Britain’s best country homes! Tatler hands out playful awards to its pick of the finest piles – from the ‘best parties’ at Jemima Khan’s Oxfordshire pad to ‘shiniest silver’ at The Crown’s Belvoir Castle
- Society bible Tatler has revealed the winner of The Country House Awards
- List includes the winners of ‘Best Parties’ and the ‘Best State Dining Room’
- Marquess and Marchioness of Bath won ‘Latest Nights’ for their Longleat soirées
- Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross was named Most Generous Host
Whether you’re born into aristocracy or are just lucky enough to get an invite for the weekend, there is nothing like a stay at a British country home to clear the mind and revive the spirit.
But some stately piles are a cut above the rest, as this list from Tatler proves.
The British society bible has announced the winners of its Country House Awards, which, as the name suggests, recognises the very best country houses in the land in a range of playful categories, from ‘peatiest water’ (Balmoral) to ‘best guest list’ (Badminton House, Gloucestershire).
Among the winners are the Marquess and Marchioness of Bath, who take home the gong for ‘latest nights’ thanks to their famed parties at Longleat, and Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross who beat blue-blooded entrants to be named Most Generous Host.
The full list of winners is published in the February issue of Tatler, out now, but here the magazine shares a selection of the standout winners…
LATEST NIGHTS: Longleat, Wiltshire
Who lives there? The Marquess and Marchioness of Bath
Come to party! Emma Weymouth, Marchioness of Bath (centre, in gold) poses with a group of guests at a birthday party she hosted for her Strictly Come Dancing partner Aljaž Škorjanec last year at her husband’s family seat of Longleat House, in Wiltshire
Late-night dinners: The Marquess and Marchioness of Bath have hosted everyone from Liam Payne to Idris Elba… and the partying goes on into the wee small hours
Country pile: The breathtaking Longleat, set in the Wiltshire countryside
The long halls of Longleat are ideal for parties – no wonder the Marquess and Marchioness of Bath are famed for throwing such epic ones.
Catch Kitty Spencer, Sabrina Elba and Liam Payne at long-table dinners (with foil balloon animals shining above the silver) for grown-ups. The parties Emma throws for her young sons are just as extravagant.
Recent parties include a stunning 30th birthday weekend the Marchioness hosted for her Strictly Come Dancing partner Aljaž Škorjanec.
Visitors are treated to a tour of the nearby safari park, too.
BEST STATE DINING ROOM: Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
Who lives there? The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire
Special occasions only: The red-silk state dining room is rarely used, but when the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire do dinner parties here, it’s quite the spectacle
Refined: The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, who live at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
Steeped in history: Chatsworth House which recently reopened after its biggest restoration project in 200 years has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549
The red-silk state dining room is rarely used, but when the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire do dinner parties here, it’s quite the spectacle.
Even the tablecloth is ironed on the table for dinners with guests such as Erdem, Lord and Lady Edward Manners, and the Devonshires’ daughter-in-law, Laura – the Countess of Burlington.
Chatsworth House which recently reopened after its biggest restoration project in 200 years has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549.
The 10-year long programme, which cost about £32million, saw ‘priceless’ paintings restored, brickwork scrubbed and turrets rebuilt. Dentistry tools were used to scrape out mortar in between huge blocks in the Derbyshire stately home’s walls.
BEST CROQUET LAWN: Woodperry House, Oxfordshire
Who lives there? Rory Fleming
Immaculate: The Duke of Marlborough is among those who can be found on the lawn at Woodperry House, Oxfordshire, pictured, which is owned by Rory Fleming
Banker Rory Fleming’s exquisitely well-kept croquet lawn in Oxfordshire is surrounded by beech and cedar of Lebanon trees (one of them fitted with a tree house).
Orlando Rock, the Duke of Marlborough and Rupert Baring can be found on the lawn, ready to line up their balls and battle it out.
