Cadhay - a mile from Ottery St Mary - is one of Simon Jenkins' "England's Thousand Best Houses", shortlisted by Country Life for the "finest manor house" award.
It is mostly Tudor, built c1550, with a long gallery added in Elizabeth I's reign.
The lovely sheltered central courtyard, the "Court of the Sovereigns", which is enclosed by the house and overlooked by most rooms, was a Jacobean addition.
Full of character but with modern comfort, Cadhay is beautiful and welcoming.
It is Grade I listed and you can marry here (please ask for details).
Approached along a shady avenue of limes, the whole house is yours, peacefully alone apart from a quiet 'home' farm beyond.
The magnificent 3-acre garden fades via a ha-ha into countryside and has fine trees, fountains and walkways, herbaceous borders, yew hedges, a ½ acre lake (once medieval fishponds, unfenced - children beware) and huge lawns (croquet available).
There is also a walled garden with well-tended allotments and 50 acres of farmland around.Inside, wonderful rooms, fine fireplaces, leaded windows, granite mullions, stucco ceilings, designer curtains, beautiful furniture, paintings.Georgian porch into entrance hall, off which a study (TV/DVD) with comfy seating for 4, and dining room with fireplace (woodburner) and mahogany table/chairs seating 14 (extension to 20).
From the dining room, three interconnecting rooms for sitting in: living hall with 18th century furniture, oak floor (rugs), woodburner, seats for 8, the main curving stairs; library with woodburner, TV/DVD, seats for 8; and drawing room with Georgian panelling, grand piano and seats for 6.
Another small study leads to the flower room and garden beyond.
Doors from the main rooms into the Court of the Sovereigns with huge table/benches for alfresco eating on summer evenings (additional seating and barbecue by west entrance).
Large farmhouse-style kitchen with 4-door AGA, electric range/induction hob, microwave, fridge, table/chairs seating 8; steps down to pantry (freezer, larder fridge); scullery with sink and dishwashers; utility room (washing machine, tumble drier).
Back stairs (fridge under) beside the kitchen.
Downstairs twin bedroom (zip-linkable to 6' double), Haydon, with en suite shower-room (suite).
Upstairs, seven more very good-sized bedrooms, most with lovely garden views.
Whetham - a corner double (handcrafted 5'6" half-tester) with garden view and en suite bathroom (suite plus hand-shower), The 'Whetham Annexe' - a smallish single (optional interconnecting door to Whetham) Single toilet and hand basin available to use at the end of the Long Gallery.
Sugar Plum - a corner double (5' four-poster) with Georgian panelling, window seat and double aspect windows, accessed via The Nursery or the Long Gallery.
The Nursery - with a single bed and interconnecting door to Sugar Plum, with panelling, double aspect windows, window seat and bathroom with free standing bath (standard taps), wash basin and door to separate WC.
Barton - a lovely double-aspect corner room with fine 5' four-poster double.
Bathroom with shower, toilet, basin and bath (with standard taps) Reibey - a double with view to front of the house.
Bathroom suite next door.
Paulet - the master corner bedroom with four-poster double (5'), double aspect windows and en suite bathroom (suite with roll-top bath plus hand-shower, optional door to landing).
On the same floor are the Long Gallery, with a fascinating display of historical items, and the quite magnificent Roof Chamber (one of the marriage rooms) with the arch-braced roof from the original Great Hall and fine oak furniture.
On the top floor are two separate attics, with five smaller bedrooms (sloping ceilings) which are comfy and smart:The East Attic: Peveril - a twin with en-suite bathroom (suite and shower attachment), and Newton - a twin (zip-linkable to 6' double); bathroom (suite plus hand-shower and separate shower) and large anteroom (table tennis)The West Attic: Peere Williams - a double (6' bed) with sitting room (TV) and en suite bathroom (suite, shower over bath plus hand-shower); McClintock - a twin with bathroom (suite with roll-top bath plus hand-shower) next door; Phyllis - a double (5'6) with shower-room (suite)So that's thirteen bedrooms, six bathrooms, two shower rooms, two bathrooms with separate showers, one bathroom with shower in bath, plus three separate loos.
Professional catering available.
Arrival after 6pm from May to September; after 3pm from October to April.
Short breaks for Friday start only.
Damages Deposit £750.
This is a fascinating and friendly home.
Ottery St Mary: small market town (sports centre, tennis, pubs, restaurants, church), amid rolling farmland and beautiful woods beside the River Otter, where Coleridge was born and wrote a sonnet to the river.
Honiton (sports centre/indoor swimming pool), 5 miles.
Exeter, 12 miles; the Coast Path and sea (and golf) at Sidmouth, 5.