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May 12, 2024updated 15 May 2024 10:59am

To the manor born: 7 best stately homes to hire this summer

Play lord and lady of the manor this summer in grand stately homes as titled owners throw open their doors to paying overnight guests

By Suzanne Elliott

It is a privilege to own a stately home, these landed estates that offer a select few owners the prestige of living in one of the grandest properties in Britain. Yet the reality of running these historic piles is not without its costs, forcing families to find new income streams to support their rising maintenance bills.

As well as running wedding venues, on-site restaurants and one-off events, titled stately homeowners are increasingly throwing open their doors to overnight guests wishing to experience the luxurious lifestyle of a lord or lady.

[See also: Best country property specialists 2024]

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Holidaymakers with a taste for the finer things in life – or ultra-high-net-worths aspiring to own such an opulent address – are able to rent turrets, lodges or even entire estates. Among the most recent additions to this illustrious list of stately homes to hire is Mapperton House, the family seat of the Earl of Sandwich, which is in the custody of Viscount and Viscountess Hinchingbrooke.

Best stately homes to hire

Frampton Court, Gloucestershire

The ancestral home of the Clifford Family on the banks of the River Severn on the edge of the Cotswolds is now available to book as a picture-perfect holiday retreat, suitable for up to 14.

The Georgian mansion house dates back until the 1730s and was lived in by generations of the Clifford family. It is still a working family estate, and Rollo Clifford, the present owner of Frampton Court Estate, lives with his wife Janie at the Manor, a once-tenanted farmhouse on the land. The Cyder House, a former farmhouse, and the fanciful Orangery are also available to book.

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Athelhampton, Dorset

Mentioned in the Domesday Book, the Grade I Athelhampton has been continually lived in since Saxon times. The current house was largely constructed in the Tudor period, with the Great Hall built by Sir William Martyn in 1485. More recently Athelhampton has become the blueprint for sustainable heritage architecture after a two-year transformation by SPASE architects.

[See also: Art Deco hotel loved by le beau monde to reopen as £300 million super-prime residences]

The private Cochrane Wing, the mansion’s north wing, is available for holiday lets for groups of up to eight people. Guests can arrange a guided tour of the main house, now lived in by economist Giles Keating who bought the property in 2019, becoming the home’s 10th owner.

Mapperton House, Dorset

Viscount and Viscountess Hinchingbrooke are welcoming overnight guests to their home, dubbed by some as ‘the nation’s finest manor’. Available for private hire, for a limited number of weeks per year, the family seat of the Earl of Sandwich has been well preserved and meticulously maintained.

[See also: Best landed estate lawyers 2024]

Guests will have exclusive access to the house and can take advantage of its elegant drawing rooms, grand dining halls, and nine bedrooms (many with newly appointed bathrooms). Guests are also invited to enjoy the beautiful gardens and dive into a natural swimming pool.

Acton Scott Hall, Shropshire

Set in the Shropshire hills with views over Wenlock Edge, this Grade II* Elizabethan manor house has been in the Acton family for 900 years. The family have worked extensively on restoring the estate and now invite guests for bed and breakfast stays.

Visitors can expect a warm welcome from hosts Francis and Alison Acton who personally greet guests and may even entertain them with Victorian games in the evening. Guests are invited to stroll the extensive grounds and take in the surrounding views from the summer house.

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Undoubtedly among the best stately homes to hire is Blenheim Palace; a byword for regal grandeur. Now a world heritage site, the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough has remained in the Churchill family for generations and is famously the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

[See also: Best country property specialists 2024]

The family has shared the grounds and house with day visitors for years, but now welcome overnight guests to the estate. Guests can stay in luxurious lodge retreats on the grounds, a short walk from the palace, while in the house itself, there are a range of spaces suitable for meetings, corporate events, product launches, presentations and company away days.

Carlton Towers, Yorkshire

This Gothic 17th-century private stately home is still lived in by owners Lord and Lady Fitzalan-Howard and their dogs: Fonz and Ronnie. The dramatic Victorian-style house, set in 250 acres of picturesque parkland, is open to guests for a limited number of nights throughout the year.

The 16 bedrooms, named after family ancestors, have been individually designed and furnished by Lady Fitzalan Howard. Guests are invited to stay in two of the wings, including the clock tower. The main house is also perfect for exclusive events and weddings.

Kinnaird Castle, Brechin, Angus

Home to the Carnegie family, the Earls of Southesk, for more than 600 years this magnificent castle with royal connections lies between the Angus glens and the coast in 800 acres of parkland. Guests have the opportunity to stay in former family rooms in three adjoining apartments each with views across the park and decorated in period furnishings.

The apartments accommodate from 2 to 16 people, and are available to let all year round – and dogs are welcome.

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