The neighbouring vineyards are delectable. The fir trees that skirt the lake are magnificent. The lake, picture-perfect. The hills, dramatic. Through only half-closed eyes, this could be the lowlands of British Columbia. Except that The Lakehouse Retreat is just where it says it is, sleeping 19, minutes from the Victorian spa town.
In truth, this Tudor-timbered gem couldn’t be anywhere else but England, and you won’t want to be, either. This is your own private country manor with hills to yomp, private lake to fish, hot tub to revive your walk-weary limbs, tennis court, and terraces on which to sit and toast the lovely land that inspired Narnia.
Cram the American fridge/freezer with baked goodies from Faun, meat from Barnard’s Green butchers and fizz from Hay Wines. Cook on the Rangemaster, catch up on Netflix (bring your password) around one of two TVs, sleep in six delectable bedrooms, take breakfast on the terrace. Keep staring at that lake.
If it’s acreage you’re after, you’ve got it here. Roam the three acres of gardens, fish the six acres of lake stocked with perch, carp, rudd and brown trout. Make arrangements for some wild-swimming, paddle-boarding or set up bespoke yoga on the shore. Play tennis in the shadow of the Malvern Hills. Steam yourself in the hot tub in the clear lakeside air.
Pick a patio from many, burn your burgers and bangers on the barbie, throw a pizza into the oven, gather round the firepit for a sing-song.
Welcome to a world of chandeliers, elegant cornicing, high skirting boards, velvet sofas and homely rugs. Welcome to your own private country manor house. Keep the log basket stocked up so the open fires stay lit. You’ll need them after a hike up the Malvern Hills.
Living rooms are large here and you’ve got a flatscreen TV in each, so no squabbling over which box sets you binge. Don’t forget your Netflix password. Escape the mêlée with reading matter from the full bookcase. Interior spaces here join traditional architecture with modern furnishing in a generous slice of palatial perfection.
Life here revolves around the lake and the outside terracing, so eating al-fresco might feature heavily on your agenda. If so, the coal barbie with meat from Barnard’s Green butchers and fizz from Hay Wines might appeal. Or maybe you’ll head down to the lake and throw a pizza into the outdoor oven.
Cook on the Rangemaster and fill the American fridge/freezer with baked goodies from Faun and veg from Natural Choice. Call up our chefs if you’ve better things to do or tuck into a takeaway from Anupam, Thai Rama or Ask Italian. Eat around the dining table for 20. Wrap up your meal with a lazy Dolce Gusto on the terrace.
Eat out at The Nag’s Head on breaded pork Schnitzel or Herefordshire beef burger swished down with real ale. Treat yourself to a 10oz. ribeye steak or peppered venison steak at The Swan Inn in Hanley. Or devour the view of the Malverns from the balcony of the private-dining room at The Plough and Harrow in Guarlford.
You’ve more dramatic views at The Cottage in the Wood, set high above Malvern and serving an ever-changing seasonal menu in a 2 AA Rosette restaurant. Or how about Old Spot pork chop or Cornish skate wing from The Inn at Welland? Or fill a hole at The Terrace on the Hill, café by day and fine-dining experience just one night a week.
Sleep here is easy. Just rest your head and be lulled by the night breezes over the water and the occasional intervention of an owl.
Bedroom one is a large suite featuring a kingsize bed and day bed plus trundle suitable for children. Bedroom two offers a single bed with another trundle, while bedroom three is the master, which comes with a kingsize bed and a single chair bed.
Bedroom four is a double, while bedroom five is a kingsize and bedroom six is a family-friendly suite with a kingsize and two small double-chair beds. The final tally here is 19: plenty for all the family and for kids to feel at home with the people they love the most.
Tell the kids the area was the inspiration for the land of Narnia from the CS Lewis books and they’ll be investigating the back of all the wardrobes. That’s while playing hide-and-seek in this huge country manor home complete with six bedrooms, two living rooms and endless spaces in which to squirrel themselves away.
But any kids deficient in vitamin D really must stay here, because life here is all about the outdoors. Three acres of glorious gardens give way to a lake that’s twice that size. It’s perfect for paddleboarding or canoeing, organised through a local supplier. Towel off, then gather round the firepit with pizza from the outdoor oven or bangers from the barbie.
Older kids will be enticed by the busy bubbling of the hot tub beneath the big Malvern skies and who wouldn’t want a game of tennis among the fir trees with the hills rising in the distance? Advantage you. Inside, bring your Netflix password to pick from two flatscreen TVs and stay up late with games and giggles around the roaring fires.