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The country house features that have us falling in love again and again…

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We’re not shy, we adore houses, and we’ll happily tell anyone who’s ready to listen just why. Our National Country House Department is fortunate enough to be involved in selling some of the nation’s most beautiful and important country residences. As it’s the month of love, we’ve asked them what it is about a country house that really makes them swoon – the dream features, characteristics and aspects that they think really sets a home apart.

Water access

For sailing enthusiast Alice Luxmoore-Styles, Sussex and Kent, water access via a pontoon and mooring gets a big A+. “There’s nothing better than being able to walk to the end of your garden and head off on your boat into the blue beyond for some peace and quiet.” Not to mention the sound of rippling water, diving off a pontoon, fresh sea air, and fabulous sunsets… sounds pretty romantic doesn’t it?


For those who have one, they often refer to their AGA as the heart of their home. And Oli Custance Baker, head of the team, agrees. “They really are the beating heart for a busy family life, providing sustenance and warmth to all members of the household – including four legged friends.” He adds that an electric model gives a nice bonus point, “an AGA is a big investment, and when one is included in a sale it really can be a deal-maker.”

A ha-ha

Funny by name, and sometimes funny by nature - if you happen to fall off one. The ha-ha is a favourite of Will Banham, National Estates & Farms. “A ha-ha allows for completely uninterrupted views across the garden to your land beyond”. And, if you have sheep or cattle, means you can see the animals too, “unencumbered by a pesky hedge, wall or fence”. Dreamy.

A glorious view

“Glorious, glorious views.” That’s what Annabel Blackett, South, claims is top of her list. “The best views are those that change with the seasons, offering a different piece of what is ultimately artwork throughout the year.” And when it comes to a specific view, Annabel isn’t too picky – be that blue space or green space, forests or mountains, or even cows – as long as it’s nature, she’s happy

A roaring fire

Mark McAndrew, head of National Estates & Farms, says that for him, it’s a big roaring fire that tops the lustworthy list. “You just can’t beat a great big open fireplace to gather round when the weather outside is less than clement” he claims. It’s true, and often the drawing room fireplace in a big country house is a work of art, adorned with carvings, crests, and the place above which to hang an impressive portrait. “It’s also where you open your Christmas presents, play family board games, or celebrate with a toast. Memories are made around the hearth.” He also adds that big comfy sofas are an absolute must-have for the full fireplace experience.

A galleried hall

Mark Rimell, East Anglia, says a magnificent hallway with a galleried landing tops his list of favourite features. “It’s that first impression when you step over the threshold, you open the front door and ‘wow’ – it can really take your breath away.” A huge open hallway is a sure indication of the sheer volume and stature of a house, hidden behind the front door and gives a taster of what’s to come.

A pretty driveway

He’s certainly seen some good ones during his time in the National Estates and Farms team, but for Will Whittaker, a long winding drive through parkland is what he loves the most about a country house. “It’s love at first sight. A tree-lined drive, a long approach… throw in a couple of prime pedigree Hereford cattle in the front paddock and I’m sold!”

A walled garden

We’re back outside again (no surprise – these are our countryside experts after all) and this time the thing Liza Howden, National Estates & Farms, loves most about a country house is a walled garden. “It’s that ‘Secret Garden’ feel that really draws me in. Perfectly planted borders, roses, little pathways, to tucked away seating areas. A walled garden is essentially another room to the main house and is always high up on the list for buyers.”

Cotswolds stone

He’s biased because he’s a Cotswolds native but for Giles Lawton, the newest member of the Country House team covering the Cotswolds, it’s the region’s masonry that makes him fall in love with a house. “That honey coloured stone just comes into its own in the sunlight” he says. “It’s enchanting. Many buyers will insist on the Cotswolds stone that makes the region so picturesque in their house-hunt. The thing about it is that it’s native to the region, so recognisable, ages incredibly well, and looks just as good on day one as it does 400 years later.”

A country kitchen

For Tom Shuttleworth, Home Counties, it’s all about a classic farmhouse kitchen. “Brands like Neptune or Plain English are my favourites – they’re timeless and look so smart even amidst the informality of family life.” Truth be told, Tom wanted to pick an AGA as his biggest love but Oli beat him to it. Safe to say that in addition to flagstone floors, a boiling water tap, walk in pantry or larder, and shaker style cabinets, the AGA would top off Tom’s dream country house kitchen.

If you’re ready to fall in love with a country house, take a look at what the team are currently listing here.

For homes that have these captivating features, read our Take 5 here.

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