England's Favourite House 2011

    Kent country home is South-East regional winner of England’s Favourite House

    Groombridge Place, a moated manor house in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, has been chosen as the South East regional winner of England’s Favourite House, Country Life magazine reveals today (6 April).

    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 Groombridge Place as the South East regional winner.  Annabel Astor said: ““From the moment, we turned into a valley of pools, streams and woodlands and drove along the meandering drive to the front of the house, squeezing through grand gates guarding a small bridge over the moat, I fell in love with Groombridge Place...It is a model of perfection.  Its history and beauty are mesmerising, the setting is magical and it is an ideal home for intimate family life.  It’s an oasis for all seasons and future generations.”

    Groombridge Place is a moated manor house built in 1662 by Philip Packer to a design partly owed to Sir Christopher Wren. The house sits in an AONB and is surrounded by 17th-century formal gardens. It has featured several times as a film location, most recently as Longbourn Manor in the Joe Wright adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

    Crispin Holborow, head of Savills country department, who sponsored the award, said: “Groombridge Place is an exquisite example of careful preservation.The buildings have hardly been touched for more than 350 years, apart from some convenience modernisations. The interiors reflect a natural evolution and when looking from the windows of each rooms from each floor and from each side, every aspect offered a glorious view of the landscape and gardens.”