From a mansion with a pool to a stylish party house, find where to go for a celebration.
1 Lytes Cary, Charlton Mackrell, Somerset, above
Indulge your lord and lady of the manor fantasies with a new-year jolly in the sprawling west wing of medieval Lytes Cary manor. There’s a feeling of languid grandeur in the wood-panelled lounge and the long first-floor gallery that leads to four of the seven bedrooms — this is a classic house, rather than cutting-edge. Small sitting areas on the first and second floors mean everyone can have their own space, and the stately dining room is perfect for a New Year’s Eve banquet. The lovely garden is in an Arts and Craft style with a series of eye-catching shaped hedges.
Details Three nights for 14 people, arriving on December 30, costs £1,725 (0344 8002070, nationaltrustholidays.org.uk)
2 The Lakes by Yoo Barnhouse, Gloucestershire
On a 650-acre estate in the Cotswolds, the Barnhouse is a gorgeous property sleeping ten in five bedrooms. Its look is a mixture of Scandi style and rock’n’roll chic, with a wood-burning fire in a main lounge fitted with plush velvet sofas and designer lights. Striking art adorns the walls and tropical plants are dotted here and there. The master bedroom has a marvellous “mirrored four-poster” bed and a vinyl record player with a stack of LPs (including Grace Jones and Pink Floyd). There’s a little outdoor pool on a deck.
Details Seven nights, arriving December 28, costs from £30,000 for ten (0330 1003180, mrandmrssmith.com)
3 August House, Gloucestershire
A gorgeous 19th-century country house surrounded by acres of parkland, this is a great place for languid dinner parties, long walks and listening to Radio 4, rather than cocktail-fuelled late-night rave-ups. Recently remodelled to increase the interior spaces, the house has a huge drawing room with two fireplaces and double-height windows that look out over the grounds. The second-floor playroom is ideal to keep the children busy. The seven bedrooms — in soft creams and greens — stay the right side of chintzy, while keeping to the country-house feel.
Details A week, arriving on December 27, costs £12,500 for 14 (020 3859 7763, avenueproperty.com)
4 Gamefield, Crieff, Perthshire
A modern house, designed to make the most of the unspoilt countryside that surrounds it, Gamefield has floor-to-ceiling windows in the sleek living spaces that create a feeling of light and space even on the darkest January mornings. The five bedrooms are cool and pared-down, with cream and stone decor, but there’s plenty of warmth in the two firelit lounges, an outdoor hot tub and even a summerhouse with a wood-burner if anyone needs to escape the gang. A concierge is on hand to ensure that all party extras are covered.
Details A week for ten from December 29 costs £5,982 (01228 406731, scottish-cottages.co.uk)
5 Pelham House, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire
If it’s a party house you’re after, Pelham will hit the spot; it has a twirl of a staircase to swish down, a drawing room with baby grand and a sizeable indoor pool for leaping into at midnight. The cosy cinema room is perfect for assuming the New Year’s Day recovery position, along with the hammock in the lounge. For those with energy left, there’s indoor table tennis, a pool table and a trampoline. The seven rooms are modern and comfortable.
Details A week for 14, plus two babies, arriving on December 28, costs £9,995 (01242 220006, thewowhousecompany.co.uk)
6 Southwood House Farm, Leicestershire
This 18th-century brick farmhouse is in an isolated position on the south side of the Calke estate. Formerly a dairy farm, the house sits in a farmyard setting flanked by historic buildings. It has wonderful character, with many rooms, a large rear garden and views over open farmland. Its location in the Midlands near the motorway network makes it an ideal meeting place for people coming from different parts of the country.
Details Three nights from December 30 for 14 people costs £1,412 (0344 8002070, nationaltrustholidays.org.uk)
7 Crow Hill, Marsden, West Yorkshire
If a New Year’s Day walk is an integral part of your week away, Crow Hill is the answer; the Victorian country house is on the edge of Marsden Moor, with footpaths from the gardens into the dramatic Yorkshire countryside. The house has a real feeling of space, with seven bedrooms (sleeping 13), a dining room and huge lounge.
Details A week for 13, arriving on December 30, costs £3,756 (01228 406701, yorkshire-cottages.info)
8 Sunfold near Cardigan Bay, Cardiganshire
Sunfold is ideal for those looking for somewhere modernist and fun. Architect-designed, the double-height living area — framed by floor-to-ceiling windows — has a real wow factor, with statement pieces of furniture in bright red and black, against plain grey walls. There are two living areas (so no fighting over the TV), while upstairs there are two family rooms (sleeping three and four), a double and a bunk room, making it ideal for families sharing. Three miles from Cardigan Bay, it has great walks from the front door.
Details A five-day break from December 30 costs £1,525 for 11 (01228 406751, wales-cottages.info)
9 Porthclais Farmhouse near St David’s, Pembrokeshire
A charming property that oozes Victorian charm, Porthclais comes with exposed beams and original fireplaces, plus a well-equipped kitchen. The house sleeps ten in five stylish bedrooms, with polished wood floors and period furniture. For a post-festivities walk, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a stone’s throw from the door. Bigger parties can also book the next-door Porthclais Cottage, which sleeps up to six. Both properties can accommodate a dog.
Details A week for ten arriving on December 29 costs £2,415 for Porthclais Farmhouse and £3,979 for both properties, sleeping 16 (01348 837871, qualitycottages.co.uk)
10 Gothic Cottage, Ryde, Isle of Wight
New to the lettings market, Gothic Cottage has a fun feel, from the games room with its mirrored bar, glitterball and vintage jukebox, to the garden “entertainment pod” with TV and Blu-ray player. There is a well-equipped kitchen, spacious dining room and two lounges, and the five bedrooms are different, with feature walls and bright fabrics.
