Travel & Life Digest

Old World Charm - Ston Easton Park, Somerset

We drove through the black iron gates and down the long drive at Ston Easton Park , on a Saturday afternoon, in July.
You get an idea of what's coming next - a country manor. Although at first you can't help being impressed by the beautiful manor house, it soon starts feeling like a home.
A grand, yet, welcoming home.
That's exactly what we needed at that point, after our slightly turbulent night in the Wiltshire countryside. This was a last minute booking, in an attempt to rescue our weekend.

When you walk through the front door, the reception is tucked away and straight on, through a set of double doors is the old Ballroom, which is now a comfortable sitting room overlooking the river and the perfectly green gardens. There is no rush around the property at any time. We were left to explore and use the rooms as we pleased. To our amazement, our own sitting room led to the yellow formal dinning room - that made me feel a bit like a guest at the Downton Abbey set. Late in the evening, after dinner, we took our drinks and sunk in the art deco armchairs of our little sitting area, under the soft light of an elegant table lamp, chatting and catching up on life. Our sitting room was the old pharmacy and our bedroom was the - now covered - plunge pool.

Ston Easton Manor
A window seat in the old Ballroom
...I'm happy!
The yellow dinning room

Most of the guests that come to Ston Easton seem to take it as easy as we did - they stay in for the evening, enjoying dinner and drinks around the house. (check availability)
Hence, we ended up chatting to a few of them, throughout our stay. They all reflected our own thoughts, 'the place could do with a lick of paint and a bit of tidying up'. That's the business spirit in all of us. In reality, what makes Ston Easton so homely, are the little rough-around-the-edges details. The chipping honey coloured façade, the little hallways and passages left open for all to explore and Oscar - the house Cocker Spaniel - who was wondering around the dinning room during dinner. He joined us in the old Ballroom for after-dinner drinks. He jumped on the couch next to me and joined in the conversation. Poor thing was suffering from hayfever, who would have thought? This was his home and he made us feel welcomed in it.

When we arrived earlier in the afternoon and fancied a coffee and something sweet, the gracious staff said 'let us see what we can do'. Although it was past tea time we got some of the afternoon tea leftover cakes - leftovers being perfectly cubic cream cakes stacked with strawberries, mini lemon tarts with meringue and pistachio cakes. We were grateful!
At dinner, the chefs were trying a new menu and asked for our honest opinion, we suggested that maybe a few simple dishes done right would work better. They were gracious enough to offer us free drinks. Food aside, the friendly service and the experience of getting dressed up and going to dinner, really felt like a stay in a friend's country house. 

Now listen to this - our room was the reason the house was not demolished a few years ago, to make way for the local A road. Remember - our room was the plunge pool. The clever owner, at the time, managed to have awarded as 'listed', hence the house would not be demolished and continued its life as a stately manor.  

Georgian symmetry
Our room - the old plunge pool
The Ballroom, now used as sitting room

Last and certainly not least - the gardens. They spread around the estate on various levels. There is a raised flowerbed overlooking the river that passes through the grounds, there is a whole slope covered in manicured grass with a romantic swing hanging from an old tree and there is even a perfectly symmetrical rose garden.
Willow trees spill over the river and little stone bridges connect the two sides.
Past the rose garden, there is a kitchen garden and nested at the back, there is a white Victorian-looking greenhouse, where quite frankly, I'd gladly organise a supper club with whimsical lights and live jazz - call me!

Favourite time of the day, chatting to my husband about life, over a Martini and a Malbec.

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