What more could you ask for close to Essex’s sunshine coast than a gorgeous, tenbedroom Queen Anne mansion house with 200 acres, a lake, a flock of Hebridean sheep and lots of toys? How about free entry to the enchanted lost kingdom next door? As unique selling points go, that’s a pretty good one.
We’ll come back to that one. In the meantime, you’ll want to check out Marlborough Manor’s ornate furnishings and cook on the four-oven Aga. You’ll want to play grasscourt tennis in the manicured grounds, work up a sweat in the gym and swim in the heated outdoor pool. And take your gin and tonic out to the croquet lawn, naturally.
Desperate to change channel? Snuggle up in the snug or breakfast room for alternative viewing. Stream on the BT superfast broadband. Raid the library for books, sing along with the Sonos. Oh, and take younger kids next door to Wyvernwood for a magical play area laced with stories about sea captains, wizards, dragons and princesses.
Among 200 acres of rich parkland, discover a lake, woodland and a flock of rare-breed Hebridean sheep. Bring your dogs (but watch the sheep).
Come back inside the fenced, five-acre garden to take a civilised drink out to the croquet lawn, swim in the warmer months in the outdoor pool, heated to a maximum of 28 degrees, and play grass-court tennis. Cook on the gas barbecue and stay out to swap starlit stories around the firepit.
Pop next door for free to Wyvernwood, an adventure park for children aged two to 12. Enter the enchanted lost kingdom through a magic portal and enjoy a digital detox among inhabitants who include Princess Arabella, Tatiana the Queen of the Fairies, Gurt the Lord of the Goblins and the Wyvern dragons.
At Marlborough Manor, sheer luxury comes interwoven with fun and games – and not just in the enchanted kingdom next door. Come together to catch up on box sets and blockbusters on the 65” drawing-room TV complete with Sky, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV. Or catch alternative viewing in the snug or breakfast room.
Keep the log fire burning as you catch up with family and friends on plush sofas and stream your broadband over BT superfast fibre. Escape with a book from the full library and stream your holiday soundtrack on the Sonos. Raid the toys, kids’ books and DVDs, tinkle the piano, sweat it out on the gym treadmill, rower, yoga wall and more
You’ll feel like Lords and Ladies dining beneath the chandelier in the decadent dining room or out on the terrace admiring the rolling parklands from the terrace. Cook on the Aga, hot plate and induction or hand over the white hat to our professional chefs and sit back to enjoy a one-off celebration or fully catered break.
Stock up the two Fisher and Paykel fridge/freezers with good stuff from Waitrose, Tesco and Aldi, or support local suppliers such as Budgen’s at Elmstead Market, Alresford Farm Shop and Alresford Post Office. Keep the wine flowing with fine fizz from Majestic or Waitrose.
Enjoy locally grown, seasonal fare at The Sun Inn in Dedham such as aubergine caponata or slow-cooked beef cheek. Head to the Rose and Crown in Wivenhoe for Alabama BBQ chicken sliders or salt-and-pepper squid. Or try The Pointer Inn in Alresford for burgers, fish and chips and other pub classics.
There are plenty of reasons to visit listed Le Talbooth in Dedham. Not least the three AA rosettes, but also the lovely spot on the banks of the River Stour on the Essex/Suffolk border. Or enjoy afternoon tea or fine-dining seasonal favourites at The Wivenhoe House Hotel.
Sleep the sleep of the justifiably smug in four-poster beds amid freestanding copper baths, ornate décor, chaises longues and dripping chandeliers. Luxuriate in a world of John Lewis high-thread-count bedding, firm mattresses, mattress protectors, pillow protectors, bedspreads, and Catchpole and Rye fittings. All rooms are en-suite.
The Captain bedroom is a superking with dressing room and bathroom with large deep bathtub, while bedroom two (Enchanted Castle) is another superking with en-suite and copper bath. Bedroom three (Galleon) provides a superking with en-suite and rolltop bath. Bedroom four (Wizard) is a superking and offers a double sofa bed and en-suite with rolltop bath.
Bedroom five (Wishing Well) is a superking with parkland and lake views, while bedroom six (Unicorn) offers a superking with a chaise and bedrooms seven (Zephyr) and eight (Little Kingdom) come with double beds and underfloor bathroom heating. Bedroom nine (Dragon) provides a king size bed and overlooks the parkland and lake.
Bedroom ten (Treasure) is a king size that overlooks the parkland and the lake with an en-suite bathroom providing a bath and underfloor heating. For additional accommodation, the library doubles as bedroom eleven with a double sofa bed and views over the gardens.
Let’s deal with the elephant next door. You can provide all the swimming pools, tennis courts, bunk beds and barbecues in the world, but nothing will quite compete with having an enchanted lost kingdom on your doorstep with spectacular play areas and vibrant characters such as sea captains, wizards, dragons and princesses.
Of course, Marlborough Manor also handle those other attractions pretty well. The outdoor pool comes heated to a maximum of 28 degrees between early May and late September, so bring your cossie, your inflatables and your sense of fun. Stay out there among the 200 acres to enjoy the lake and the flock of rare Hebridean sheep in the woodlands.
Older kids can burn some energy in the gym, complete with treadmill, rowing machine, weights machine, dumbbell set, yoga wall, Swiss ball and yoga straps. Test your sporting prowess on the croquet lawn and on the tennis court (gear provided). Then spend the evening eating around the barbecue and chatting over the firepit.
Inside, you’ve a 65” smart TV for catching movies and matches in the drawing room. For clashes of taste, you’ve alternative viewing options in the snug and breakfast room. Tune in to Sky and stream Now TV, Amazon Prime and Netflix over the BT superfast broadband. Tinkle the piano, bury yourself in a book, and don’t forget that lost kingdom.