The ancient oaks stand guard. There’s a roller for levelling the perfect croquet court. The artificially grassed balcony sits ready for drinks with its view over the expanses of the real stuff below. This is Gallery House in highbrow Oxford, but there’s no need to get intellectual here. This is the University of Party Central.
Get ready to graduate with a Masters in Merriment in a house sleeping 26 that’s built for kicks. Let the table football, pool and air hockey get your competitive juices flowing. Work up a sweat in the gym. Fire up a flick on Netflix or the big match on the big TVs. Fight the current in the indoor swim spa.
Appropriately for a property called Gallery House, the interior’s so modern it’s like artwork all by itself. Acres of smooth gloss stretch from room to room, wall TVs adorn the bedrooms, modern bathrooms invite long soaks, and beds are built for lazy lie-ins between crisp cotton sheets.
There’s no need to be energetic here, if that’s the last thing you want. But the indoor swim spa sits ready for you to burn off the excesses of the night before. Turn up the heat and fight the current. If you’d rather relax, it’s an 11-seat hot tub. Kick back and let the bubbles tickle your fancy as you sip a drink or two.
Outside, the gardens roll forever, merging with the thwack of a ball and the call of ‘fore’ from the fairways of the golf club. Visible from the astroturfed balcony are four acres of picnics, barbecues and beer or Beaujolais beneath the big skies, and two more of wonderful woodland.
There’s table tennis out here, a very English game of croquet on the expansive lawns, or just a long walk along the stream or by the lake before dinner. Pull on your wellies, clear your head and set your spirit free.
These are spaces designed for playboys and playgirls. Expansive and sleek, the glossy flooring and glimmering kitchen come straight from the pages of Country Life. It’s a home for dinner parties, reunions, hens and celebrations. As the dinner slowly roasts, uncork a classic and flick through Netflix on the big-screen TV.
The contemporary white-walled décor stretches throughout. In the living room, homely rugs and comfy leather suggest gatherings for games, movies or big matches. Rooms are light and airy, opening onto the outside spaces, where the stream babbles along the boundary and the breeze rustles through the leaves.
The feeling of quality runs throughout: heavy doors close with a clunk, spotlights dot the ceilings like stars, and contemporary furnishings and vivid modern art complete the millionaire feel. Toys add to the seductive set-up: cross-trainers and treadmills in the gym, and table football, pool and air hockey in the games room.
Be inspired to whip up culinary wonders in the glossy, gleaming Italian kitchen with five-plate hob, main oven and micro-combi. Better get some help: you can get 26 round the dining table. If it all seems too much, call up our chefs for a special celebration, a fully catered break, or just delve into our drop-off meals.
The doors off the kitchen let in the light and the breeze, and it’s a similar arrangement off the dining room, with easy inside-out flow to clear thick heads over breakfast or bring the outdoors in during summer salads. Outside, the terrace table and chairs invite the sizzle of steaks in the sunshine.
Pubs pepper the area. Try The Dog House for roasted aubergine, hog roast burger or black pudding and bubble-and-squeak stack. Across the golf course, The White Hart at Fyfield offers Kelmscott pork and Cotswold lamb washed down with cask ales, light summer wines or deep winter reds.
In cosmopolitan Oxford, pick from English, Chinese, Vietnamese and everything in between. Gee’s Restaurant is an Oxford icon, with its tree-lined terrace for summer dining, or try the rooftop at the Ashmolean Museum. For quirkiness, it’s the Cherwell Boathouse, and Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons for for the glint of Michelin stars.
With ten bedrooms sleeping 26, you won’t want for sleeping space at Gallery House. Rooms are light and airy with modern white walls, deep carpeting and wall TVs. Big windows give out onto gorgeous garden views.
Beds are zip-and-linked superkings for flexibility and guest beds add to the list of options. Eight bedrooms come with en-suites and there are two shared bathrooms made for lounging and lazing in the lap of luxury.