Tuesday 22 October 2019

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Home > Hartwell House PR by PR

HARTWELL HOUSE Personally Recommended by Pat Richardson

If history turns you on as much as it does me, you’ll find Hartwell electrifying. The excitement mounts as you drive alongside the wall of the 90-acre estate. Then, you’ll turn in through the triumphal arch and, in a heartbeat, be in the past. And what a rich and varied past it is, with so many strands of history stitched into Hartwell’s long story.

You don’t see the house itself at first, you see a little hamlet of estate buildings - the old Rectory, the coach house, the ruined chapel. And beyond, rolling parkland, like a fragment of a Fragonard painting. The road rolls towards it, down a slight hill. At its foot, the house awaits you: its stonework the colour of faded roses; its style echoing both Jacobean and Georgian workmanship; its windows large and handsome; its columned portico inviting you to step inside.

And when you do, it’s into the Jacobean heart of the house, its Great Hall. Splendid as this is, with a marvellous stone mantelpiece, and elaborate plasterwork mouldings adorning the walls and ceiling (all of which render the understated reception desk almost invisible), it’s but a prelude to the opulence of the other public rooms on the ground floor. Your own bedroom will delight you, too – and spending time in any room in this beautiful house is rewarding.

But the outside, too, draws me like a magnet – as I think it will you. The past is no less palpable when you stroll in the grounds, with their many hidden delights – an old statue perhaps, or a shaded pavilion - and their more obvious features, including a gothic tower and a section of the former Kew Bridge, arching elegantly over the lake. There is a timelessness to Hartwell and, if you listen, there are whispers from its past at every turn.

If you come here, you will find it hard to resist coming back...

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