Upton House, a weekend retreat
Upton House is one of those stately country homes that I could most definitely live in.
Large, but not too excessive with sweeping lawns bordered by extensive herbaceous borders and majestic Cedar of Lebanon trees and an art collection to die for. Rembrandt, Stubbs, Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, Tintoretto – you name it, they are all here, including the largest Canaletto I think I have ever seen.
The main part of the house was built at the end of the 1690's in the ‘Restoration’ Style. This style is all about magnificence and opulence – the name Restoration referring to the time when Charles II was restored to the throne of England after the rather puritanical severity of the previous rule under Oliver Cromwell. Think sumptuous tapestry and velvet upholstery, ornate carved and gilded scrolling bases for cabinets, cane seats and backs on chairs as well as exquisite porcelain and chinaware.
The house was bought in the 1930's and enlarged by the family that started the Shell organisation. As you can imagine, they had a fair bit of money to spend on it and even though the living rooms are breathtaking, my personal favourite room has to be the art-deco bathroom with walls covered in aluminium leaf and a very smart and classy loo which looks like an armchair.
Combine this with a womble around nearby towns in the Cotswolds such as Chipping Norton and plan your visit so you can feast on a traditional cream tea served in the newly refurbished cafe there.
Not great for the waistline, but hey Holiday rules apply!