If you wanted to invest in a grand country seat with many an acre for hunting, Herefordshire’s Hamcombe Hall, sleeping 24, would suit just fine. Of course, you’d need in excess of £10 million. But you can stay here and enjoy a slice of outrageous opulence for a fraction of that.
How opulent is Hamcombe Hall? Oh, very. You can stroll the seven acres of formal gardens before dinner, wander the 55-acre estate, and fish the carp lake or the River Wye. You can dive into the heated outdoor pool any time you like. And play cricket and croquet on the lawn while admiring the impeccable Victorian heritage.
This is the kind of house into whose pool 70s rock stars would enjoy driving a Bentley. But don’t get any ideas. Just chillax, spread out, light the logburners and break out the board games. Drink the local perry, scoff the beef and the apples, bring a book and get horizontal in this gorgeous house. Downtime never looked so good.
These are the kind of gardens and grounds that Victorian ladies stroll, arm in arm, twirling a summer parasol, before partaking of dinner. The formal gardens aren’t so much landscaped as manicured and pedicured, with coiffured hedging and venerable oaks standing guard over immaculate lawns.
These are formal gardens, but the experience is anything but. The gardener probably won’t doff his cap as you stroll by. Kids can play out here. There’s cricket and croquet to enjoy, and endless walks through the woods of the 55-acre estate. Take a picnic out to the seven-acre lake, or fish the Wye for salmon and trout.
Right out of the bifold kitchen doors sits the piece de resistance. Flanked by flagstones and wicker chairs just made for G&Ts, the heated pool helps hours disappear. Dive right in: the water’s lovely.
The living room’s panelled, the ceiling’s ornate and the chandelier adds a period touch. Slide back the wall panel and there’s the 55” TV. Settle back on the giant sofas, chillax and dig out a DVD, shuffle the cards or get things buzzing with a board game.
For a dose of quiet opulence, try the drawing room. The chandeliers drip like fine jewellery, the heavy curtains spool gently onto the oak floor, the cornicing’s ornate, and the sofas are deep and delicious after a day’s walking the Herefordshire hills.
There’s even a warm welcome in the cavernous hallway. Cosy Chesterfields sit beneath oak beams and panelled walls, a basket of logs is on hand to feed the woodburner, and the oak floor creaks with a homey familiarity.
Hamcombe Hall is the Victorian manor house that’s formal yet friendly, tasteful yet never pretentious, and grand but ever so humble. Walking into the blazing warmth of the hall feels like coming home.
There’s nothing Victorian about the kitchen, with its state-of-the-art glossy units, island, two double ovens and built-in microwave. Get stuck in to the delicious fruits of the land here: local beef, apples, cider, perry, organic vegetables, Wye Valley cheeses, ice cream and homemade pies and pastries. But not all at once.
If you’d prefer to put your feet up and gaze at the landscape, or take a short, appetite-sharpening stroll, call the caterers. For a special occasion, picnic or even a fully catered break, we have Rococo Catering or A2Zest Catering on standby, with their canapés, barbecues, finger buffets and fine feasts.
You’ll dine in style beneath the chandelier and the ceiling roses on a table built for 20, or eat with a view of the pool from the light and bright breakfast room with the bifold doors swept back. Outside, the terrace table and chairs and the gas barbie suggest the open-air sizzle of steak and sausages.
Try The Sun Inn Winforton for curries and quizzes, seabream and steak, or The Tram in Eardisley for hearty, wholesome fare. Michelin-starred The Stagg Inn at Titley’s good for partridge, venison and Herefordshire beef, while Foyles of Glasbury’s the place for afternoon tea.
However you slice and dice it, Hamcombe Hall has space aplenty. There’s accommodation here for 20 adults with children in the rooms, or 18 adults and six kids in the ‘kidszone’ room.
You’ve got nine kingsize beds, of which three are zip and link, plus bunk beds in the kidszone. Need more? We’ve got two zedbeds available on request. Four of the bedrooms are en-suite, while the other six share three bathrooms. Two bathrooms have bath and shower, while bathroom three has a walk-in shower.
Thick carpets, deep skirting boards and plenty of original features combine with soft-cotton bedding and snuggly duvets to ensure a dreamy sleep.