Paradise rediscovered - England’s Favourite House is revealed

06 April 2011

Eyford, a classical Cotswolds home in idyllic grounds where, legend has it, poet John Milton was inspired to write Paradise Lost, takes the crown as England’s Favourite House, Country Life magazine reveals today (6 April).

Country Life, in association with Savills, launched the award last autumn to find England’s favourite house in celebration of a unique part of English life.  150 nominations were received - highly individual houses of exceptional beauty, importance and history - from across the country, from people who chose houses they knew and loved or had admired from afar as well as from owners themselves, delighted to already be living in their favourite house. Three regional winners have also been chosen. 

The judges, pottery designer Emma Bridgewater; director of OKA and designer Annabel Astor; racehorse trainer and author Charlie Brooks, and Oscar-winning writer and creator of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes, made the final choice and selected Eyford House, Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire, because “it is the quintessential country house for many generations.” Charlie Brooks added: “You have lovely wide corridors and rooms where a million dogs or children can mill around.”

Mark Hedges, the editor of Country Life magazine, said: “The search for England’s favourite house has taken the judges all over the country. Everywhere, they saw houses of the highest quality and charm but, in the end, it came down to the house that they most wanted to live in and that house is Eyford – England’s Favourite House.”

Crispin Holborow, head of Savills country department, who sponsored the award, said: “Eyford is everyone’s dream. Rolling parkland leads to a beautiful but manageable house, updated for family life, and one can easily imagine living there.  The warmth of the stone is so compelling, and the architecture so beguiling.”

Although 20th century in origins, Eyford reflects a classical style, designed by architect Guy Dawber in a late 17th century style, with Baroque details, encompassing Ionic-style columns, a grand staircase and balustraded terraces overlooking formal gardens,  parkland, fields and wooded valleys.

The house is owned by Serena Prest, who was given Eyford by her mother, Charlotte Heber-Percy.  She inherited the house from her father Sir Cyril Kleinwort, who bought the estate in 1972.

Serena Prest, who lives at Eyford with her husband Rupert and three children,  said: “I am absolutely thrilled that Eyford has been named England’s Favourite House.  When I heard the news, I jumped up and down with joy.  I loved to come and stay here with my grandfather....Eyford is not a Chatsworth or a Blenheim – but it’s really alive.  Each day, I pinch myself at how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful, peaceful yet practical house.”

View the East's regional winner
View the South-East regional winner
View the South-West regional winner


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