, ticking grandfather clock and delightful period detail. Reception rooms are plentiful and plenty large enough to get together or be apart. Cosy up in front of the open fires, sink back on the sofas, tuck into the free wifi.
Enjoy the elegant spaces. The period detail is paramount in the drawing room, billiard room and boudoir. Chandeliers drip with lights, wall friezes and swagged curtains abound, and there’s cornicing, Queen Anne legs and Chesterfield sofas at every turn.
Get together in the evenings for family games or films in front of the boudoir Freeview TV and a healthy log fire. Or make like the Victorians and gather around the drawing-room piano for a traditional sing-along.
The billiard room’s big enough to throw a ball, and we can provide the catering to fit. Borrow the books in the library without fear of a fine, or let the kids loose in the games room. Set your own soundtrack on the Sonos. Sugnall Hall’s spaces allow you to come together or be apart just as much as you please.
Cooking and dining are a delight here on the ranges and around the dining table that seats up to 16. As well as the Aga, you’ll enjoy a Smeg range with two 63-litre main ovens, 36-litre grill and five-zone induction hob. But options are good if you can’t or won’t cook.
Book a fully catered break, drop-off meals or a special celebration by calling upmarket Goose on the Loose, or Sue Edwards for anything from a finger buffet to formal dinner parties. Eat indoors or eat out on the terrace with the chink of glasses and the smoke from the barbie hanging in the rural air.
Want to eat ‘out’ out? Pubs in Eccleshall offering cold drinks and a warm welcome include the Star Inn and The Old Smithy. In Market Drayton, The Peel Arms is good for hearty, homey fare, while Merckx Bar offers a bikey theme and gins to make you grin. For Italian, it’s Pasta Di Pizza and Thai Lanna for something more exotic.
If you’re in the market for fine dining, The Swan with Two Necks in Blackbrook is good for seabass, salmon encroute or pan-roasted duck breast. The London House Restaurant does a brilliant biryani and a top tandoori. Eat in or take out. For a scrummy fish-and-chip-fest, try Eccleshall’s Fish Bar.
Bedrooms here are baronial. Curtains are swagged, mosaic rugs grand and furniture in the classical tradition. There’s a chaise longue here, a feature fireplace there. Slide open the sash windows and, in the depths of rural Staffordshire, only the sound of silence greets you. Rest and comfort are assured.
The Step and Studio bedrooms each sleep two on king-size beds that are zip-and-link, providing the option for twin set-ups. The Step comes with an en-suite featuring separate bath and shower. Lemon Ashley and Blue Wrekin bedrooms each come with king-size beds.
The Velvet, Winter and Summer bedrooms sleep two apiece in kingsize beds. The Velvet has an en-suite with a large shower, the Winter an en-suite with walk-in shower and separate bath, while the Summer features an en-suite with bath.
The Royal Suite is as grand as it suggests, with kingsize bed, acres of space and en-suite with separate bath and shower. Four of the bedrooms feature 22” TVs for lazy, languorous lie-ins.