Staycations have been all the rage since the pandemic struck two years ago. And while overseas holidays are back on the cards, many travellers are looking to spend the summer on home soil, especially given the recent airline fiasco of cancelled and delayed flights.
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Alongside its neighbour Cornwall, Devon remains one of the most popular English counties to visit and those looking for a spectacular holiday getaway need look no further than West House, as seen on Unique Holiday Stays.
The Grade II-listed property is the perfect rural bolthole to pick for a family or a group of friends wishing to explore the Jurassic Coast – a World Heritage Site that stretches from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset.
West House is located on the exclusive Rousdon estate
Sleeping up to eight guests and accommodating well-behaved dogs, the grand home is located on the exclusive Rousdon estate. Driving past the 'private property' sign and meandering down the long, scenic driveway flanked by cattle in fields, you immediately feel like you're part of a privileged club.
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The kitchen features a beautiful island and a toasty Aga
West House makes up the west wing of the estate's mansion. From the late 1930s to 1999, the property was home to Allhallows boys school (later Allhallows College), before being returned to its residential status. Its heritage just gives you an idea of the ornate and historical edifice you can expect.
Inside, the holiday rental has been beautifully furnished and decorated to make for a comfortable, modern stay. The seaside-themed kitchen, which features lobster artwork, octopus-shaped candlesticks and marine-printed mugs, is centred around a large island and a toasty Aga and is undeniably the heart of the house. Everything you could possibly want in a kitchen is provided for and there is beautiful serving ware to plate up your homemade meals.
The living room has an imposing Greco Roman fireplace
Plenty of natural light floods through the stained glass windows and when you aren't gathered around the kitchen island chatting over a cup of tea or sitting down at the familial dining table, you can perch on the built-in benches with views overlooking the courtyard.
On the same floor is the strikingly decorated living room, which immediately catches the eye with its high and ornately furnished ceilings, its teal and cobalt blue velvet sofas, and its imposing Greco Roman fireplace that is pillared either side with Triton god of the sea, reminding guests of their proximity to the water. Not to mention the old fashion wooden globe and the piano waiting to be played in the corner of the room.
It's a wonderful and sociable set-up for having a pre or post-dinner drink, or gathering around the TV for film night. We imagine in colder months snuggling up in front of the fireplace and throwing logs into the stylish log burner.
The master king room has a four-poster bed
As for the bedrooms, they are just as beautifully finished and unmistakably Victorian. There's no chance of drawing the short straw as all the rooms are generously proportioned, even the double room and the twin room. The master king room on the second floor features a four-poster bed, a comfy sofa and two large wardrobes, and is playfully decorated with pineapple paraphernalia.
Guests can also make use of the spacious bathroom that has a free-standing bath and double vanity sinks. Across the landing is the second king room, which has an en-suite with luxurious toiletries.
All rooms are generously proportioned
The whole house is an interior designer's dream, with tasteful wallpaper, thick draped curtains, hanging glass chandeliers, and an abundance of natural daylight.
The twin room at the top of the house is made up for children and decked out with Tintin artwork. The sloping roof and wooden beams add to the charm, but practicality has also been thought of with one corner of the room discreetly housing a baby cot behind a curtain that you simply pull across. There's also a sofa and a spacious play area for little ones to amuse themselves in.
The double room is also found on the same floor and while being the smallest of all four bedrooms, it's still just as charming with period features including a fireplace and a sweet alcove.
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A baby's cot is tucked away behind the curtain in the twin room
What the property lacks is private outdoor space, such as a garden or patio to enjoy alfresco meals in the summer. But in spite of this, it won't take away from the enjoyment of staying at West House, especially when there are expansive grounds to explore on the whole of the Rousdon estate.
One unique selling point of the property is also undoubtedly the private beach, Charton Bay, which is a 45-minute walk away down a forestry track and a coastal footpath. It isn't the most accessible and part of the walk isn't suitable for children under five, but it is well worth the mini trek to. You'll be rewarded with a magical, empty pebble beach that is so serene and peaceful, and an idyllic spot to while away an afternoon with a picnic and a sunbathe.
The property comes with its own private beach, Charton Bay
But if the challenge is too much, the ever-popular Lyme Regis is just a ten-minute drive away and offers plenty of dining options right on the beach. Durdle Door, one of the must-see sights of the Jurassic Coast, is a bit further away and takes roughly an hour to drive to, but a visit there coupled with a stop in quaint Lulworth Cove makes for a quintessentially British summer's day out.
To book this property, visit uniqueholidaystays.co.uk/properties/west-house. Rates start from £1,465 for 3 nights.