Our handpicked selection of the best private homes in England, Scotland & Ireland to celebrate the festive season with family and friends. From a sporting lodge set on one of England’s most renowned country estates to a Victorian castle nestled in the Scottish Highlands, there is something for everyone…
Set on 12,000 acres of rolling countryside, the quintessentially British Goodwood Estate – home to the 12th Duke of Richmond – offers the perfect countryside retreat. Hound Lodge is a magnificent 10-bedroom sporting lodge in the heart of the estate, offering a rare opportunity to spend time away from it all and escape the hectic pace of modern London life. Spend your evenings relaxing by the crackle of an open fire and enjoy the sense of stepping back in time with your own private butler, host and chef. During the day, embrace the outdoors with an array of country pursuits from off-road driving and clay pigeon shooting to an exhilarating flight in a rare World War 11 fighter plane.
Best for: Active families looking for the quintessential countryside escape
Set on the shores of a tranquil loch and surrounded by 10,000 acres of spectacular wilderness, Glen Affric is an idyllic country retreat in the Scottish Highlands. The elegant 8-bedroom Victorian hunting lodge was built in the late 18th century by Lord Tweedmouth and in 2008 the current owners undertook a complete refurbishment and modernisation of the Estate, while still retaining the Victorian-era décor and furnishings. Accompanied by host James Middleton and his trusty canine companions, guests can experience a variety of country pursuits across the breathtaking wilderness, including deer stalking, hill walking and fishing on Loch Affric.
Best for: Those who want to experience life as a Scottish Laird
The ancestral home of the aristocratic Wallop family since the 15th century, Farleigh Wallop is a magnificent country estate set in the tranquil Hampshire countryside, just over an hour’s drive from London. Sleeping up to 21 guests in 11 elegant bedrooms, the carefully restored country house is surrounded by 4,000 acres of formal gardens, atmospheric woodland and is complete with tennis courts, cricket pitch, outdoor swimming pool and a boating lake – the perfect place to celebrate with family and friends.
Best for: Stepping back in time to life in a Jane Austen novel
Dating back to 1170, Lismore Castle has a rich and vibrant history from its days as the home of Sir Walter Raleigh to the current owner, the Duke of Devonshire, and has played host to the likes Cecil Beaton, John F Kennedy and Lucian Freud. Situated in the heart of the magnificent Blackwater Valley in County Waterford, this grand 15-bedroom castle is a peaceful retreat in the Irish countryside with sumptuous interiors and walls adorned with world-class art. Guests are attended to by the Devonshire family’s private staff, led by Denis Nevin – the castle's Butler for the last 35 years.
Best for: Art lovers who want to be immersed in the Irish countryside