Feature: Tennis escapes to celebrate Wimbledon!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011 4:05 PM

It’s that time of year again. The world’s greatest tennis players will be heading to the sunny courts of Wimbledon for the greatest lawn tennis tournament on earth. Hordes of people will be cheering on British hopeful Andy Murray as he tries again to lift the trophy in affluent Surrey. Revellers will be eating strawberries and cream on the lawn and sipping a few glasses Pimm’s with mint and orange. So in celebration of this very British spectacle, where formality and sportsmanship go hand in hand with a classy social scene, we’ve found some excellent country dwellings for you in the south of England – all of them including a tennis court!

The county house
Set within its own five acre garden, the 200-year-old Trethurffe Manor is very close to the charming Cornish county town of Truro. Ideally positioned for exploring the whole county, you can wake up each morning and play an invigorating game of tennis in your own private court. The fantastic fishing villages of St Mawes, Mevagissey, and Padstow are all a short drive away, while nature lovers can appreciate the organic farm and woodland walks, which are a short distance from the cottage. For some good old-fashioned afternoon tea head to Charlotte’s Tea House in Truro – they specialise in teas and Cornish cakes during the day, but turns into a bar at night. You never know, they may even whip up some strawberries and cream if you ask nicely!

The landscaped mansion
For a unique short break, get a group of friends and family together so you can host your own tennis tournament in the grounds of a county house! The 19th century Old Rectory in North Devon is a stunning 11 bedroom mansion surrounded by 20 acres of beautifully manicured gardens. Feel like a lord as you sleep in a huge beds, surrounded by Persian carpets, antiques, sculptures, and marble fireplaces. Along with the championship sized tennis court, the manor also boasts a snooker table, gym, natural spring open air bath, sauna, and salt-water swimming pool! Bake to your heart’s content in not one, but two kitchens, or head down the limestone steps into the landscaped gardens, where fountains stand tall. The Mansion is located near the quaint village of Chumleigh, so you can pop into town if you start to get thirsty. The 17th century Old Court House is a good starting point , which – it holds an original Royal House of Stuart (Charles I) Coat of Arms from 1634!

The Georgian hotel
For an almost regal stay, head to the grand 18th century Georgian manor house in Hampshire, owned by Four Seasons. This period mansion hotel is set in 500-acre grounds just an hour’s drive from London. With two all-weather tennis courts, you can enjoy a round (or two) with new friends, or pursue other country sports like clay shooting, fishing, and horse riding. A number of attractions are only a short drive away, such as Jane Austen’s House Museum and antique shopping in historic Farnham. Or just relax in the onsite spa and restaurant.

The garlic retreat
Set in the rolling countryside of the Isle of Wight lies the unique Garlic Farm shop and restaurant. Family run for over 30 years, everything centres around the ancient spice of garlic, with unique strains like elephant garlic being grown and sold. There is also a cafe serving delicious garlic infused food, and even a shop where you can buy a bottle of garlic beer! Onsite are six converted stone barns which feature modern amenities like DVD players. And tennis fans will be pleased to hear there is a shared court for a quick (or long!) game or two.

The Victorian coach house
The small historic town of Wellington in Somerset is a real treat. Set between the beautiful River Tone and Blackdown Hills, shopping here is mixed between a large range of modern gift and craft shops and an old fashioned ironmonger. Nearby is Glebe Cottage, a former coach house to the Victorian vicarage, and now a charming red-bricked abode. The county town of Taunton is only seven miles away, where you can buy fantastic local cheeses and meats from the regular markets, or high street shop until you drop.

The Plough Inn is a charming traditional pub serving fantastic beer and rustic West Country food like ploughman’s lunches. Try the Otter beers; you won’t be disappointed! Also near the cottage are the Quantocks hills and Exmoor, offering good windswept walking opportunities. And the varied coastlines of North Somerset and South Devon are only 45 minutes drive away. This cottage features an onsite tennis court, but you don’t even need to bring any rackets as four are contained in the cottage!

These country holiday ideas are perfect for soaking up the mild British weathers while practicing the nation’s favourite summer sport! So get inspired by Wimbledon now and start planning your next cottage break!

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