Penny Churchill November 8, 2022
Holyrood House — in Empshott, Hampshire, not to be confused with the palace in Edinburgh — is a delightful house which looks like it’s been there for centuries. Yet it’s just a decade old, as Penny Churchill explains.
When it comes to country houses, appearances can be deceptive, even to the most practised eye. Looking at the elegant gables and mellow, creeper-clad, stone façades of Holyrood House near Empshott Green, four miles from Liss and seven miles from Petersfield, east Hampshire, what do you see? A beautifully restored country house or a former rectory designed by a leading Arts-and-Crafts architect or, given its location within the South Downs National Park, a Lutyens masterpiece with gardens laid out by Gertrude Jekyll?
The answer is neither of the above. Holyrood House — on the market at £6.5m — was, in fact, built from scratch in 2012 by the current owners, one of whom is an accomplished artist, to a design incorporating ‘Arts-and-Crafts detail and proportions, but with a contemporary twist’. Its more than seven acres of glorious gardens were created over the same 10-year period by East Sussex-based designer Jane Brown.
For sale through Savills in Farnham and Knight Frank in Winchester, Holyrood House stands in the lee of Noar Hill, an area of ancient beech woodland that forms part of the heavily protected East Hampshire Hangers Special Area of Conservation.
Built to the most exacting specifications and with great attention to detail, the house offers 7,000sq ft of well-appointed ground-floor reception space, with bedroom accommodation on two floors, as well as an atmospheric media/games room, bar and wine cellar in the basement.
Inside, the scene is set by the spectacular vaulted entrance and staircase halls, off which radiate four individually designed reception rooms — drawing room, dining room, sitting room and study — and a large kitchen/breakfast room with doors leading to the garden.
An impressive staircase leads to the first floor, which houses the principal bedroom suite and three double bedrooms, one with an adjoining bathroom, two with shower rooms; two further double bedrooms, one with a bathroom attached, are located on the second floor.
Lutron lighting, underfloor heating and heating regulators are installed throughout the house and the property also benefits from ground-source heating and fibre internet.
Outside, additional accommodation is available in a charming one-bedroom cottage that boasts a delightful full-height sitting room with a domed ceiling. Nearby, a newly built stone barn has been converted to a coach house that holds a proper artist’s studio, garaging and workshops.
Recommended videos for you Although everything at Holyrood House is undoubtedly new, shades of Jekyll abound in the carefully planned structure of the gardens, where interconnecting paths lead from one pocket to the next, with expansive flowerbeds defining the boundary and character of each space.
A Yorkstone terrace to the north and west of the house provides ample room for entertaining and a cleverly placed ha-ha offers an uninterrupted view across the field — also part of the property — towards the woods and flower meadows of Noar Hill.
Holyrood House is on the market at £6.5m — see more pictures and details.
Credit: Lillicrap Chilcott Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.