Over in the Cotswolds, the vendors of the Manor House at Lower Oddington, near Stow-on-the-Wold, have ?done wonders? with the house since they bought it through Henry Holland-Hibbert of Lane Fox in the late 1990s, transforming ?a very tired village house? into a Cotswold family home of considerable distinction.

Now the owners plan to move to a larger rural property where they can repeat the process and the Manor House, with its three reception rooms, large central ?orangery?, master and guest suites, four further bedrooms and two further bathrooms, is for sale through Lane Fox (01295 273592) and Knight Frank (01865 790077).

The asking price of £2.5m reflects not only the high standard of interior design, but the property?s prime location close to Oddington?s famous Fox pub, and Lady Bamford?s equally renowned farm shop at nearby Daylesford.

For Simon Backhouse of Strutt & Parker, the sweeping panorama of the unspoilt Alkham valley in deepest east Kent is more reminiscent of Herefordshire than of the ?garden of England?, which in no way detracts from the appeal of elegant Malmains Manor on the outskirts of Alkham village, four miles from Dover. Fresh on the market through his firm?s Canterbury office (01227 451123) at a guide price of £1.1m, Malmains is a handsome, Grade II-listed house whose 16th-century origins are hidden behind a classic Regency façade.

During their relatively short tenure, the current owners have renovated and modernised the house with a good deal of flair, at the same time as respecting the integrity of its historic interior. The accommodation includes an entrance hall, a drawing room with an adjoining conservatory, a dining room, a basement sitting room, a kitchen, a master suite, three further bedrooms and a family bathroom. Amenities include a pretty, brick-and-flint guest cottage, a sauna/jacuzzi room, a swimming pool, a tennis court and a former stable building.

The house sits quietly in its lovely wooded valley, surrounded by 10.5 acres of grounds. To the west of the house, newly established landscaped gardens provide wonderful vistas, leading the eye through symmetrical yew hedges to a folly, and beyond to a lake with an island at its centre.

This article was published in Country Life magazine, January 19, 2005

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