In an exclusive interview and photoshoot with HELLO! magazine back in March 2019, Sarah Beeny revealed that she quit London and moved to the Somerset countryside. Ahead of her new show, Sarah Beeny's New Life in the Country, meet her family here...
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Opening the doors to her seven-bedroom home, in which she lives with husband Graham Swift and their four sons, Sarah told the magazine: "I always said I would never sell this house – it represents my sons' childhood and we all have such magical memories here. But it's the right time. Graham's always wanted to move out of London and we've always harboured dreams of giving the boys that Swallows and Amazons childhood idyll. Children grow up too quickly in London. We just want them to be children as long as they can."
Sarah Beeny and her family are moving away from London
The family moved to the 220-acre sheep farm in Somerset after buying the property in August 2018, but Sarah has been commuting to London for work and has been reluctant to let go of the home they moved into on their eldest son Billy’s first birthday.
Billy, now 15, was then joined by younger brothers Charlie, 14, Raffy, 11, and ten-year-old Laurie. "In summer, there would be 12 toddlers out there playing in the paddling pool," Sarah told us, gesturing outside to the expanse of lawn surrounded by bushy shrubs. "I could spend time with them and still be up in Oxford Street for work in 25 minutes. "This house has been the beating heart of our extended family and I even imagined having our grandchildren here."
Sarah shares four sons with her husband Graham
Their home started out as a two-up, two-down gardener's cottage serving a larger house that has long since been demolished. "We bought it for its extraordinary garden and, as the family grew, we extended," said Sarah. "We did three building projects in all – a kitchen, bedrooms and then we dug out an enormous basement with a games room and two guest en-suite bedrooms." The turning point came last year, when Sarah started to question whether her boys were getting the right education for their needs.
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"My eldest had moved to senior school and was doing well, but I felt there was too much emphasis on the academic side," she said. "I'm married to an artist and I am not an academic myself, so genetically my children are more likely to be creative. I wanted that side to be nurtured." All four boys are now attending a school near Glastonbury.
Sarah revealed her sons drive their Land Rover around the land
"They're thriving," said Sarah. "Within the first three weeks, the eldest two had main parts in the school play and my eldest had won junior musician of the year. "I didn’t think they were unhappy at their old schools, but neither did I realise how much happier they could be."
Ask the boys what they love best about their new life and the response in unanimous. "We can drive the car," said promising young actor Charlie, who has appeared in Doc Martin with Martin Clunes. "It's their idea of heaven," said Sarah. "They drive our Land Rover Discovery around the fields. They won’t have a problem when it comes to passing their driving test. "They are just so free," she adds. "We have a river and are about to dig a lake so they can swim in it.
Sarah Beeny and her husband moved out of London to the countryside
"The new show is all about making the most of the available space," she said. "We didn't move rather than build a new extension, we've moved because we wanted a whole new way of life. I would have been depressed about closing down this house if there wasn’t a new door opening," she continued, surveying her formal sitting room. "But it feels like a new exciting chapter is beginning."
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