The National Trust are well-known for their historic homes, gorgeous gardens, rugged castles, miles of coastline and wildlife conservation endeavours (and also their excellent tea rooms, if you, like us are partial to the odd slice of cake and a cup of tea). But did you know you can also choose to stay in some of their incredible locations and unique spaces if you’re planning a large group holiday?
From medieval mansions and glamorous Art-Deco houses ideal for celebrating special occasions, to comfortable family homes, perfect for cyclists, walkers and activity-seekers, here are some of our favourite places for group stays.
Be lord (or lady) of the manor
Ancient Horton Court in the Cotswolds is a truly stunning location for a special break with friends or family. The result of a £2m restoration project, and once a filming location for Wolf Hall, this wonderful house is available for large groups of up to 10 people. You’ll adore the sense of history that surrounds you as you pretend to be the lords and ladies of the manor, from the gorgeous kitchen to the sumptuous bedrooms.
Go on walks from the door
You’ll find The Oast House in an incredibly special location in a country estate with access to woods and parkland, in the glorious Herefordshire countryside and close to the spectacular Malvern Hills. You’ll be raring to get out as soon as you open the curtains each morning to explore the stunning walks from the door. When you return after your adventures, you’ll find comfortable accommodation across 6 bedrooms that sleep 10, with plenty of beams and character. There’s a cosy woodburner in the sitting room, and a dining table big enough for everyone to eat together.
Watch the boats go by
Head to the Isle of Wight with your group and you’ll discover the wonderful Rosetta Cottage on the seafront at Cowes. An ideal spot for watching the ships go by, you’ll find yourselves just across the road from the beach and with the vibrant town of Cowes on your doorstep for maximum seaside fun. Sleeping 10 in 5 bedrooms, this is a great house if you’re taking extended family as there are ground floor facilities too. If you want to increase the size of your party you can also hire East Rosetta Cottage next door.
Explore a grand estate
Head to Leicestershire and Southwood House Farm on the Calke Estate. With the estate on your doorstep and miles of footpaths to explore, as well as out of hours access to Calke Abbey, this stunnng location will become your playground when all the day visitors have left. This former farmhouse on the estate is packed with historical features, and sleeps up to 14 in 7 spacious bedrooms spread over 3 floors, giving your group lots of room to spread out. Two dogs are welcome to join in with your countryside adventures as well, and when you come back to the farmhouse each night you’ll be met with gorgeous wooden beams, and a stylish modern kitchen perfect for rustling up a feast.
Travel back in time
Portland House definitely has the wow factor, and if you’re celebrating a special occasion this Art-Deco mansion should tick all your boxes. Sleeping 12 in 7 bedrooms and packed with original features with a luxurious feel throughout, this truly charming house feels like it would be more at home in the Hollywood Hills than overlooking the harbour at Portland in Dorset. Inside, the glorious interiors are practically begging for a Great Gatsby-style cocktail soiree and lots of the elegant rooms open out directly onto two terraces that have gorgeous sea views, so you can sip your drinks whilst watching the sun set.
Celebrate in splendour
The gorgeous Arts and Crafts style gardens of this historic estate are yours to roam outside of day visitor hours when you stay at Lytes Cary, where you will also have the Somerset hills and the magical splendour of Glastonbury Tor on your doorstep. Sleeping up to 14 in 4 bedrooms, this grand wing of a 14th century manor house with sumptuous furnishings and a wealth of period features won’t disappoint, whether you’re celebrating a significant birthday, having a university reunion or just gathering the family together. Dine in splendour around the magnificent table in the wood panelled dining room watched over by impressive portraits, a room just made for celebrating special occasions, or enjoy a game of croquet on the lawn – a chance to stay in a spectacular house with far more than a nod to times gone by.
Step into an Austen novel
When you and your group choose The Old Rectory for your break, then you’ll find you’re staying in a Regency house that wouldn’t be out of place in an 18th-century tale. The 6 bedrooms, sleeping 11 are all furnished in classical style and history lovers will appreciate all the little details from the wood panelling to the period fireplaces. Set just 15 minutes away from the town of Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast, you’ll also find miles of walks through the wolds on your doorstep, perfect for pretending you’re a dashing Mr Darcy or a brooding Heathcliff.
Escape to the seaside
The gorgeous west Wales coast is on your doorstep when your group stay at Gupton Farm Surf Lodge in Pembrokeshire. Perfect for surf fans and outdoor explorers, this comfortable converted cottage is minutes away from one of the best beaches in the country. Even better news is that if the lodge (which sleeps 10 in 5 bedrooms and welcomes two dogs as well) isn’t quite big enough for all your friends, then they can join you in their campervans or tents at the campsite next door before you all hit the beach together.
Get active in the countryside
Stay at Thorington Hall and Lodge in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Suffolk and you’ll find you’re in an ideal base for an active group holiday in the beautiful countryside immortalised by the artist John Constable, and also near the stunning Suffolk coast with its pretty villages and fascinating native wildlife. And there’s a wealth of history to explore too, with Sutton Hoo for pre-history, and the wool towns of Lavenham and Long Melford nearby too. One of the oldest houses in Suffolk with spacious interiors and huge fireplaces will be your home, where 8 bedrooms sleep 16. And for slightly larger groups, the gatehouse lodge sleeping a further 3 can be added too. With a pretty enclosed garden, your group can enjoy a tennis tournament, or just relax in this verdant part of the country.
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