The pergola sits on a deck in the middle of the ornamental lake, garden chairs waiting for you to stare at the fountains, ducks and reed beds. G and T, maybe? Or go big and take the rowing boat out on the larger lake. This is Blackdown Grange, sleeping 25 in a dozen bedrooms in the warm lee of Somerset’s Blackdown Hills.
There’s no shortage of wet and dry entertainment here in a Victorian country house and annex nestled in 22 acres of grounds as English as the croquet you can play on the lawns. And pile into the heated pool for suntrap swimming in the walled garden. When you’re done, stare at the stars from the courtyard hot tub.
Inside, eat, cook, play, have fun. Burn wood, chat, risk it all in the roulette room, pile around the giant dining table for decadent dining, fill the larder fridges with goodies from Gaia Garden Deli. Bring your hens or stags or bring your wedding guests. Or just bring the generations, your dogs, your wellies and your wonderment.
Pick from two lakes and put your feet up. Sit beneath the pergola on garden chairs and stare at the fountains, the reeds and the ducks, or explore the larger lake by rowing boat. Splash away an afternoon in the pool, heated to up to 28 degrees, in the suntrap walled garden. Soak away the evening in the seven-seater courtyard hot tub.
Play croquet, giant Jenga, pick-up sticks or football on the lawns. Potter the landscaped grounds, with their woodlands, lakes, orchard, and paddocks. Throw your steaks on the courtyard barbecue or take it easy in the pool and pass the whites to the pro chefs for an indulgent soiree.
Blackdown Grange brings generations together across the main house and cottage, and provides breathing space for when they want to be apart. Pick from a drawing room, sitting room, den and games room, and play family catch-up over burning logs or a spinning roulette wheel.
You’ll find the games room in the coach house next door, scene of many a late-night snooker, table tennis or table football world championship, followed by a Strictly face-off in the cavernous space once the decks have been cleared. Bring your passwords to stream your favourites over the Chess Wi-Fi on the two smart TVs.
Cook on electric ovens in fully equipped kitchens in the main house and cottage and get up to 24 around the chunky dining table that looks out on to the courtyard. Sun out? Eat out there on the coal barbecue with goodies from Tim Potter’s butchers and Gaia Garden Deli.
Bag a delivery slot from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s or Tesco and stock up on whites and reds from Majestic Wines. Got a one-off celebration planned, or just fancy taking it easy? Call in the pros and discover an extensive selection of delectable in-house catering options designed to meet your specific dietary preferences and meal requirements..
Pub it at The Holman Clavel Inn, a child- and dog-friendly local serving ales, cider and big brunches. Try The Lamb and Flag for spicy beanburger or cider-battered fish and chips. Or head to The Candlelight Inn, embedded in the Blackdown Hills and serving wild bass fillet and miso-roasted cauliflower.
Restaurants include Augustus, home of darne of trout on the bone, curried butter, house salad and French fries or crown of pigeon. Book Wildwood for traditional Bolognese or vegan lasagne, or The Bank for lamb shank, seared scallops or pan-fried sea bream. Mmm.
Seven bedrooms in the main house and five more in the cottage sleep 25 guests cushioned from the wider world by 22 acres of orchard, parkland and woodland. Wake to the sound of ducks landing on the lakes. Snuggle down in 200-count percale linen.
En-suite bedroom one, Kingfisher, is a superking with chaise longue, while bedroom two, Peacock, comes with a zip-and-link bed and bedroom three, Woodpecker, offers twins. Bedrooms four and five, Roost and Dovecote, are both doubles, and bedroom six, Otter, has a zip-and-link. Bedroom seven, Drake, is a zip-and-link en-suite.
In the cottage, bedroom eight, Orchard, offers an en-suite shower room and zip-and-link bed with extra single daybed, while bedroom nine, Thatchers, is also a zip-and-link. Bedroom ten, Poachers, provides a double bed, while bedrooms 11 and 12, Woodcutters and Gamekeepers, offer zip-and-link beds. Most rooms will take a cot and z-bed.