First it was hit TV series Downton Abbey, now the Royal Wedding has rebooted the world’s fetish for the UK’s country piles. According to VisitBritain, Britain can expect a 15 per cent increase in visitors this year, many of them heading to the country’s rural retreats. After a $50m reboot, the world-famous Chatsworth House will no doubt rank somewhere at the top. There are many more rural hideaways to seek out, however.
Wilderness Reserve is a private estate on the eastern seaboard, close to chi-chi seaside town Southwold, which offers a full-on Downton experience in the shape of Sibton Park, a butler-ed, 12-bedroom manor house built in 1827 and surrounded by 5,000 acres of countryside. Still, not all the estate’s lodgings cost the family inheritance. Lit entirely by candlelight, the super-off-grid Hex Cottage comes with no electricity or Wi- Fi. Lady Crawley would approve.