Details A week for ten, arriving on December 30, costs £2,525 (0800 1488228, vipcottages.com)
11 Turret Mansion House, Biggar, Lanarkshire
This is a house with serious history (it was once the home of the Gladstone family). With a butler on hand and eleven bedrooms and nine bathrooms, it is easy to re-create a classic country estate feel. Enjoy a New Year’s Eve meal in the dining room, with its minstrel’s gallery, then retire to the billiard room. As for Auld Lang Syne, you can sing it backed by the full drum kit and piano in the music room.
Details A week for 24 from December 30 costs £7,725 (0800 1337999, oliverstravels.com)
12 Boconnoc House, Lostwithiel, Cornwall
If the budget will stretch, Boconnoc — a gorgeous Georgian mansion house with every 21st-century comfort — guarantees an unforgettable new year. The house fans out from the stunning painted staircase, with a glorious firelit drawing room that’s big enough to play cricket in, three further lounges, a games room with table tennis, pool and a football table, and a library with a projector for cinema nights. The nine bedrooms are of a country house hotel standard and a chef can be arranged to make the most of the top-notch kitchen.
Details A three-night break for 18, arriving on December 30, costs £9,000 (01386 897168, ruralretreats.co.uk)
13 Burlington House, Balcombe, West Sussex
Set in nine acres of parkland, Burlington House is a classic Georgian country home that retains its period feel with the decor and styling, a Downton-esque dining room, open fires in the elegant lounges and eight sumptuously comfortable bedrooms. There’s croquet and tennis if the sun is shining, and a library full of books if it’s not. If no one wants to spend New Year’s Eve battling with the Aga, catering can be arranged.
Details A week for 16, arriving on December 28, costs £6,950 (01242 220006, thewowhousecompany.co.uk)
14 Meadowgate, Welcombe, Devon
Don’t be fooled by the plain white façade of Meadowgate — the house is filled with rustically elegant furniture and carefully chosen art. It’s no surprise to hear that it’s owned by the TV property show presenter Kirstie Allsopp. The kitchen, which has an Aga, has plenty of space for long, lazy breakfasts, and the second dining space is perfect for a New Year’s Eve dinner. Children will like the games room, the second cosy sitting room (designed for them) and the bunk room, with four brightly painted beds.
Details Five nights for 14, arriving on December 30, costs £2,728.80 (01326 555555, classic.co.uk)
15 Saddell House Kintyre, Argyll and Bute
Saddell House is a grand affair; stags’ heads gaze down in the wood-panelled dining room, the seven bedrooms are spacious — if simply furnished — and the house’s location, on the edge of Saddell Bay, is spectacular. This is a house for lovers of the outdoors, of fireworks in the garden at midnight and strolls along the shoreline to see the seals that regularly pop up. If you’re looking for the last word in luxury, this isn’t the place — but for peace, space and beauty it’s hard to beat.
Details Four nights for 13, arriving on December 30, costs £2,309 (01628 825925, landmarktrust.org.uk)
16 The White House in the Cotswolds, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire
If there’s a whiff of designer attitude about the White House, that’s probably because it’s owned by George Davies (of Next, George at Asda and M&S fame). It’s a house to be enjoyed, rather than pose in, however; plumped-up sofas round a roaring log-burner, neat white bedrooms with splashes of colour, and a dining area in the conservatory to bring the outside in. The house sleeps 12 to 14 in six bedrooms plus an attic room.
Details Four nights for 12 to 14, arriving on December 28, costs £3,276 (01237 426777, thebigdomain.com)
17 Home House Croyde, Devon
The untouched dunes behind Croyde Bay are the perfect place to watch the New Year’s Day sun come up, and with a stay at Home House you’re a short walk from the beach. The house sleeps ten in five simple but chic bedrooms. Downstairs stone-flagged floors, exposed beams and brickwork create a cosy feel that perfectly matches the thatched exterior. Children will enjoy the snug, with games console and TV, and there is a separate lounge for older members.
Details A week for ten, arriving on December 30, costs £2,485 (01271 320330, ocean-cottages.com)
18 Lower Standen Farm and Granary Iden Green, Kent
Ideal for a multi-generational family group, Lower Standen is split between the gorgeous, beamed farmhouse, which has five bedrooms, and the smaller, cosy granary, which has three. The farmhouse lounge has a wide inglenook fireplace, perfect for snoozing in front of after a New Year’s Day walk across the High Weald, and if the party spills into the garden there are no neighbours to disturb.
Details A week for 16 from December 30 costs £3,930 (0333 2020899, cottageholidays.co.uk)
19 Silverholme, Graythwaite, Cumbria
A New Year’s Eve dinner at Silverholme comes with a spectacular view; the dining area has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Windermere. A Georgian manor house built of Cotswold stone, the house has a cinema room, a firelit drawing room that oozes elegance, and eight light, airy bedrooms. There’s even an additional bedroom in the separate Coachman’s Cottage.
Details A week for 18 arriving on December 30 costs £8,789 (01244 356695, sykescottages.co.uk)
20 Vallance Lodge, Brighton, East Sussex
A party house in a party town, Vallance is a chic Edwardian house that has been cleverly converted so that the ground floor is one huge, multi-use space, with a dining area, lounge space and central kitchen island. The lodge sleeps 22 — all of whom will fit easily into the ground-floor space — and there’s another lounge space, with three large sofas. There are eight bedrooms, with several triple rooms, and six bathrooms, making it ideal for families holidaying together. The bright lights of Brighton are just a walk from the door.
Details Four nights for 22, arriving on December 30, costs £4,875 (01227 464958, mulberrycottages.com)
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