Hetty Chidwick visits the dreamy Dorset countryside and the new private members' club 10 Castle Street.

10 Castle Street:
Described as ‘your personal country estate…with a dash of party.’ The gorgeous Grade II* country house is set in the pretty village of Cranbourne in East Dorset and is an exclusive private members club.

10 castle street

History:
The charming owners, Alexander and Gretchen, used to run The Museum Inn in Farnham—a firm favourite with the country set––and owned the King John Inn in Tollard Royal. They opened 10 Castle Street as an exclusive private members club 20 weeks ago after noticing a gap in the market for somewhere cool and fresh to hang out in the countryside. The house is Grade II* listed and boasts stunning, manicured gardens on different levels. The area was favoured by medieval kings as a hunting ground and is also linked to Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Rooms and areas:
The rather lovely Loggia is an undercover outdoor area with sofas, armchairs and colonial décor, we imagine it works as a smoking area in the evening – there are some serious cigars for sale in the bar.
The Drawing Room is somewhere to relax, read or even do some work.

The member’s only areas are the Eagle bar, the billiard room and the children’s playroom upstairs, and there is a member’s drawing room for added privacy.

10 castle street

Bedrooms:
There are 9 bedrooms in total and most of them overlook the heavenly gardens. Décor is fresh, light and airy with huge beds and the finest linen and particularly lovely dressing gowns. Some rooms have roll top baths and Gretchen sources all the interiors herself—the style is chic country style with an eclectic edge.

Restaurant:
Open to members and non-members there is a cosy restaurant and a wonderfully wallpapered ‘Tasting Room’ where you can see into the kitchen to watch the chefs at work…it is sound proofed, which is wise.

The food is all locally sourced, and they have a kitchen garden for all the veg. We had venison and lamb, both were melt-in-the-mouth and from local estates. The ethos of the chef Simon Trepess is ‘field to plate’ which we highly commend.

Don’t miss the freshly baked bread, the best olives outside Italy, and the chef’s home made mozzarella style cheese with anchovy pesto.

10 castle street

Little Details:

  • Impressive and eclectic art is everywhere—and all for sale—there are some spectacular sculptures in the gardens.
  • The wine list is very well curated by Alexander, who is a wine buff and we drank some perfectly pale rosé on the sunny terrace
  • Non-members can stay—they can become ‘passing members’
  • The service is impeccable, a home-from-home style
  • They have a partnership with The South Kensington Club, which means you can use the other club twice a year.

Good For:

  • Special celebrations
  • Private parties
  • Foodies
  • Alfresco dining
  • Weddings

Pets & children:
Dogs were playing on the lawn, and children were climbing trees or collecting snails—both are welcomed with open arms (not snails)…but not in the main restaurant.

Watch This Space:
They are set to open a spa in 2017 with a gym, studio, pool and treatments rooms all overlooking to pretty kitchen garden—which Gretchen told me would be inspiring the interiors. This will be the icing on the cake, and members will never want to leave. Join now to avoid some serious disappointment.

Prices

  • Country membership (for locals) – £550 per year or £750 for joint membership plus joining fee of £200
  • Town membership – £850 per year or £1,050 for joint membership and £200 joining fee
  • Children’s membership – £100

Rooms from £195 per night including breakfast. Country members receive 15% off and town members 25% off.

For more details visit www.10castlestreet.com