Eat well, drink well, be merry often

Wind back your watch to an England of village-green cricket, timbered barns and ancient pubs. So, eat well, drink well and be merry often in 23 acres of deepest Worcestershire. Celebrate a birthday, an anniversary – or just celebrate. There’s nowhere better.

The real luxury is time

This is England as it once was, and clearly still is. Local place names such as Blakedown, Belbroughton and Chaddesley Corbett smack of cricket on village greens, timbered barns and pub signs creaking in the wind.

So, follow the winding country lanes, wind back your watch a few decades, head down to deepest Worcestershire and follow the long private drive. There, behind its own woodland, wallowing in 23 acres of English pasture, sits Ismere Hall.

Step through the portico, past the rambling wisteria and walk into a bygone world of privilege. Servants’ bells, cornicing, pillars, oak-mantel fireplaces and double-sash windows abound. Floors are flagstone. The staircase sweeps. There are two wine cellars – because one is never enough. It even has a ha-ha, funnily enough.

Get everyone together, get the logburners crackling and the fizz flowing. Eat well, drink well and be merry often. Sleeping just the 24, Ismere Hall is party-perfect and seriously spectacular, but the real luxury here is time well spent.

Gardens and Grounds

So secluded that only the bleating of sheep competes with the chink of champagne glasses, Ismere Hall sits at the end of a long private drive of oak and beech, behind its own woodland, under rambling wisteria, seemingly in a different era of history.

This is a place to celebrate, and the endless acres are the place to nurse an aching head. Round and round a single mulberry tree, there’s a courtyard of barns and workshops. To the left of the portico entrance sits a conservatory, where you can be both a part of and apart from the gardens.

Drink and dine al fresco on the terrace by the summerhouse. Serve up a real slice of summer on the tennis court, walk the lawns before dinner. Explore the orchard and walled kitchen garden. Say ‘a-ha’ when you finally discover what a ha-ha is.

Ismere Hall is the ultimate rural escape – a tranquil idyll of holly hedges and rose gardens where, with your sash windows edged open, you’ll hear only the wind sigh through the leaves at night.

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Living Spaces and Bedrooms

Lap up the luxury in a world of flagstone floors, pillared archways and original panelled internal doors. Follow the deep skirting and the wide architraving to the reception rooms.

Take your pick from two fireplaces and light the logs in the drawing room, top up your glasses and let the conversation crackle. Through the double-sash windows, the gardens sweep away towards the valley in a festival of green.

Chill with drinks before dinner in the conservatory, get competitive in the games room over air hockey, darts and pool, or just pick a page-turner in the library and escape for a while.

In truth, you might never find all the spaces here. Barns come with stores and loft rooms, offices are dotted hither and thither, a kitchenette and shower room make the second floor suitable for self-contained living. Ismere Hall is ripe for exploration.

If you’re popular and have something to celebrate, Ismere Hall’s the place to put people up. With space for dozens to sleep off a heavy head, there’ll be no party poopers sipping soda and sloping off early.

Ismere Hall’s expansive bedrooms encourage not just sleep, but slumber. Slide open the sash windows and doze deeply to the sound of the bleating sheep and the sigh of the breeze through the trees.

Among five bedrooms on the first floor, the master was once a drawing room. Through the three windows, the view is forever England, with the gardens and valley beyond arcing away in a verdant sweep. All four further bedrooms come with fireplaces and sash windows.

The second floor offers four bedrooms and a playroom, now used as another bedroom. With sofa beds in the library and z-beds liberally spread throughout, there’s space for 24 to celebrate and recuperate.

Cooking and Dining

Light the logburner and turn the dining room into a restaurant, with 44 places at four round tables of eleven. More to feed? The enormous drawing room can double as a diner.

If you need some help, call up our chef for special celebrations, for a fully catered break, or for anything in between, including delicious drop-offs. It’s your call, but our job to do the washing-up. No, we insist.

For drinking and dining out, Kidderminster is packed with possibilities, including Chinese, Japanese or Vietnamese, plus gastropubs galore with ale as real as it gets.

Those who eat together, stay together. Eat out, eat in. If you choose the latter, you’ll enjoy spectacular spaces and sociable comfort. Uncork the bottles, top up the glasses and let the conversation flow.

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Buggies, bars and bites

Take a Canadian canoe down the River Severn. Take aim and fire at clay pigeons with Marksman Leisure. Steam your way through the Severn Valley on the ancient railway. Try quadbikes, paintballing, laser tag or dirtbuggies, zorbing or segway. At day’s end, hit Kidderminster for bars, bites and banter.

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