Country houses for sale

A bright and beautiful country house in Kent with its own cave, and a Monet-inspired bridge

Elmstone Court is a dreamy house for sale just a few miles from Canterbury. Penny Churchill reports.

Squint a little at the bridge at Elmstone Court and it might just look a little familiar: curving its way over the pond, this bridge was apparently inspired by the famed example at Giverny, the French gardens which inspired Claude Monet to create his most famous works. Between that and the house’s own purpose-built cave, it’s fair to say that this is a house for those with a romantic streak. All that’s missing are a few water lilies — but we dare say the local garden centre might be able to supply those.

Ed Church of Strutt & Parker in Canterbury quotes a guide price of £1.95m for elegant, Grade II-listed Elmstone Court, which overlooks unspoilt open countryside on the fringes of the pretty village of Preston — the in Kent, rather than the city in Lancashire. The village is just under three miles from Wingham, on the ancient coastal road to London, and just over 10 miles from Canterbury.

According to its listing, Elmstone Court is a classic four-square Georgian house with a 19th-century front elevation to a slightly earlier core and some late-19th-century alterations.

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It offers 4,152sq ft of light-filled accommodation on three floors, including a reception hall and four reception rooms. Just stepping in is something of an event, with a broad, pretty and bright hallway that — like the rest of the house — is presently furnished by the vendors with great taste.

Among the joys of the place are its conservatory and kitchen/breakfast room.

There are also between six and eight bedrooms, depending on how you choose to configure the space, and three bathrooms.

The house stands in four acres of delightful gardens that include a Monet-style bridge and a Pulham grotto built in 1909.

The latter is a fascinating addition. Pulham caves and grottoes were extremely popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with estates including Sandringham and Waddesdon both including them. The man behind the name was James Pulham, renowned for his work with artificial rock – known as Pulhamite – that his company used to construct impressive, and frequently enormous, rock gardens and ornaments.

There is also a large, brick-built Victorian barn, previously used as a cold store, has potential for a variety of uses, subject to planning.

Elmstone Court is for sale via Strutt & Parker — see more details and pictures.