At Shalfleet Manor, hens and families log off from life around a roaring fire on one of England’s prettiest islands. Crunch your way up the gravel drive past mature shrubs and a lovely home looms ahead. Wisteria bunches on the stone walls, yew shadows dance on the perfect lawn. Everything is still. This house has a time zone all its own.
Grade II-listed Shalfleet Manor and cottage form an elegant country-manor statement close to one of the Isle of Wight’s most-loved pubs. Book it because you need to celebrate, because you need to restore and recharge, or just because. When guests drop their bags in the yawning hall, they’ll know they’ve come home.
Celebrate with champers in front of the drawing room’s 17th-century fireplace, bury yourself in a book in the wood-panelled sitting room, duck out in the snug for some quiet TV time. Dine out on the sun terrace, explore the 60 acres of serene greenery, switch off, do what matters in life with the people who count.
Turn off the main road and switch off from everyday life. Crunch your way over the gravel driveway past mature shrub and specimen trees. Are there 60 acres here? No, but 55.92 is close. Anyway, who’s counting? Everything in the garden is lovely.
Everything includes that all-weather tennis court. G&T on the sun terrace awaits, but not before you’ve earned it, with a competitive set or two in the sunshine. Postpone the plonk further, with a cool dip in the heated pool. Stroll down the theatrical steps and feel like Bardot on the Cote d’Azur.
Beyond the walls, though, it all gets a bit more hectic. Out there on the Newtown Estuary National Nature Reserve, you might be forced to have a go at kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding.
After you’ve recovered from that, you might want to mess around in your boat. Bring your craft of up to five metres and use the mooring in sleepy Newtown Creek for the week.
It all begins in the reception hall, a grand space to greet visitors and set down bags. From there, rooms get ever more stately and imposing, without ever losing their homely warmth. This is a world of oak panels, beams and bookcases bursting at the seams, but it’s also one of cosy cushions and curling up by the fire.
That fire sits in a glorious 17th-century fireplace in the living room. Let the logs burn black as you chat and catch up over champagne or a G&T. Through the windows, the lawns sit wearing their Sunday best, manicured neatly and adorned with bulging borders.
For quiet family time and a box set or two, the snug comes with its own flatscreen TV and a sense of escape. For further unwinding, the wood-panelled sitting room waits ornately for your presence. Choose a book from one of the many bookcases, pick a room, pour a drink and turn some pages.
But the large and luxurious living spaces here just keep on coming. You can spend sunny afternoons in the conservatory with the doors open to the sun terrace. Or duck out completely in the open-plan spaces of the cottage. Switch off your phone and let yourself into a world of simpler living.
Cook like a pro on your very own Aga, electric oven and original bread oven. Get the whole clan together around the dining table for a mere 16 beneath the beams in the dining room. Break the bread, pass the butter, book a butler. Or do it all on the sun terrace beneath the big blue skies that hang over the English Channel.
Prefer to put your feet up and be pampered? Call Anna-Lisa Price and swap the hot stove for a chilled Prosecco. Stock up on supplies from the village store in Shalfleet or the deli in Yarmouth. Or just potter out to the pub – the New Inn in Shalfleet, home of ceiling beams, an inglenook fireplace and delicious fish.
Close to the harbour in Yarmouth is Salty’s, specialising in fish and shellfish, a Mediterranean-style bar and casual dining on long bench tables. Head upstairs for a more-formal experience. Or if location’s your thing, you’ll find The George Inn nestling on the water’s edge between Yarmouth’s castle and pier.
The Hut in Colwell Bay is informal but unforgettable, with its relaxed, beach-front location, and fresh seafood and grilled meats in an alfresco and buzzy atmosphere. For dinner with a difference, try On the Rocks in Yarmouth, where your steak comes served sizzling on hot volcanic rocks. Cook it just how you like it at the table.
With views of the sea and boats bobbing on the Newtown Estuary, every room is a luxurious dream inviting deep slumber between the twilight hoot of the owls and the gentle morning chorus of indigenous birds.
The master’s a kingsize complete with en-suite bathroom and balcony. Bedroom two is also a kingsize en-suite, while bedroom three and four are homely doubles. Kids will love bedrooms five and six, with their twin beds and four singles respectively. Of the four bathrooms in the Manor House, you can choose from two roll-top baths with handheld showers, one walk-in shower, and a large outdoor wet room. Bedroom seven is another double, located in the cottage, for the ultimate in serene snoozing.