Heart, soul and a heated pool

Numbers give the game away at Summerfield Court in leafy Surrey. Like parking for 30, five fridges and just 40 minutes from London. But there’s heart and soul in its Elizabethan splendour, and lots of fun. Dive into the pool, knock a ball around the tennis court, sizzle in the sauna and set up camp in the herbaceous, outrageous garden.

Playful period dramas this way

Summerfield Court has a name that is no reference to the facilities, though you’re unlikely to complain – not least about the scale. The numbers give the game away. Let’s start with parking for 30. Then there are the five fridges, the 18 acres of garden and the 18 you can get for dinner around the terrace table. And it’s all just 40 minutes from London.

But an Elizabethan manor house in rural Surrey shouldn’t be reduced to mere maths. This is a building with heart and soul, a playful period drama ready and willing to go out of its way to make your next family event or party occasion a show-stopping, barnstorming success. It’s a 20-seater, 15th-century stunner packed with pleasure.

The fun bits just keep on coming here. After breakfast on the terrace, you’ll want a dip in the heated outdoor pool. Then a set of tennis on the all-weather court while the kids hit the treehouse? How very English. Then a spell in the sauna? Why not? Next, it’s off to the games room in the barn for table football and pinball.

In between all that, you’ll want to dine beneath the chandelier, get the open fires roaring, stream the BT Infinity, and probably live outdoors. The garden’s outrageous and herbaceous, packed with mature oaks and lawns flanked by lavender, leading to paddocks and an orchard of apple, pear, plum and mulberry. How agreeable.

Gardens and grounds

Some of the top comforts here are outside the property. This is an English gem of a garden, ripe for hosting the vicar’s tea party. Around 18 acres include a sunken terrace and large mature oaks. Extensive lawns flanked by borders of roses, hydrangeas and grasses lead to the lake and paddocks. Where else?

Wander the kitchen garden, well-stocked with asparagus, raspberries, lettuce and potatoes, and the orchard, complete with apple, pear, plum and mulberry, then it’s on to the main events. A dip in the outdoor swimming pool, heated to 27 degrees, a thrash around on the tennis court, and a sizzle in the sauna.

The red-brick terrace is ripe and ready for dinner and drinks amid the aroma of lavender. Stick around to light the firepit and chew the fat awhile. And restless kids can climb the treehouse, scale the suspended nets and watch hours vanish on the tree swings. And not a screen in sight.

Living spacesLiving spacesLiving spacesLiving spaces

Living spaces

Pick from spaces that allow you to be as shy or sociable as the mood takes. For get-togethers, movies and matches, the living room comes with squishy sofas and a 55” TV. Pick from full Sky package, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Stream and surf on the BT Infinity WiFi.

For alternative viewing, there’s a 60” TV in the games room with full Sky, Netflix and Amazon. Did we say games room? Oh yes. Head to the barn, grab a drink from the bar and enjoy table football and pinball. Or just escape with a book to the bench seating. Not quiet enough? Try the sun room for a chat or a chapter or two.

Sing along on the Bluetooth, load up a DVD and catch a movie, chuck some more logs on the fire and stay up late putting the world to rights, bingeing a box set or just asking Who Am I? Don’t forget your Post-it Notes. Amid the Elizabethan splendour, living spaces here are flamboyant, flexible and lots of fun.

Cooking and dining

At breakfast, enjoy light bites in the sun room amid the oak beams and the stone floor, with the sunlight streaming in from the garden. Then get everyone together around the old yew dining table beneath the beams and the chandelier for dinner. Just add meat from Godstone Farm Shop and a drop of grape from Secret Cellar.

Pile the five fridges – yes, five – high and cook on the double gas and fan oven with seven burners. Or don’t cook at all. Call up our professional chefs for a one-off celebration or fully catered break. On sunny summer days, load up on kebabs and pork skewers and get the gas barbecue going. There’s room for 18 to eat on the terrace.

Tuck into takeaways from Thai Pad, Brisk Burger and Cucina Italiana. Or pop out to local pubs. The Red Barn’s an airy gastropub offering seasonal produce in a 300-year old converted barn with beams, woodburner and armchairs. Or enjoy crispy roast duck leg or chicken, leek and ham-hock pie at The Carpenter’s Arms.

Head out to restaurants such as The Old Bank in Westerham for Cornish lobster and salmon raviolo or long-legged partridge, or Gurkha Kitchen for Nepalese nosh, including lekali chicken and mayalu lamb. Come back to Europe for spaghetti pomodoro or stone-baked calabrese at Cucina Italiana.


Bedrooms here are so stylish, you’ll want to nap during the day just to get the full beam-laden, chandelier-hung, Elizabethan effect. Summerfield Court sleeps 20 guests in ten bedrooms.

Each room here sleeps two. Bedroom one to six offer kingsize beds, with bedroom one and two providing plush en-suites. Bedrooms seven to ten are doubles. Bedroom three comes with a private bathroom and the remaining bedrooms share six private bathrooms.

Children welcome

To compete with computer games, holidays have to be pretty special these days for kids. Fortunately, Summerfield Court takes the fun up to level 11. It’s a huge, happy place of 8000 square feet plus 18 acres of lawn and land that offers potential for never-ending hide-and-seek.

First up, which child doesn’t love swimming on holiday? Pack your cossies cos the heated outdoor pool here is 12.5 metres long and desperate to host that game of water polo. If you didn’t win that, you can get your bragging rights on the floodlit all-weather tennis court. Burn more energy in the treehouse with climbing ropes and swings.

Anything left in the tank? It’s back over to the barn by the pool for a little competitive table football or pinball in the games room. You’ll also find a 60” TV in there with full Sky package, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Need to supervise the kids? You’ve got a bar in there, too. Just don’t overdo it…

Quieter types might enjoy raiding the library shelves in the living room and escaping to the sun room to sneak in a few chapters. Join the throng later for movies and matches on the 55” living-room TV with full Sky, Amazon and Netflix. And forget bedtime: you’ve got memories to make around the garden firepit. It’s a tough schedule.

Kids enjoying the swimming pool. Kids enjoying the swimming pool. Kids enjoying the swimming pool. Kids enjoying the swimming pool.
What people say

What people say

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What a wonderful house for a large family celebration! We have had the most amazing time enjoying the pool, playing games of tennis and relaxing in the beautiful gardens. We will most definitely be back! - Diane
What a wonderful, beautiful house! We are a large family - with kids at all stages of life - older teens, 8 - 11, and babies/toddlers - and they all loved the house and grounds. They especially loved visiting the horses! The owner was really helpful and responded very quickly to queries and questions. - Helen
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Nightlife and wildlife

Forty minutes from London means 40 minutes from the Eye, the Palace and the theatrical wonders of the West End. Locally, shoot clay, play golf, or fish for trout at Coltsford Mill. Kids can meet water vole and weasels at the British Wildlife Centre, feed the animals at Godstone Farm, or enjoy theme-park thrills at Thorpe Park.