Country houses for sale

A stupendous 18th-century home with gardens that look like they’ve been borrowed from Versailles, designed by an architect credited as the ‘father of wrestling’

Built in the 1700s, this eye-catchingly restored historic house is now available to view in the most modern sense — virtually.

Sometimes, modern solutions work even for centuries-old homes.  Take the curiously-named Bunny Hall, for example: this magnificent home in South Nottinghamshire (named for its location, the village of Bunny, rather than by a rabbit-obsessed former resident), which is on the market for £3,000,000.

Designed by Sir Thomas Parkyns, Bunny Hall is a Grade I-listed home dating back to the 18th century but full of modern touches, having been fully renovated by the current owners. Even the manner of the sale has a 21st-century twist: in the present lockdown, prospective buyers are able to see it by means of a virtual tour organised by agents Savills.

As well as seven bedrooms, there are two separate apartments with independent access. Both can be easily linked back to the main building, if needs be.

An array of south-facing reception rooms — including a finely decorated orangery — look out over landscaped gardens. The 14.5 acres incorporates stabling, a courtyard and garage area, glorious formal planting, an all-weather tennis court and lime tree walk.

Oh, and a circular fountain that wouldn’t look out of place in the Palace of Versailles.

An additional 8.38 acres of land is also available to purchase.

The property’s most notable feature must be the north wing, built in long, chequered brick and crowned with a semi-circular pediment and castellated tower. Sir Thomas’s family crest is emblazoned on the tower façade; it’s considered a landmark structure in the area. The tower’s open rooftop looks out across the South Nottinghamshire countryside.

Back inside, a frosted glass dome floods the central, dog-leg staircase and galleried landing area with light. There are two additional staircases, in the east and west wings.

Recent additions, that they probably didn’t have back in the 1700s, include a private leisure complex. There’s a steam room, sauna, heated, indoor pool and large, separate entertaining kitchen.

Despite its size and grandeur — think indoor, rusticated pilasters, intricate door frames and delicate cornicing, even in the kitchen — the space still feels warm and homely.

Bunny itself is a picturesque village, with a myriad other properties designed by Sir Thomas — whose skills as an architect were apparently (and improbably) matched by his skills as a wrestler: he’s been dubbed the ‘father of modern wrestling’.

Nottingham, Loughborough and Leicester are all within easy reach and a direct train line connects Loughborough to St Pancras in London.

Bunny Hall is for sale with Savills at a guide price of £3,000,000 — see more information and pictures.