Country houses for sale

Spectacular Northumberland estate for sale

Acton Hall Stables, a 1724 stable block restored and converted by its previous owners Andrew McAlpine and his father’s company Sir Robert McAlpine in the early 1990s, is on the market at offers in excess of £1.85million with Strutt & Parker.

Built to service nearby Acton Hall, and sympathetically converted to look like the original, the property extends to 17 acres and amounts to a wonderful small estate.

With 55 windows, it is no ordinary stable conversion and owner John Murray says the feel-good atmosphere generated by the light-filled house is difficult to overestimate.

Inside, the house is opulent and impressive. The entrance hall features hand-painted stone effect walls and a crafted wrought iron staircase to the first floor and tower – currently used as a study but with the potential to be turned into an additional bedroom. An African slate floor and a raised open fire characterise a sumptuous drawing room which offers a great entertaining space. A homely family kitchen is at the heart of the house with bench seats under windows overlooking the garden while a garden room provides an ideal setting in which to watch the sunset.

The family house also includes a sauna, gallery and four bedrooms as well as a guest wing with three further bedrooms and its own living room/kitchen area.

Mr Murray and his wife, Lynne, reintroduced a grand stable block in the 1990s which their daughter Fiona used as a base to breed horses for eventing and showing. The stone stable block was custom built in the exact style of the main house to a high specification in order to meet the demands of a home stud. There are currently six extra large traditional stables, two of which could be split to create eight in total.

A barn could be turned into additional loose boxes, subject to planning permission, and 12 acres of grazing land is split into paddocks.

Topping pillars at the entrance to the estate are impressive equine heads, the original of which was excavated near Rome by the Medici family, taken to Florence in 1585 and later adapted to serve as a fountain in the courtyard of the Medici Palace. The heads complement the huge wrought iron gates from Waterloo Station in London, already sourced by the previous owners.

Additionally, the dramatic courtyard garden centres on a bronze peacock fountain by Lloyd de Blanc, a limited edition sculpture originally commissioned by the Sultan of Brunei, and a Georgian walled garden features a classical temple reached by stepping stones.

Mr Murray says: ‘We have our own micro climate here and it feels a little like a Mediterranean environment. Palm trees flourish alongside camellias, olive trees and bamboo. It just tickles your brain somehow. It may sound strange but I feel somehow like I am always on holiday here. It is my own Shangri-la and my biggest problem here has always been not wanting to leave it to go to work. Nothing prepares you for the feel-good factor of this property.’

For Mr Murray, the house’s greatest advantage is its privacy and seclusion while being very well connected. It is just half a mile from the A1, seven miles from Alnwick, 12 miles from Morpeth and 28 miles from Newcastle.

Outside is an all-weather tennis court and a stretch of fishing for two rods on the River Croquet.

For more information contact Strutt & Parker’s Morpeth office on 01670 516123 or Sale & Partners on 01668 281611.