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Lord it up in Buckinghamshire

Deep in the Vale of Aylesbury stands Hartwell House, a restored 17th-century stately home that will allow you your own lord and lady of the manor experience, if but for a weekend. Look past the Jacobean façade and you’ll see that this is no ordinary manor. With quite the chequered past, these walls have played host to the exiled French king Louis XVIII and his court, been the target of a Luddite conspiracy, housed an army billet and a girls’ finishing school, before surviving a fire in 1963. Now in the trusted hands of the National Trust, the building looks set to have a (thankfully) quieter future. Guests arrive via the suitably regal driveway before checking into rooms that might include wood-panelling, fourposter beds and grand freplaces. Set in 90 acres, the 18th-century gardens are full of surprises; walking trails lead across stone bridges, and past temples and a triumphal Roman arch. As summer starts to dwindle, a gentle amble through the gold- and russet-hued avenue of trees is a pleasant precursor to pre-dinner cocktails in the drawing room. To perfect the day, choose from seasonal meals such as Oxfordshire lamb or wood pigeon in the dining room.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - October 2015
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