Is this England’s East Midlands, or just ‘The East’? Influences in this Lincolnshire manor house come from Japan, China, India and Egypt. Walk the Japanese-inspired floating garden and you’ll be convinced you’re in Tokyo’s Kiyosumi Garden. Knock back a whisky in the club room and you don’t have to squint to believe you’re in Shanghai.
All around, you’ll find vigorous nods towards other equally seductive parts of the world, such as the Italian-style drawing room. But everywhere is crazy. Crazy-grand. How grand? There’s a chapel here built by Methodism founder John Wesley. He called it a palace in the midst of paradise’. Alfred, Lord Tennyson used to pop in. That’s grand.
Escape for games or alternative TV to the Fornasetti sitting room. Party in the dining room with its sweeping views of the lawn and lake. Take the Holly Walk and spot 30 species of tree. Relax. Not even your imagination has to do any work here.
Feeling stressed? There’s more zen in the Japanese floating garden here than in an Okinawa yoga retreat. Peaceful and private, it comes with picnic opportunities on the lawns, views of the four-acre lake, or anywhere else that grabs you.
Let kids loose on the play equipment and trampoline. Take the Holly Walk around the ancient woodlands, with over 30 species of tree. Jump into the 16-person hot tub and swim spa. Find the Wesleyan chapel. Practise your tai chi on the lawn. Or just take tea on the terrace.
It all begins in the grandest of grand halls. If you’ve ever wanted to sashay, this is the staircase to do it on. Move on through the house and head further east to the Chinese-style club room, a slice of Oriental opulence in deep red leather adorned with Eastern artworks. It’s got evening card games and cheeky gin and whisky written all over it.
The opulence continues in the drawing room, an Italian-inspired festival of ornate mirrors, window seats and squishy sofas. Get together here after dinner for coffee, mints and games.
Need your own space? Head back to Italy, to the Fornasetti lounge, to choose your own TV, bury your head in a book, or even make your own meals in the kitchenette with fridge, microwave and hob. For total escape, chess fans even have their own spot, a quiet table by the window overlooking the gravel drive.
In the evenings, get everyone together and dip into the DVD collection. Need to stream? BT wifi wades in at a guaranteed 25mbps in every room.
The dining room drips with period detail: cornicing, dado rails and ornate mouldings abound. There’s even a head-scratching enclave. You’ll get up to 35 in this room surrounded by sumptuous elegance. Butter the bread, uncork the wine and let the catch-ups begin. Or eat al fresco on the terrace in the Oriental gardens. Sushi, maybe?
We can take the cooking off your hands, with chefs available for a one-off event or a fully catered break. But if you want to show off your skills, you’ll love the range cooker embedded in the glorious oak kitchen. Raid Myers Deli and East Coast Meats for Lincolnshire sausages, fresh potatoes, plumbread, and local gin, of course.
When you’re done, it’s time to play barista with the cappuccino machine. Head to the drawing room to lie back and loosen your belts. Eating out? There’s family-friendly fare on offer at The Red Lion in Raithby, the Montobello Ristorante in Horncastle and Windmill Restaurant in Burgh le Marsh.
Grown-ups can head to The Red Lion for Whitby scampi and real ale or The White Hart for pan-fried lamb’s liver or Tuscan-style slow-braised rabbit ragu. Try Montobello for spaghetti polpette or risotto giardinera, or the Windmill for steamed seabass or a hearty mixed grill.
There’s a world of inspiration and artistic extravagance in each of the 15 bedrooms. Choose the room that says the most about you.
The Boho wedding suite offers a kingsize bed with shower en-suite, while the Festival room gives you a kingsize four-poster and en-suite with shower and bath.
Choose the Tree of Life and you’ll enjoy a kingsize bed with shower-cubicle en-suite, or pick Bijoux, with its double bed and shower-cubicle en-suite. There’s a kingsize bed and shower-cubicle en-suite in the Captains room, while the Klimt offers a four-poster king-size bed and roll-top bath.
There’s another kingsize four-poster in the Scholars and the Royal Room offers a kingsize half-tester. Twin beds in the Classic and three singles in the Bedouin room make them ideal for kids. Fancy a circular emperor bed? You’ll want the en-suite Psychedelic.
The en-suite Boudoir offers a kingsize with shower over the bath and the Rose provides a kingsize bed.
Kids can see the kings of the savannah at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, be king of the castle at Tattershall and Lincoln, or see King John’s favourite read, the Magna Carta at Lincoln Castle. Grown-ups can hit the shops at Horncastle, taste-test a world of fine tipples at Bateman’s Brewery, or follow a world-class golf trail at Woodhall Spa.