Deep in lovely Northamptonshire, possibly the best-kept secret of this sceptered isle, sits Mears Ashby Hall. Live like a Lord in drawing-roomed, four-postered, baronial beauty. When you tire of the house, explore the endless lawns, walk the parklands, or ripple the lake water with the rowing-boat oars.
From your car wheels crunching on the gravel, to the enormous frontage, to the ancient oaks and the five-oven Aga, this is the place to evade the everyday. With dining for 34, bedrooms for 20, and space for 20 extra day and evening guests, it’s primed for a party that’s no small celebration.
Sashay down the grand staircase past fluted balustrades, dance till dawn in the nightclub room , laze around in the library with flatscreen Sky TV and DVD, board games, squishy sofas, and chess boards. Light the logs in the lounge. Spark up the soundtrack to your stay on the Bose iPod dock. This is no ordinary escape.
It’s easy to live inside-out at Mears Ashby Hall when the parklands stretch away as far as the eye can see in a vista of pure Englishness. The lawns cry out for a marquee, the woodlands beg to be walked, the lake is asking to be rowed, and the boat is waiting.
Pack up a picnic and take a lemonade on the lawns. Wander the endless acres and make discovery after discovery. Loll about in the hot tub. Fire a Wembley winner into the football nets, shoot a hoop or two or take to the tennis court. For youngsters, hours will disappear on the trampoline.
You don’t even need to leave the garden to eat. Fire up the barbie for an outdoor feast, pile the prawns, clams and chorizo into the paella maker, and warm your hands and hearts around the firepit.
Competitive dads will love the games garage complete with table tennis, table football, darts and air hockey. For a more leisurely time, your boat sits ready on the shores of the lake, awaiting the splash of the oars that breaks the rural hush.
Live to the manor born in the vast echo of Mears Ashby’s living spaces. Eat like kings and queens in the dining room, then dance till dawn. Looking to chill? Curl up with a book in the drawing room on squishy sofas in front of a roaring fire.
Get the party started in the nightclub room. Once you’ve wined and dined, it’s time to bop until you drop. Complete with bar, blackout blinds, dance floor and sonos sound system, you’re free to let loose and party the night away. The cushioned banquette is ready and waiting after you’ve kicked off your dancing shoes.
Alternatively, get cosy with hundreds of books in the library. Fire up the flatscreen Sky TV for a movie night, break out the board games or Playstation 4, set up a chess championship or just warm body and soul with a window-seat coffee and a gaze out over the grounds. The serenity will stay with you.
Mears Ashby is a place where inside becomes out and out becomes in, in the blink of an eye and the passing of a raincloud. The halfway house is the conservatory, a serene mix of stone flags, candles, rattan chairs and tasteful greenery. Relax, grab a snack, rustle up a good read. No one’s hurrying you here.
Eating with family and friends, buttering fresh bread and sipping good wine while sharing warm conversation, is becoming a lost pleasure. But you can revive it at Mears Ashby Hall around the huge dining table for 20 in the main hall. You can even annexe the adjoining room for another 14.
If you’re a bit of a Heston on the side, you can make the kitchen/diner your own giant lab, with space enough to work in teams. Spoil yourself and create mouthwatering masterpieces around the six-ring gas hob and five-oven AGA. When belts have been loosened, sip coffee from the Gaggia over sounds from the Bose ipod dock.
Enjoy the pleasure of some extra luxuries to make your holiday or weekend even more memorable. We’ve top class chefs available to create and serve a special three course dinner, drop off ready meals when you arrive, or serve a classic brunch on Sunday morning. Or book a chef for the week and relax.
Prefer to cook al fresco? Fire up the gas barbecue for sizzling steaks or burgers on brioche, or add a little olé with the outdoor paella maker. Keep toasty around the firepit.
Eating out? Try salmon on slate or a deli platter at the renowned Beckworth Emporium. Alternatively, go gastro in The Swan at Lamport, or pop down to The White Horse at Old for a pie and a pint.
After your party palace has fed, watered and entertained, it needs to deliver on the accommodation front, too. With nine bedrooms sleeping 18, Mears Ashby Hall won’t let you down.
With the only sounds coming from the bats and the rustle of the wind in the leaves, you’ll sleep deeply, burrowing down between rich cotton sheets and warm duvets.
Tasteful period furnishings, homely rugs and vast opulent en-suites with clawfoot, freestanding baths are the order of the day here. Squabble over the four-posters, hop over the animal-skin rug and snooze like you mean it.
When the days shorten and the nights grow colder, who says those days and nights need be lacking in family fun and all the comforts in a home from home. Let the kids – and yourselves – loose to kick through the leaves and explore nature’s changes.
Everything at Mears Ashby Hall will take on a new guise in the crispness of the colder months. When the frosts settle in over the old stone and green lawns, venture out into the late hour and see this property and the surrounding area from new angles.
If the lake hasn’t frozen, wrap up and drift out to float beneath the stars before piling the fire high inside and watching the hours go by with family board games, a movie or just conversation. Make Mears Ashby your Winter Wonderland.
When that special time of the year comes around again, what better place than here to gather round with the family before the fire on a crisp morning and over the roast dinner that steams away with all the aromas of the holiday. Mears Ashby Hall promises to bring the family together in both new and familiar ways in a context of timeless luxury, leisure and comfort.
kate & tom's is rated 4.66 stars by Reviews.co.uk based on 637 merchant reviews