Country houses for sale

A beautiful (and very pink Georgian) house in the village where Sir Walter Raleigh was born, for sale for only the second time since 1810

In the village of East Budleigh is this pretty house set in four acres of grounds, with wonderful views over the Otter Valley.

Syon House is perhaps one of the most famous houses in England, the extraordinary London residence of the Duke of Northumberland that is famous for its architecture. What’s less well known is that it has a namesake: Syon House in East Budleigh, Devon, may not be quite as grand as the Robert Adam-designed home on the Thames, but it’s a swish and impressive place in different ways.

This unabashedly pink house near Exeter — with views over the Otter Valley — has come on to the market for just the second time since it was built in 1810, with an asking price of £3.5 million via Knight Frank.

Some houses of this vintage can look as if they haven’t been updated for a couple of generations, but that’s emphatically not the case with this nine-bed Georgian home, set in four acres of grounds. The whole place has been remodelled and refurbished with 21st century living in mind, from the clean, sophisticated look in the kitchen and bathrooms to the solar panels on the roof, which we’d imagine must substantially reduce what would otherwise be a hefty utilities bill.

The first thing that strikes you is the scale of the rooms, which together with the high ceilings gives a wonderful feeling of space. The 24’8” by 38’6” drawing room swallows a baby grand piano so easily that we didn’t notice it at first, for example, while there is a spectacular dining room with a glazed, pitched ceiling that makes it feel more like an orangery than a ‘normal’ room.

There are some period touches — an Aga in the kitchen, pretty coving, original fireplaces and stone flooring — but the overall impression is very much a modern place to live.

There are seven bedrooms on the first floor, all with en-suites, and the master bedroom has both a huge bay, a dressing room and a large bathroom with free-standing bath and a separate shower cubicle that look very much like the sort of thing you’d see in a top-end hotel suite.

And that is not by accident. Syon House was run as a B&B for a while — you might have guessed as much from the fact that every one of the bedrooms is en-suite. And while it’s being sold as a home rather than a business, it could in theory revert to that use.

There’s even space for staff accommodation, if you wanted to go that way: the second floor space is currently set up as a self-contained, two-bedroom flat,  while across the courtyard is a coach house-cum-cottage that’s split into a three-bedroom downstairs flat and a two-bedroom upstairs flat.

Regardless of what you do with the main house both have clear letting potential, especially the latter with its lovely views.

The grounds themselves are mostly laid to lawn — something which also makes the most of the vista — and bordered by trees, but there’s also a walled garden, garage and workshop.

East Budleigh itself is a pretty little village in an area full of history. Sir Walter Raleigh was born nearby, apparently, and the village used to be a port and market town until the River Otter silted up. These days you’ll have to head down to the coast to see ships, but it won’t take long: Budleigh Salterton is only two miles away.

Syon House is for sale via Knight Frank at £3.5 million — see more pictures and details.

East Budleigh: What you need to know

Location: Two miles north of Budleigh Salterton, roughly five miles from Exmouth and 12 miles as the crow flies from Exeter. Be warned, though, if you’re thinking of commuting to the latter: the twisty East Devon roads mean that it’s a good half-hour drive to the city.

Atmosphere: It’s a thriving village surrounded by rolling green fields, but there are a few amenities, including a couple of pubs, a church, a primary school and a garage. There’s even a football club, East Budleigh FC.

Things to do: The pebble beach at Budleigh Salterton is part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, while there are sandy beaches nearby for bucket-and-spade purposes. East Devon Golf Club has a good reputation, while Budleigh Salterton itself has an attractive high street with some decent independent shops — and good fish and chips. There is also nearby a place called ‘World of Country Life‘, which we’d stress has no link whatsoever to our Country Life, but which looks like one of those fun-for-all-the-family farm places.

Schools: The primary school is called Drake’s — though you’d think it would be Raleigh’s, considering that it was the latter Elizabethen adventurer who was born in the parish — and is rated ‘good’ by Oftsed. For secondaries, nearby Mill Water has a ‘good’ rating, The King’s School not far away in Ottery St Mary is rated ‘outstanding’, and if you’re happy to go as far as Exeter there is a wealth of good schools, both state and private.


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Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.