From the front door which Cromwell's men tried to smash down to a beautiful lakeside dwelling, these home have exotic entrances.
Dorset, £3.95 million
When Cromwell’s army came a-knocking (to put it mildly), their enthusiasm for finding Charles I and his supporters was so great, they left six axe marks in the huge oak door of the Elizabethan manor of West Hall. They failed to gain entry and the door remains as sturdy as ever.
Separated from the village of Longburton by a sweeping drive and listed Grade I, the house has eight bedrooms and formal gardens with yew hedges aligned to make the most of the views, as well as a Grade II-listed garden wall around a croquet lawn.
Strutt & Parker (020–7629 7282)
Essex, £1.35 million
The gardens at characterful The Stream sweep down to the banks of the River Roman and woodland beyond and include a large lake and wandering stream. Built in the 1930s, the thatched house, with a triangular thatched entrance to match, sits amid 14 acres in the village of Layer-De-La-Haye, just outside Colchester. It has five bedrooms, exposed oak beams and brick fireplaces and the master bedroom features French doors leading onto a balcony.
Fenn Wright (01206 763 388)
Berkshire, £1.85 million
Beyond the dramatic, oak-framed feature-window entrance to Beau House — on the outskirts of Newbury, near the sought-after village of Donnington — is an entrance hall with a marble fireplace and oak staircase. With five bedrooms, this unusual property is in a pretty spot—the only way to reach it is via the medieval ruins of Donnington Castle, using the green road that leads to the country park of Snelsmore Common.
Knight Frank (01488 866 002)
In the hamlet of Prideaux in the Luxulyan valley, where Poldark is filmed — the ‘idyllic, sylvan part of Cornwall’ — this historically important manor set in four acres is believed to have been refurbished by the Hearle family in the 13th century; its coat-of-arms is still prominent over the entrance porch.
There are six bedrooms, including the main house, side wing and separate cottage across the cobbled courtyard, and the drive takes you through a bluebell wood.
Humberts (01872 278 288)
A plant-lover’s dream in Hythe, a coastal market town on the edge of Romney Marsh, Rockdean is adorned with abundant pyracanthas and forsythias.
There are five bedrooms, a cellar, a walled garden and a potting conservatory, as well as a period stable block, shepherd’s cottage, barn and wood shed. In the orchard, there are apple, plum, apricot and ancient mulberry trees.
Colebrook Sturrock (01303 260 666)
In the quiet village of Brockhampton, charming Grade II-listed the Dower House is believed to date from 1703 and has been beautifully renovated. The three-bedroom Queen Anne property adjoins The Old Dower House to its rear and enjoys glorious views over Cotswold cornfields through stone-mullioned windows.
It’s also utterly glorious inside, as this image of the drawing room shows:
There is also a one-bedroom coach house and the real ale at local pub the Craven Arms comes highly recommended. Cheltenham is seven miles away.
Knight Frank (01242 802 548)