BEST PARTIES: Kiddington, Oxfordshire
Who lives there? Jemima Khan
Celebrity friends: Jemima Khan is known for hosting amazing parties. Pictured, Jemima (far left) with friends including Jeremy Clarkson at a 2016 soirée
Party pad: Jemima Khan’s soirées at Kiddington, her house in Oxfordshire, are legendary
Jemima Khan’s soirées at her house in Oxfordshire are legendary. Cocktails flow as freely from the enormous bar as the guests (Jeremy Clarkson, Mick Jagger, Gillian Anderson) flow between rooms, burgers in hand.
SHINIEST SILVER: BELVOIR CASTLE, LEICESTERSHIRE
Who lives there? Duke and Duchess of Rutland
Gilded: The stunning dining room at Belvoir Castle, which won shiniest silver
Ladies of the house: The Duchess of Rutland (right) lives at the Leicestershire property with her estranged husband. Her daughters are currently at home, too (pictured, Violet and Eliza)
Glittering: Belvoir Castle is full of candelabras and ancestral centrepieces that catch the light
The table in the gilded dining room groans with candelabras and ancestral centrepieces. Equally glittering gathered around it are Archie Manners, Rose Macdonald Buchanan, Eleanor Harmsworth and Domenica Marland.
The property, in Leicestershire, is famous as one of the filming locations for Netflix’s The Crown.
BEST GUEST LIST: Badminton, Gloucestershire
Who lives there? Duke and Duchess of Beaufort
‘Finest invitation in the kingdom’: Is to be found at Badminton House, in Gloucester
Consummate hostess: The Duchess of Beaufort with her husband, the Duke of Beaufort
It’s the finest invitation in the kingdom: dinner with the Beauforts in Gloucestershire.
The duchess is the consummate hostess. Stay on afterwards for dancing in the library, when the duke’s brother Lord Johnson Somerset takes to the decks.
MOST GENEROUS HOST: David Ross at Westerdale and Nevill Holt
Host with the most: David Ross treats guests like kings and queens at Nevill Holt (pictured)
New money: David Ross (pictured with his ex-Saffron Aldridge) beat out blue-blooded rivals
Whether you’re at Westerdale in Yorkshire (supremely well-appointed bedrooms with views over the moors) or at Nevill Holt in Leicestershire (where the glorious garden opera takes place in summer), you’ll find both houses abuzz with young and old: Freddie and Petrina Hesketh, Hum Fleming, Ella Ross and the Marquess of Granby, Alan Duncan and James Dunseath all know that this is an invitation you don’t turn down.
BEST FOR BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS: Fairgreen House, Oxfordshire
Who lives there? Annabel Brooks and James Dearden
Understated: Fairgreen House, Oxfordshire, is home to Annabel Brooks and James Dearden
Lady of the house: Annabel Brooks, pictured, likes to be surrounded by lively guests
Annabel Brooks and James Dearden draw a dazzling collection of young guests to Chipping Norton: at Sunday lunch, expect to find Lara Dearden, Lady Lola Crichton-Stuart, Raff Law, Bella Broekman-Tilbury, Alexa Chung and Orson Fry.
BEST PARTY BARN: Churchill Heath Farm
Who lives there? Alex and Claire James
They came to party! Revellers at Feastival, which is held at Alex James’s Oxfordshire farm
DJ at home: Alex James performs at his Cotswolds home, where stars come to party
Alice Temperley, Charlotte Tilbury, Keith Tyson and Elisabeth Murdoch descend on Alex and Claire James’s Cotswolds house for the ultimate barn parties: Alex’s son Geronimo DJs from the sound room, while the smell of sizzling steaks floats up from the kitchen.
Other notable mentions
PEATIEST WATER: Balmoral
Who lives there? The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh
The jewels come in every colour, but the water in just one: brown.
PLEASURE ISLAND AWARD: The Mill House
Who lives there? George and Amal Clooney
George and Amal Clooney’s 17th-century home is on an island in the Thames. The highlight of any stay is a trip in their motorboat, with George at the wheel.
See the full awards in the February issue of Tatler available via newsstands and digital download now.
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