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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The exclusive British estates where you can now holiday like an aristocrat

“The popularity of wild swimming was a surprise,” says Lady Northampton, who also holds down a job as a psychotherapist. They thought it might interest guests, but it’s been a hit with locals, too; the number of sessions at weekends has just been doubled.

Elveden is another of Britain’s great estates, so large it straddles parts of Norfolk and Suffolk. Its owner, the Earl of Iveagh, has also recently decided to become a hotelier, by adding 16 bedrooms to two of his estate pubs: the Guinness Arms, which has bedrooms referencing famous Guinnesses, from Alec to Lulu, and the Elveden Inn. There’s 22,000 acres to explore, and it’s not unknown for Lord Iveagh to show guests around his home, Elveden Hall.

While Castle Ashby is deeply old money – the mansion dates from 1574 and has been in continuous family ownership ever since – and Elveden has been in the Guinness family for more than 125 years, newer landowners are also embracing hotelkeeping, and not purely for profit. Take Anders and Anne Povlsen, owners of – among other things – Asos, who have created Wildland, in Scotland, and who have brought a Scandinavian sensibility to their two guest­houses. Staying in them isn’t cheap, but they have been created, I suspect, so that guests can develop the same passion that the Povlsens have for creating a sanctuary for endangered Scottish animals and woodland.

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