Climb to one of Sussex’s highest points, glide up the sweeping drive to the ornamental fountain past the rolling lawns and the fishing lake, and simply admire the Georgian gorgeousness. This is a statement of a house, a work of art packed with sculpture and painted canvas waiting for you to drop your bags and embrace the good life.
Pre-renovation, The Art House was a tired classic; now it’s a yawning beauty that sleeps up to 24. Not that you’ll be overwhelmed by the size. You’ll be too busy entertaining on the terrace atop the pool house, with its elevated scan over the Downs and Chanctonbury Ring. Is the table big enough? It extends to accommodate over 40 with prior arrangement, so we like to think so.
Inside, the delicious art lives happily ever after with a sort of traditional modernity. Sneak off for some snooker or table football in the games room. Catch a family flick in the TV room. Stream away on the Wi-Fi. Burn a few logs. Spark a little chummy chit-chat. Admire the art. Paint yourself into a lovely corner of Sussex.
Dive into the 14-metre heated indoor pool, then bubble and boil in the Jacuzzi and sauna. They hide beautifully behind the panoramic floor-to-ceiling window that stares out over the rolling 17-acre estate and on to the South Downs and the iconic Chanctonbury Ring.
Fish the small lake, get all English on the lawns with picnics and cricket, lay a table for 40 on the entertainment area atop the pool house. Kick a footy into the nets or just kick back on the garden swing. Thrash the balls around the all-weather tennis court. Slam-dunk the basketball net. Entertain, escape, or enjoy: there’s a space here for everyone.
You might wish to spend your entire stay dipping, diving, swimming and splashing in the heated pool. But if you want to iron out the wrinkles, you’ll find some rather lovely spaces waiting for you, decked with art and laced with lavish detail. Chillax, mix and mingle, or escape to the snug with a book and a beverage to chase a little nirvana.
These aren’t rooms – they’re zones. The drawing-room alone is over 500 square feet. Use it to get together, catch up, play cards and charades, dance to the Sonos system, talk about today and plan tomorrow. Or head over to Inglenook Cottage for a little privacy and lounge in front of the 42′ TV. Everything here is plush sofas, logs, soft throws and sublime art.
Get a family flick going in the sitting room on the Freeview TV, stream away on the 4G wifi, burn as many logs as you like, raid the books and DVDs. Let the kids loose in the games room, with the puzzles, jigsaws and table football. Or put your mis-spent youth to good use around the snooker table.
Alexa’d be happy to entertain you every morning or even afternoon if you’d like to sleep in. Make it a late one with a fully catered meal, then put the world to rights over a glass or three of local Bolney or Nyetimber, or try out the vintages from the neighbouring Wiston vineyard. Or just smile and transcendentally admire the art. I know I would.
Go easy on the rain dances: you’ll probably want to eat every meal here al fresco. That’s when you’ve seen the huge elevated terrace with facilities to seat over 40 with prior arrangement and breath-taking views over the South Downs and Chanctonbury Ring. Fire up the gas barbie. When the kids get bored, they can go full handstands and headstands on the adjoining grass.
Options indoors are also good. You’ll get 14 around the kitchen/diner table and eight in the dining room and the drawing room can accommodate 40 upon prior arrangement. Raid the estate for plums, apples, herbs and blackberries, or the farm shops for an abundance of local produce. Masterchef it yourself on the three ovens and six hobs. And don’t forget Inglenook Cottage, the adjacent stand-alone haven with it’s own kitchen and dining facilities
Eating out? What do you look for in a pub? Stunning grub? Cask ale? Great specials? Your own beach and deckchairs? Welcome to The Fountain Inn in Ashurst. Or head to The Green Man in Partridge Green for crispy Med prawns, ham hock and pistachio, or avocado, bacon and chicken club on toast.
If it’s restaurants you’re after, try Italian at Mamma Mia in Steyning, or a roast in front of a toasty fire at The Old Tollgate Carvery. Go Thai at Thirteen Church Street in Storrington. Or try roasted rump of lamb, braised-beef-and-ale pie or beetroot bhaji burger from The Glass House Restaurant. Seaside eateries include The Original Chipwick, the award-winning fish & chips restaurant in Worthing, or the East Beach Café in Littlehampton. For fine dining, try Interlude, a Michelin star restaurant set within the beautiful Leonardslee Gardens, or Little Fish Market or Crabtree.
The battle over the bedrooms is real. The Art House has six of them, sleeping 16, plus three bedrooms for an extra 8 at the neighbouring Inglenook Cottage. Each is like a drawing-room, replete with clean lines, classic furniture, sash windows and sweeping views. Most have room for a cot, en-suite shower and WC and their own TVs.
The Arundel sleeps two in a super kingsize with three double aspect windows, gaze out at the rolling downs and farmland. There’s nothing ‘standard’ about Bramber except for the 4’6 double. The South-Down views are breath-taking in all seasons. It’s hard to determine which is the Master Bedroom, but Chanctonbury offers an emperor bed with fresh linen sheets and a stunning bay window with picturesque views. The Wiston is another super kingsize with triple aspect windows, motorised blinds and its own private terrace with stunning views facing North, East and South.
Bag the Honeybridge for the kids and they’ll enjoy twin beds with two pullouts, plus double-aspect views. There’s a generously appointed bathroom along the hallway to share but as all other rooms have private en suite showers and WC’s, the bathroom might prove to be a private haven for the kids!
Squabbling might peak when it comes to the contemporary rooftop suite called Lancing, which can accommodate 4 (or 5 with a cot) and boasts it’s own private terrace & living area and the most generously appointed en suite shower & WC.
Need a little extra space? The adjacent, self-contained, rose clad Inglenook Cottage has a further three bedrooms all featuring original oak beams, two of which could also accommodate a cot. The Garden room is a stunning generously sized, double bedroom with beautiful garden views and a private bath and WC en-suite. Orchard has double aspect views, a super kingsize bed and a double sofa bed, with en-suite WC. Bluebell overlooking the woodland is ideal for one or two children with its single bed or beds. It shares a shower & WC with Orchard.
Who needs Chessington World of Adventures or Thorpe Park? Well, kids do, but there’s plenty to crack on with at The Art House without leaving the grounds. Will it be cricket and picnics on the lawn, busting the nets with a football, slam-dunking the basketball net, playing in the treehouse or just chilling on the swings?
But all that’s to ignore the elephant in the room. The 14-metre heated pool is a year-round joy. Dip and dive, splash around, lose a few hours. When you’re done, 17 acres of grounds will keep you occupied, along with croquet and all-weather tennis court stands ready to extract even more energy. You’ll sleep well tonight.
For a quieter time, the games room comes equipped with puzzles and jigsaws. Take on mum and dad at table football. Or let dad demonstrate his mis-spent youth on the snooker table. Feeling bookish? Our shelves are groaning. Or you can catch films on DVD or streamed over the 4G wifi and play their top tunes on the Sonos sound system