was a blistering July afternoon when we arrived at
Hoveton Hall. Not on the same scale as the
major National Trust properties,
this privately-owned Regency country house still
has its own kind of stateliness, whilst welcoming
its visitors in a much more personal manner.
were met by pleasant members of staff and took tea,
coffee or squash, with chocolate biscuits, in the large
family dining room, surrounded by a selection of family
and other portraits. Then entered our guide, Harry
Buxton, who lives in what is still his parents’ house
with his wife and young family, hot from his children’s
school sports day.
like welcome guests we were taken through the two
hundred year history of the house and grounds. There
were links with people you read about in history books:
Elizabeth Fry for one, and the Gurney family, joint
founders of Barclays Bank. But the most important
portrait was that of Mum and Dad.
we were guided through the other reception rooms and
taken into the gardens to see the Grade II* listed
glasshouse, with its iron framework and curved-pane
glass roof – unique in the country. Followed by forty
scorching minutes in the beautiful walled garden,
kitchen garden and parkland with blessedly cool walks
through woodland and alongside ponds and dykes.
a return to the house for tea and cake, with a slight
extension whilst some of our ladies went with our host
to view the bed and breakfast accommodation. They were
suitably impressed. What more could you want? A kind
welcome, a bit of history, a lovely garden . . . and
have been provided by Stephen Johnson and Michael
Steward. Many thanks to both.