Oliver’s Travels Luxury Family UK Get Away
When we pulled up into the carriage drive of Oliver’s Travels’ stunning Elizabethan Manor, based in East Sussex we instantly regretted not packing several ball gowns and a velvet cape. Part built in the 12th century, this property, with it’s dovecote, leaded glass windows and mellow stone walls looks as though Queen Elizabeth 1st might pop out onto the porch at any given moment. In fact, Queen Elizabeth did stay in this very house in 1591!
Once inside we were still wondering if we’d packed for the wrong century as the house is full of original features and stuffed to the rafters with stunning antiques and objects that are artfully curated to create the most welcoming and tranquil surroundings. Every vantage point is Instagram bait, not least the state of the art kitchen with its huge lead glass windows and grand marble island.
12th Century you say? Stuffed with antiques you say? Surely this place isn’t safe for small children to be let loose? Is this really a great place for a large family gathering? In short, yes!
When we visited the property, we met the owner who told us in no uncertain terms that this was a house to enjoy and that his own family live in the house for part of the year. All their personal possessions are packed away when the house is open to visitors but the antiques stay put and he says he isn’t the least bit precious about them. It’s also worth noting that the owner has a gorgeous dog and welcomes pets in the house.
The house sleeps 14 and every bedroom is gasp-out-loud gorgeous. The squeals of joy echoing through the hallways as guests found their rooms on our trip, cannot be exaggerated. The bathrooms are all heavenly but the star ensuite has to be the glorious brass roll top that looks down into the master bedroom through a reinforced glass floor. The attention to detail in every room is exquisite but nothing feels too stiff and formal and there are several rooms to kick back and relax in, with cosy sofas and beautiful open fires – the huge inglenook fireplace in the largest sitting room is breathtaking.
Once you’ve got over the interiors, a stroll outside into the beautifully designed gardens will give you more to coo over – not least the oldest dovecote in Europe. There are gorgeous seating and dining areas outside and families will love the huge trampoline, outdoor games, tennis courts and swimming pool that are housed away from the more formal gardens in a separate grass area surrounded by trees and stunning views of the countryside.
This house is incredibly special and would be the perfect venue for a gathering of friends and family to celebrate a special occasion, take a lovely break or just because we really haven’t seen enough of each other lately!
Family Friendly Things to Do in the Local Area
If you ever feel the need to leave the house – we would have been happy staying there forever – there are plenty of wonderful places to visit nearby that would be great for bigger and smaller kids.
The Sussex coastline can be reached in less than 40-minutes with the beaches of West Wittering and Bognor Regis ripe for exploring. There are also plenty of exquisite National Trust houses to visit and beautiful villages to discover.
- Goodwood (20 mins) England’s greatest sporting estate is home to three of the biggest sporting events in the world: the Festival of Speed, the Qatar Goodwood Festival and the Goodwood Revival. The festivals are always packed with food stalls and exciting events for kids. Check the schedule for what’s on while you’re in the area. Visit: Goodwood
- Knepp Wildland (15 minutes) Knepp Rewidling Project is a 3,500 acre estate just south of Horsham, West Sussex. Since 2001, the land – once intensively farmed – has been devoted to a pioneering rewilding and the beautiful wildlife that has been allowed to flourish there is fascinating to see. On our walk through the wildland, we saw Deer, kingfishers, owls and storks as well as plenty of other flora and fauna. We were taken on our tour by wildlife photographer and film maker David Plummer who was a fantastic guide.Visit: Knepp
- Fisher’s Farm Park (10 minutes) Family-run, award-winning farm park. Visit: Fishers Farm Park
- South Downs Light Railway (15 minutes) Volunteer run railway, trains will take you on an exciting trip through the gardens. Running from March to September, trains are usually hauled by a real coal burning steam engine. It’s great fun for adults and children alike. Visit: South Downs Railway
- Southwater Country Park (20 minutes) A fantastic day out for all ages, the younger children are bound to enjoy the Dinosaur Island play area, while the older kids can sample water-sports lessons on the lake. Visit: Horsham Southwater Country Park
- Arundel Castle (20 minutes) Not to be confused with the setting for Frozen, this turreted castle is absolutely stunning and the fantastical gardens are a wonder to behold. The local village is full of excellent antique and vintage shops, so if that’s your thing make sure you factor in a lunch for the kids while you have a forage. Visit: Arundel Castle