The former Hampshire home of legendary judge Lord Denning, Chalkstream House is guilty only of being lavish, lovely and laden with fun. It’s also ripe for a little gindulgence, with the Bombay Sapphire Distillery down the road taking tours and masterclasses. Sip and mix then come home to roaring fires, hearty laughter and beds for 16.
Outside, you’ve 20 acres of some of England’s finest greenery, and a river runs right through it. Bring your licence and fish the River Test. Stay out there to try out your croquet skills, ride the zip wire, cook supper on the coal barbecue, and wrap up in throws and watch the stars from the happy warmth of the firepit.
Chalkstream House is perfect for friends, family, hens, birthdays with a big zero, anniversaries with a big bang, and corporate entertaining. It’s an English country house embedded in the River Test’s verdant valley, an area of chalk hills, valleys and pastureland. Walk, cycle, run, relax, and reconnect with the folks who matter.
Star of the show here is the River Test, winding its way through the Test Valley and Lord Denning’s former garden. Bring your licence and fish for trout in the pure chalky waters. Or bring your competitive spirit and crush everyone at croquet.
You’ve two acres here of some of the finest landscaping in England and the kids will get a great view of it from the zip wire. Refuel over the coal barbecue with seating on the terrace for 20. Then stay out there for evening entertainment around the firepit with the stars twinkling above.
If it’s good enough for Lord Denning and one of the UK’s finest legal minds, you should be okay with things. As befits the crib of the Master of the Rolls, fixtures and fittings here are classy and contemporary, yet loaded with traditional swag and plenty of swish. And it all comes with a very warm welcome, around the three logburners.
Indoor fun and frolics here come in the reception rooms: one for entertaining, one for escaping, and one for reading and working amid a fully stocked library. Settle back in front of the two flatscreen TVs for soaps, sports and sitcoms. Or get your revenge for the croquet battering on the Wii U.
Kids can delve into the toys, books, board games and DVDs, grown-ups can organise a singalong around the piano, and everyone can keep in touch on the EE superfast Wi-Fi. Chalkstream House is big, beautiful and abundant. It’s a cosy, comfortable chunk of a place designed to help you relax, rejuvenate and reconnect.
You can fish for your supper in the River Test that flows majestically through the grounds, offering some of the finest trout fishing in the world. Cook it on the Everhot, or be cooked for (ask us), add a little lemon-butter and asparagus, and wash it down with wine from Caviste.
There’s room for 14 around the dining table, or 20 out on the terrace in the summer sunshine. Throw your trout or steaks on the coal barbecue while the kids go wild on the zip line. Finish off with coffee from the cafetiere and maybe a cheeky gin and a grin from the nearby Bombay Sapphire Distillery.
Head to the Watership Down Inn at the foot of the North Wessex Downs, not for rabbit but for venison haunch steak or ratatouille gnocchi. Try the Bourne Valley Inn for freshwater fish from local lakes and rivers bursting with trout. Or family-friendly The King’s Arms for stone-baked pizza or pulled-pork ciabatta.
Dine out in style on the heated terrace at Alfred’s Restaurant at The Winchester on modern European dishes. Or treat yourself at The Vineyard at Stockcross, a temple to Californian wine with a cellar bursting with 30,000 bottles. Stick around for the spa and the rather special menus.
Sleeping 12 adults and four children in seven lovely bedrooms, Chalkstream House sits cushioned by two acres of landscaped beauty, with just the snuffle of a fox or the hoot of an owl between you and your slumber.
The first master (yes, you’ve got two) sleeps four in a superking with an extendable single, making for a great en-suite family room. Bedroom two is a double, while bedroom three, the Driveway Corner Room, offers a kingsize. Bedroom four, Lilac, is another kingsize.
Bedroom five, the second master, sleeps three in a kingsize and single, while the Blue Room is a double and Yellow is a great kids’ room with two singles and a cot. You’ve three shared bathrooms.
Kids here can go free-range, but watch that river. Maybe plan a picnic and act as trout-spotter generals for anyone with a fishing licence. Stay outside to crush the oldies on the croquet lawn, ride the zip wire, and down your supper around the coal barbecue. As darkness drops, wrap up in throws and lap up the warmth of the firepit.
Inside, a house worthy of the Master of the Rolls (ask your parents) is big enough for games of hide and seek with no obvious end. And a massive library should yield enough books for harmony to reign. But if the lure of screen time is too strong, you’ve a Wii U and all the time in the world.
Get together with the folks to burn a few logs in front of family flicks or footy on the 55” and 42” smart TVs. Bring your passwords and stream Netflix or Amazon Prime Video over the superfast EE broadband or just dig through the DVDs. Tinker with the toys. Have a sing-song around the old Joanna.