Country houses for sale

The Dorset home of Kirstie Allsopp’s parents has come up for sale at £6.5 million

TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp remembers the moment her parents first caught sight of Lyddon House in the pages of Country Life.

Art and property have been defining influences in the life of former Christie’s auctioneer and chairman, Charles Allsop, 6th Baron Hindlip, and both live in perfect harmony at Lyddon House, King’s Stag, near Sturminster Newton, Dorset.

The classic country house that Lord Hindlip created with his late wife, Fiona, is now on the market with Knight Frank in Sherborne, at a guide price of £6.5m.

Lord Hindlip and his wife, a talented interior designer, had an eye for houses which had what 18th-century landscape designer Lancelot Brown called ‘capabilities’ — or room for improvement. This led them to buy, renovate and sell a series of London properties before moving to a family home in the country at Inkpen in Berkshire.

His daughter — Kirstie Allsop, of Location, Location, Location fame — recalls sitting around the breakfast table on a Friday morning as her parents searched the pages of Country Life for suitable properties to buy and restore. ‘They always wanted a house with water, and when, in 1999, Lyddon House came on the market, they jumped at the chance to buy it,’ she reveals.

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Built around the footprint of a large, mid-19th-century farmhouse, the elegant, 5,660sq ft main house stands in almost 48 acres of exquisite formal gardens alongside a mill house and mill race, with frontage to the River Lydden, and surrounded by the lush pastures of Dorset’s Blackmore Vale.

Previously known as Lydden House, it represents the shared vision of its owners translated into a modern Georgian masterpiece by local builder Martin Fulford. ‘A few walls and one window’, retained for period authenticity, are reputedly all that remains of the original farmhouse.

Lyddon House, which faces south-west, boasts large rooms, tall ceilings and tall, wide sash windows that combine to create a wonderful feeling of light and space. The rooms are laid out around a vast, central reception hall, which is overlooked by a three-sided galleried landing on the first floor.

All three main reception rooms are south facing, with lovely views across the gardens to Lyddon’s own woodland and pasture. The light-filled drawing room is particularly impressive, with French windows opening onto the garden, flanked to either side by tall sash windows.

The magnificent kitchen is ‘to die for’, with windows on three sides overlooking the garden, the mill and mill stream, and the parterre garden. Upstairs are four double bedrooms, each of which has its own bathroom and views over the surrounding countryside.

Further accommodation is available in the converted, four-bedroom mill house and two-bedroom flat above the garage. Both Lord and Lady Hindlip shared a passion for gardening and the gardens they have established at Lyddon House over the years provide a magnificent backdrop to one of Dorset’s most delightful country houses.

Lyddon House is for sale at £6.5m — see more details and pictures.

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