Penny Churchill takes a look at Sydenhurst, a brand-new Palladian-style country house in a prime location on the Surrey/West Sussex border.
Glimpse Sydenhurst from afar and you’d be forgiven that this Palladian-style mansion was a genuine 18th century home. It isn’t, but it was built by a British businessman with a passion for all things Georgian — and what a job he did on it.
While the look is Classical, the feel is decidedly modern in a home that uses state-of-the-art intelligent management systems, through which lighting, climate, audio, video and security are all controlled at the touch of a button. This spectacular, almost 27,000sq ft, modern country manor house in Surrey is on the market at £30 million via joint agents Knight Frank and House.
Sydenhurst stands in more than 30 acres of manicured gardens and parkland off a quiet lane less than a mile from Chiddingfold, one of Surrey’s prettiest and most sought-after villages.
It’s an imposing mansion house with adjoining leisure complex, built of buff-coloured sandstone from Derbyshire’s Stoke Hall quarry, located at the head of a long private drive with splendid views over its own lake to the green open spaces and woodland of the surrounding countryside.
The moment you walk through the door, Georgian symmetry prevails — from the vast reception hall with its flooring reminiscent of nearby Petworth House, to the dramatic octagonal staircase, which is almost identical to that of Worlingham Hall, Suffolk, officially attributed to Francis Sandys, who built the hall, but possibly inspired by earlier Sir John Soane drawings.
Such was Sydenhurst’s owner’s meticulous attention to detail that he had every door in the hall realigned to precisely match the pattern of the flooring.
Arranged around the reception hall and scaled in proportion is an impressive dining room, an expansive drawing room, study, library, wine cellar and a 57ft-long Clive Christian-designed family kitchen with sitting area.
Given that the house was primarily built with the owner’s family in mind, the accommodation allows for the separation of formal entertaining from everyday family living.
Thus the five principal bedroom suites, including the near-2,000sq ft master suite, take up the entire first floor, with the second floor housing four more bedroom suites of equal size, thereby avoiding any suggestion of discrimination on the part of the owners’ four children.
Annexed to the house is a bewildering array of leisure facilities, all equally suited both for private use and for entertaining on a grand scale.
The main party room is double-height with a gallery above and, on one side, there is the last word in games rooms, which boasts a dazzling metal-alloy ceiling, an indoor bowling alley and a cinema and, on the other, a family room and sun room with doors leading out to the terrace and gardens.
The indoor swimming pool, which includes a spa bath, steam room, sauna and changing rooms, is another show-stopper.
Above it are located various domestic offices, a gymnasium, treatment rooms, a staff flat, a home office and — an enlightened touch — a teenager sleep-over bedroom.
If these facilities are still not enough, Sydenhurst comes with a large outdoor pool, a hard tennis court and planning consent for the erection of stabling for four horses within an L-shaped range of buildings off the main drive.
The location is a major factor here too. Chiddingfold is situated a few miles south of Guildford and east of Haslemere, both with good train services, while it’s also 20 miles from Farnborough private airfield and within easy reach of both Heathrow and Gatwick.
Ease of access to international airports, train stations and residential, financial and business areas of London are key factors in persuading overseas buyers to invest in a UK country home in the current climate. Indeed, early indications suggest an international buyer as the most likely next owner of Sydenhurst, says James Crawford of Knight Frank.
It’s hard to believe that the whole place is just five years old. For more than 60 years from 1949, Sydenhurst was a home from home for disabled Ukrainians stranded in England after the Second World War.
The original residents, for whom Sydenhurst was ‘an enchanting piece of little England’, were long gone when, in 2014, the present owner bought and demolished the rundown complex of buildings and set about creating his ideal Georgian family seat, but without the problems of maintenance and upkeep generally associated with grand country houses of the period.
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There’s treasure in them thar hills.
The enduring English love affair with the Palladian tradition is encapsulated at glorious Henbury Hall in Cheshire, inspired by Villa