Sweep grandly down the baronial staircase. Ring a bell genteelly for the butler. Take cocktails by the outdoor pool. Walk the walled gardens. Stoke the fires in the reception rooms. Catch a flick in the cinema room. Beaufort Manor is undeniably handsome and yet balances this with a welcome homeliness. The butler bit might be by arrangement.
It all begins in the manor in which it means to go on. You sweep through the double gates, crunching the gravel on the long carriage drive. Your eyes scan the never-ending parkland on the southern slope of the Curry Rivel ridge among the Somerset Levels.
The only disputes today will be who can get to the heated pool first, or who lights the fires, takes charge of the barbie or gets to fly the Aga. The junior competition will involve hide-and-seek among the hectares, or table tennis and board games in the cinema and games room. Plump the sofas and settle back for family fun.
Where does Beaufort Manor end and Somerset begin? The two-and-a-half hectares of rolling parkland slope down the Curry Rivel ridge along the peat levels. Get your picnics ready, top up with lashings of ginger beer, and set your watch back to 1954.
Pre-prandial strolls, maybe gin in hand, should take in the walled garden with its lavender walk down to the original thatched gatehouse and pretty remains of a bygone era. They include 16th-century moulded stone gateways and the stables.
But from May to September, there’s only one place to be. It’s blue, 30 feet long and goes well with a gin-and-tonic. The Roman-style outdoor pool, heated to 30 degrees, sits ready for you to splash away a summer’s day.
It all begins in the grand manor, with the parquet flooring and turned balustrade in the wide and welcoming hall, a place to kick off your wellies after a walk on the levels. Off there, two reception rooms loom large, lit with the flames of open fires and the warmth of family chatter.
For bookworms, literature litters the house, with plenty of suitable venues for a spot of quiet culture. For family films, the projector in the media room offers Freeview and DVDs, while there’s Sky in the snug for catching a match or finding a film in front of the flickering flames.
Justice Hall opens up high and wide to contain whatever fun you can fill it with. Scan the bookshelves, pick out whatever takes your fancy and make the most of the quiet and the space. But there’s so much more than books to this room. Play a tune on the baby grand, prepare a movie, unfold a game of Monopoly and get competitive with a game of table tennis.
With its ceiling that goes on forever and is suggestive of quality in age, and with the light falling into every corner from the traditionally tall windows, Justice Hall becomes both your go-to games room and a space in which to recharge in the restorative effects of design that is light and warm, old and new.
Beaufort Manor is the kind of place you summon the butler with a bell if you fancy a tipple or some tiffin. There’s no resident butler, but we could probably arrange one. However, we can provide catering, for special occasions or a fully catered break. Say the word and we’ll chop the spuds and roast the veg.
But that could spoil your fun. With a four-oven Aga, electric hob and electric oven and grill, you could make this country kitchen your own with seasonal produce from the Apple Tree Farm Shop. Eat all together in the dining room with the period furniture and rolling views from the sash window.
Outside, there’s a terrace table and chairs and a gas barbie on standby if you’d like your steak and sausages marinated in the Somerset air. For relaxed dining try The Firehouse or Langford Fivehead for a gourmet meal.
Further afield in Taunton, Silvers Pantry is open for breakfast, brunch and lunch cooked by a former Gordon Ramsay chef, and Augustus comes with a wealth of quality courses, all considerately presented in a cosy and intimate setting. Or for champagne and afternoon tea try Living Pretty in Curry Rivel. For pizza and pasta, try Ciao Amore, or The Willow Tree for lip-lickers like seared loin of Fitzhead venison or confit leg of duck with rosti potato and savoy cabbage. You won’t want to miss The Barrington Boar, a traditional pub in a beautiful village location and offering some of the best real ales, lagers and wines, as well as a great menu comprising of varied and quality dishes.
Beaufort Manor sleeps 16 in seven bedrooms replete with giant, hotel-style beds, soft furnishings, period features and parkland views.
The master bedroom’s a superkingsized fixed double with en-suite bath and walk-in shower, while bedroom two and three both come with fixed five-foot double bed and en-suite with walk-in showers. For family flexibility, bedroom four has a zip-and-link and two singles.
Bedroom five is a fixed double and on the top floor, bedrooms six and seven come with zip-and-link beds and a shared bathroom.
The kids will be entertained for hours, getting the lay of the land: green to the very door and spilling out and around the walled garden and the acres beyond. After they’ve explored, wending their ways beneath the old stone arch, they can go a few rounds in the games room – and then it’s time to make a splash in the heated outdoor pool.
Inside the house they’ll discover that the fun doesn’t end: the cinema room, Blu-ray movies, books, board games and iPod dock will keep them distracted while you take some time for yourselves to explore!