Country houses for sale

Beautiful views? Mod cons? Close to good schools? A trio of beautiful Norfolk homes up for sale which cover all the bases

Penny Churchill looks at Larkfields, the Manor House at Oulton and Gurneys Manor at Hingham.

When buying a country house — or indeed any house — a question of priorities comes into play. And three properties have come to the market in Norfolk in recent days which demonstrate this beautifully.

The first is in the coastal village of Blakeney, which lies within the North Norfolk Heritage Coast, five miles north-west of Holt and 13 miles west of Cromer. What was once a thriving commercial seaport has silted up, but small boats can still make their way past Blakeney Point to the sea — and it’s against this background that Strutt & Parker are handling the sale, at a guide price of £4.5m, of Larkfields.

It’s a house for someone who wants the pleasure of a country house without the ageing fabric of a centuries-old home to worry about. This striking New England-style coast house is inspired by houses in Cape Cod and the Hamptons, with New England’s renowned Polhemus Savery Dasilva an inspiration for local architects SMG of Sheringham and Norwich.

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Located off the Morston road on the western edge of Blakeney, Larkfields stands at the end of a tree-lined drive within 10 acres of professionally laid-out gardens, wildflower meadows and two hedged paddocks that drop down to the coastal path, from which the house can’t be seen. In a quiet channel close to the property is a recently built pontoon, used for launching a tender or small boat. The result, say the agents, is a beautiful house with panoramic views over the saltmarshes, Blakeney, the Point and the sea beyond.

The interior of the house is typically New England in style, with almost 5,000sq ft of flexible living space on two floors. There are three first-floor bedrooms, including the principal bedroom suite, which enjoys sublime coastal views. Located on the ground floor are the reception hall, drawing room, a kitchen/dining room by Bryan Turner, family room/fourth bedroom, various utilities, a large covered terrace, stores and plant rooms.

Outside are a heated swimming pool and an all-weather tennis court. A courtyard on the south side of the house is currently arranged as four garages—some or all of this block could be converted to additional accommodation if required.

Not everybody is happy to be quite so remote, of course, and for buyers seeking a good family house in a quiet location within reach of leading Norfolk schools such as Gresham’s in Holt, the various independent schools in Norwich or Wymondham College in Wymondham, Strutt & Parker are selling two charming manor houses. The Manor House at Oulton, eight miles from Holt and 13 north of Norwich, is for sale at a guide price of £2.15m; and Gurneys Manor at Hingham, 7½ miles from Wymondham and 15¾ miles west of Norwich city centre, is on offer at £2.35m.

The Manor House at Oulton is a charming and substantial period house that isn’t listed, but is believed to date from the late 17th century, with later additions.

The Manor at Oulton has wonderful walled gardens and a glorious pool.

Set in 4¾ acres of delightful gardens, grounds and paddocks, it offers 4,214sq ft of accommodation on two floors, including a reception hall, two principal reception rooms, a study, kitchen/breakfast room, six bedrooms and five bathrooms (four en suite).

Owned by the same family since the 1930s, gracious Gurneys Manor is a fine, Grade II-listed manor house to the east of Norwich, the oldest part of which dates from the 16th century with an 18th-century Georgian front.

Gurneys Manor, Norfolk.

The main house, which needs updating, offers more than 6,000sq ft of well-organised accommodation on three floors, including formal drawing and dining rooms, a sitting room, study, kitchen/diner, flower and boot rooms, eight bedrooms and four bathrooms.

It stands centrally within its 16½ acres of gardens, parkland and paddocks and comes with a four-bedroom cottage, barns, offices, workshops and stores.

Larkfields is for sale at £4.5m; The Manor at Oulton is for sale at £2.15m; and Gurneys Manor is for sale at £2.35m


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