Tuesday, November 17, 2015

LONDON: HEDSOR PRIORY, A CHARMING COUNTRY HOME TOUR {TRIP REPORT}


Hi friends, we're cruising!  We had a great first day as we headed out of Miami towards Key West yesterday.  Today we'll be docking there and enjoying a few hours on shore, before heading back to the boat to share on a blogger panel this afternoon.  Lots of fun is being had by all!

As we've been traveling, I've been thinking about the trip we took to London just about this same time last year.  I don't think a day passes that I don't think of that trip fondly and I would go back in a second!  I've shared some pretty doors that we saw around town and a few of the souvenirs that I brought back with me, but I haven't posted any details about our trip.  There's SO much to share, it's hard to pick and choose what I think you might enjoy seeing.  For today, I want to share the perfectly charming house that we stayed in while there.

We have dear friends from college that moved their family to London for about a year and a half so he could expand his business there (I shared about his new book here), and they were gracious enough to invite us to stay with them.  We didn't really know the full scope of the area we were in at the time, but since I've been preparing this post I've learned so much, and found out that the house we stayed in was practically next door to a pretty popular wedding and event venue, Hedsor House.  Hedsor has also become a favorite spot for several feature films, serving as Nicole Kidman's home in The Golden Compass, and the location for Quartet, Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut film.  When we got a peek of Hedsor House, our friends mentioned that Quartet (starring Maggie Smith from Downton Abbey) had been filmed there so we watched it when we returned home.  It was so cool to see several spots in the movie that we recognized and see that we had actually walked along some of the same paths that are in the film, too!

My quick photo of Hedsor House, but there are stunning photos and lots of interesting history about the house and grounds on their site.  


Hedsor House London, England, Hedsor Hill, Hedsor Priory

For their time living in London, our friends rented the Hedsor Priory, which is located on Hedsor Hill, west of London in the Wycombe district in Buckinghamshire, England, just off of the River Thames and near Bourne End.  It was about a 45 minute train ride into London, and we thoroughly enjoyed staying the the countryside with them.  I think we had a totally different experience than we would have had we stayed in town the whole time.  I thought you might enjoy a little show and tell of the house there and a little bit of the countryside surrounding it.  I don't know about you, but I'm enchanted with all things British, even more so now that we've visited.

Our friends home schooled their children while they lived abroad, and they were kind enough to share their daughter's research report that she wrote with me.  All of the following facts in quotations about Hedsor Priory are from that report... thanks Addison!

"Hedsor Priory dates back 850 years ago. That was the year 1163. It was a Tudor house called the Manor house and it burned down. A new one was built in 1583 by Rowland Hynd who was also commissioned to build Hedsor House."

"The Hedsor Priory we know today was built in 1844 and sits on Hedsor hill overlooking the surrounding countryside and towns."




Hedsor Priory, Hedsor House, Hedsor Hill, London


"Now all that’s left of the 1583 house is the garage and attic."




The entry... the herringbone wood floors downstairs are to die for!  I think my friend said this door was used early in the stable at some point, but was now being stored.  She saw the beauty in it and brought it inside to display, isn't it gorgeous?


She became an avid auction shopper in London and found the most beautiful things.  I went with her to one while we were there (SO fun!), and she bought that camel saddle under the credenza that day.  Such a fun purchase!


She also found these sections of bark that had peeled away from trees around the property, and being the savvy decorator that she is, promptly used them in an awesome display in the entry.  Aren't they just so cool?


I had a hard time narrowing down photos that I wanted to include in this post, mainly because I want to look back on them for myself in the future!  Due to the length, I truncated this post, so please click through if you want to see more.  If not, I'll see you next time!  :)


The kitchen, a warm and welcoming spot... literally!  The AGA stove heats the entire room.




The ground is just a foot or so down from this window... the pheasants liked to gather there hoping for a snack to be thrown out.  ;)  One even hopped up inside the window onto the counter one day!  



There's also a darling original bell system (think Downton Abbey style, but a bit more modern) in the kitchen.  So charming!



The dining room where they have hosted countless friends and business partners... they truly have a gift for connecting with others and showing hospitality.



Pretty living room...



The office where much of this book was writtten...



The back grounds and garden... I was so in love with all of the gates around the property.










"The wall is made of flint and clunch (chalk) and was built in 1583 with the “new” Hedsor priory. Parts of the wall were repaired in 1971 but it still kept its uniqueness. The wall surrounds two sides of the garden. The flint and clunch are arranged in a checkered pattern. There are two fireplaces built into either side of the wall to keep the vines that used to grow up the wall warm in the winter. The fireplaces are no longer in use." 





St. Nicholas Parish Church just outside their back garden wall...




This is the lane that Maggie Smith walks down towards the church in a scene in Quartet, the back garden to the Priory is just on the other side of the wall.  The age and detail everywhere you look is just awe-inspiring.


We're so thankful to our sweet friends for sharing their lovely home-for-a-time with us.  What an amazing experience and precious memories!




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