“If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there”. So said Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland, filmed next door to Lancestone House. That may be so, but you’ll be wanting the country lane that winds past the village church, bathed in bucolic Cornish charm and a beautiful prelude to the home’s Gothic magic.
At Lancestone House, sleeping 16 near Cornwall’s Whitsand Bay, you reconnect with family and friends, and with yourself too. Spaces here allow you to come together or slip apart as the mood takes, among the stone-mullioned windows, burning logs, five reception rooms and exposed-stone walls.
Any hours left over can be filled with time on the swings and slides or in the treehouse. Indoors, a chest of toys and games, TV with DVD. Come together, be apart, reunite, celebrate, recall old memories and make new ones on the sunny Cornish coast.
Cornwall provides some sprawling verdure all by itself, winding its way down to sheltered coves and soft beaches. But Lancestone House steals three acres of it and adds a couple of paddocks. Terraces to the side offer dining and sunbathing options and a barbie awaits your surf and turf.
The jewel in the crown here, though, sits shimmering in the summer sunshine. Get your cossies on for the seven-metre-by-three-metre outdoor heated pool, gated for safety and open from June to September. Sun loungers, seating and a crisp Sauvignon complete the picture.
If kids can be parted from the splashfest, there are more goodies in the garden. Explore to find the treehouse, trampoline, swings and slides.
The entrance hall sets the tone, with its original patterned terracotta-tiled floor, extravagant décor and Gothic-arched doorways. The Hogwarts-inspired styling continues into the lounge, where Gothic-style stone mullioned windows mix and match with a window seat, Sky TV and stone fireplace with logs to light.
With six reception rooms, there’s no shortage or spaces to be together or apart. Maybe the best is the drawing room. Packed with original features and squishy sofas, it’s big enough to party or small enough to cosy up for a movie night. Get the logs blazing, pipe some music through the iPod dock and twist the night away.
For those with a need to escape the crowds, the library offers bookworms a panoply of titles and a quiet space to explore them or get stuck into a game of chess. There’s even a desk for catching up with business. Need further escape? Try the sun room or board games in the games room, warmed by another woodburner.
In the grade II-listed, stone-mullion-windowed Lancestone House every meal feels five-star, like dining in the finest Michelin-starred restaurants with only your family and friends as guests. Get up to 20 together in the idiosyncratic Gothic dining room, with its exposed stone wall and roaring fireplace.
The engine room is the giant kitchen, big enough and eccentric enough to feed Harry Potter and all of his chums. It comes fully equipped, with four-oven AGA, electric oven, dishwasher and American fridge/freezer. You’ll get ten around the breakfast table for a full English in front of yet another log burner.
What will you eat? Maybe seafood and fish straight from the boats that land their catch at Plymouth and Looe. Fresh fish come care of RG Seafoods, an ever-present at the Plymouth fish auctions, or raid The Blue Plate deli. Wash it all down with a tasty tipple from Camel Valley Wines.
Eat out at the Carew Arms, home of Fat Duck-trained Emily Watkins, or the walkable Wilcove Inn for drink. Head to Kingsand for The Devonport Inn, for rib-eye steak or locally caught fish. Drive just five minutes to St John Inn, or ten to The View at Whitsand Bay.
Pick from seven sumptuous and slightly eccentric bedrooms and let the rural hush and ocean air drift you into dreamland. It all begins in the master bedroom, a large room with four-poster superking, seating and a vaulted ceiling. Luxuriate in the en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower, bath and twin sinks.
Bedroom two is a double with four-poster superking bed and en-suite bathroom with shower, while bedroom three is great for kids, with two double bunk beds and two truckle beds. Bedroom four is a double or twin with a superking bed. A family bathroom comes with walk-in shower and rolltop bath.
Up on the second floor, bedroom five features glorious views and a double superking bed and single bed with truckle bed. This can be set up with four single beds, if you’re having a kidsfest. Opposite is another luxurious bathroom with vaulted ceiling and rolltop bath.
Take the secondary staircase to the upper ground level from the ground floor by children’s snug to find a family suite with two connecting bedrooms sharing a bathroom. Bedroom six, a double with a kingsize bed, connects to bedroom seven, a children’s room with double bunk bed and truckle bed.