Inside an ‘aristocratic’ new holiday rental that’s housed INSIDE an 18th-century archway on a sprawling Wiltshire estate
- Jane Knight stays in the renovated gatehouse and arrival arch on Fonthill Estate
- It’s part of the Beckford Arms country inn – the pub is a 20-minute walk away
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Talk about upping the ante. While other pubs with rooms are adding shepherds’ huts, wood cabins and perhaps a treehouse to their offerings, the Beckford Arms has gone all aristocratic with accommodation in a superb stone archway.
The edifice in question is the Grade I listed gatehouse and arrival arch built on Wiltshire’s sprawling Fonthill Estate by William Beckford in 1755.
One half is still occupied, and until recently the other was home to an estate worker.
Now the landlords of the pub just down the road have joined forces with the owner of Fonthill, Lord Margadale, to create a unique place to stay.
Spread over three floors linked by a stone spiral staircase, it can sleep four adults – though two will be turning out their lights in full-size, custom-made bunk beds. Those in the master bedroom a floor below benefit from a capacious bed, a freestanding tub and a view of the estate’s lake.
Ahead of the curve: Jane Knight spends a night inside the gatehouse and arrival arch built on Wiltshire’s sprawling Fonthill Estate by William Beckford in 1755. It’s part of the nearby Beckford Arms inn
Jane describes the archway accommodation as a ‘unique place to stay’. Above is its kitchen
The bedrooms are beautifully designed, as is the ground floor with red-and-white flooring in the kitchen along with an antique dresser and oval window. A cosy sitting room has a granny-chic atmosphere with its wood burner, parquet floor and grandfather clock, all complemented by modern technology – a TV hidden in a cupboard and music courtesy of a bluetooth speaker.
Farrow & Ball’s latest colours offset the swish fabrics and modern art, and there are antiques and knick-knacks wherever you look.
Charlie Luxton, one of the trio of owners and a former operations director at exclusive private members’ club Soho House, confesses: ‘I have a bit of an antiques problem.’
Thoughtful details are scattered throughout – the lobby includes a picnic hamper and wellies, there’s a bulging cupboard of games for nights in and water decanters on the bedside tables. The walk-in pantry is generously stocked, while the fridge is filled with quality farm produce for a breakfast that will set us up for a rousing walk round the estate the next day.
But first to the pub for dinner. Although it’s only a 20-minute walk and a strong torch is provided, it’s along a reasonably busy road, so we jump in the car. Three minutes later we’re in the most convivial of locals, with flagstones and fire, wooden bar and plush seats in window alcoves. The atmosphere is exactly what a country pub should be.
‘The bedrooms are beautifully designed,’ Jane says of the lodge, which sleeps four
The cosy sitting room has a granny-chic atmosphere with its wood burner, parquet floor and grandfather clock, all complemented by modern technology, Jane reveals
Jane has dinner at the Beckford Arms pub, which features flagstones and fire, a wooden bar and plush seats in window alcoves
The dinner menu is short but holds something for us all – tasty pan-fried hake and celeriac puree for my son, comforting macaroni cheese for his girlfriend and delicious spiced falafel and baba ghanoush for me.
Freshly made bread, delicious mushroom soup and fruit crumble with custard complete the picture.
There are eight simple but stylish rooms upstairs and anyone would be lucky to be staying in them.
We, though, have hit the jackpot, returning instead to drink port and play games before bed in our arched accommodation.
The Beckford Arms, Tisbury, Wiltshire. B&B rooms from £115 per night, arch from £295 for four guests (beckfordarms.com).
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