Country houses for sale

A home that really takes the biscuit: Inside the McVitie’s mansion

This beautiful mansion in Hertfordshire was once the family home of Britain's great biscuit dynasty.

The McVitie’s digestive has been a British classic for over 100 years (it was first made in 1895) and is still so enduringly popular that 52 McVitie’s chocolate digestives are eaten in Britain every single second.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise to hear that the McVities family was rather well-heeled, and has been for a long, long time. In 1907, Robert McVitie bought himself this beautiful Georgian house in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, shortly before the biscuit company (then known as McVitie & Price) opened a factory in Harlesden (their first outside Scotland).

The mansion he bought was the one you see on this page, Woodcock Hill. It’s a delightful old place that served as the McVitie home until Robert’s death, after which it became a home for Carmelite nuns.

After the Second World War it was divided into three large apartments – one of which takes up the entire ground floor, and is on the market via Fine & Country at £1,750,000.

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At the heart of the apartment is the dining and drawing rooms, separate spaces connected by an archway, and full of period details such as the ornate coving, high ceilings, chandeliers and the open fireplace.

Doors from the drawing room open out onto an original Victorian conservatory whose original mosaic floor is as delightful, and which gives easy access onto the three acres of gardens – a mixture of lawns, formal gardens, a walled flower garden and a small orchard.

The two reception rooms take up most of one side of the apartment – over 50ft – while on the other side of the hallway are a kitchen/breakfast with an Aga and a generously-sized double-aspect study that is 17’x17′.

The bedrooms and two bathrooms – which boast beautiful period fittings – are arranged at the far end of the property, giving a degree of separation between the two parts of the home.

There is further space down below: there is a large cellar with two vaults, one of which is used as a wine cellar while the other is currently fitted out as a gym.There is also a separate wood store with a chute, while there is a further wood shed and a workshop within the grounds.

The ground floor apartment at Woodcock Hill is on the market at £1,750,000 via Fine & Country – see more details and pictures.