With its several centuries of history, beautiful country views and an ideal location within easy reach of London, Grade II-listed Great Offley House is perfect for a family.
It’s hard to tell what’s best about Grade II listed Great Offley House, whether the views across the open countryside in Offley, close to Hitchin, in Hertfordshire, or the combination of styles that make it a miniature compendium of British architectural history.
Once the Dower House for Little Offley, this 6,000sq ft property, which is on the market with Michael Graham for £2.6 million, originally dated from the late medieval period, but was later extended—most notably in the 18th century—renovated in 1802, when the large sash-windows were introduced, and further improved by the current owner, who modernised the interiors.
The main house is mainly arranged across the ground and first floors, although there is a basement with a snooker room and a second floor with two bedrooms. The ground floor is taken up by the elegant reception rooms—the sitting room, with its huge Inglenook fireplace and ceiling beams, the drawing room, where the fine fireplace has a marble surround, and the airy dining room—plus the huge kitchen and living area (complete with Aga and exposed timbers), the study and the playroom.
On the first floor are six bedrooms, including the master ensuite, which has a fireplace, and a panoramic sun room, and of course there are the two additional bedrooms on the top floor.
Ancillary accommodation is available in a two-bedroom cottage, which is ideal for guests. Also on the grounds is a timber-framed barn that’s thought to be at least 500 years old. It has a high vaulted ceiling, a large fireplace and a minstrel gallery and is perfect for entertaining large parties. Other outbuildings include another barn, a garage and a wine store.
The manicured gardens feature lawns, mature trees—including two fig trees in the sunken walled gardens, which share the space with scented roses—and a swimming pool.
Hitchin: What you need to know
- Location:Hitching is 30 minutes by train to London King’s Cross
- Atmosphere: A thriving market town, it has a wide range of shops, cafes and restaurants (it was a finalist for the 2019 High Street awards), plus regular markets, many active sports clubs and the Queen Mother Theatre
- Things to do: The Offley Three Springs Walk is a delightful circular walk by Offley in the Chilterns AONB, plus there’s a pick your own lavender farm (Hitchin Lavender), a lido and several nature reserves to visit
- Schools: Hitchin’s boys’ and girls’ schools are both rated outstanding by Ofsted
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.