Idyllic setting of slightly shabby country house near sea

Home exchange
Wells-next-the-Sea, Norwich, England, United Kingdom
  • House
  • Sleeps 4
  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms


  • Antique furniture and rugs, masses of books, framed prints and drawings.
  • Sheets and blankets, no duvets.
  • Baths, not showers.
  • An AGA for cooking, open fires, no TV.
  • Piano.

Garden House is an eighteenth century building in the park of one of England’s great country houses, a park complete with lake and herd of fallow deer. The house sleeps four, and has two sitting rooms, an eat-in kitchen, a larder and laundry room, and a small book-lined study.The house is set in a casual garden of some three acres, with wide views, and you can walk directly from the house into the park, which covers three thousand acres before you need to get onto a public road. There are no immediate neighbours, other than visitors to the adjacent walled gardens. At night you can see the stars, clouds permitting, as there is no artificial light anywhere near to spoil the night sky. You want quiet? This is it.

The area is famous for its birds, many visible from the windows of the house, and many more by the lake and along the sandy dunes by the sea. The big, empty beach is a two mile walk away through the park and the marshes. Wells next the Sea, a small fishing port, rather tourist-infested in the summer, is a short bicycle ride away. By car there are country houses to visit and gardens to see, and Norfolk is renowned for the number and variety of mediaeval churches. There are wonderful walks, huge skies, and that special light one gets in England by the sea.


Interested in

  • Home exchange
  • Hospitality exchange
  • Weekend exchange
  • Open to suggestions

Preferred destinations

  • New York
  • Europe
Preferred dates Open to offers
Preferred duration 1-2 weeks
Location: Nearest gay scene is Thirty miles off, thank goodness
Quiet, Rural, Coastal, Beach
Features/amenities: Garden, Parking, Privacy, Terrace, Views, Iron/ironing board available, Hairdryer(s) available
Entertainment: CD Player, Radio, Stereo System, DVD Player
Internet access: WiFi available
Activities available nearby: Cultural Attractions, Cycling, Forest / Wood, Food and Wine, Friendly Neighbours, Gay Beach, Historical Sites, Lake, Park(s), Swimming, Tourist Attractions, Shops / Markets, Sea and Sun
Miscellaneous: Bicycle(s) available, No Children, No Pets, Smoke-Free Zone

Reviews from other users

So we reached this stately gate and couldn't quite believe that we should enter here to get to Timothy's and Menno's home. However we did as we were told and drove up this alley through a wide English landscape garden. There was nothing to see but rolling green hills and trees to each side and in quite some distance ahead an obelisk. Gawping at this scenery we drove on and when we passed the obelisk at the highest point of a hill the setting hit its peak. There lay an amply dimensioned stately home in a valley next to a lake. Alright, so we would live for the next days in this English landscape garden where other's come to visit for a few hours!

We drove on a little bit and then reached Timothy's and Menno's home, where our enthusiasm didn't end. Garden house is just such a lovely place! We drove up the driveway and got a glimpse of the house before it was hidden by greenery again till we reached the car park. Now we couldn't wait any longer to discover the house. Imbedded in a delightful garden with different views from every angle and several lovely places to sit outside, the inside tops the setting off.

This is English countryside at its best. There is a sequence of rooms that are all decorated with so much taste and subtlety and make you feel home from the very beginning. Our days passed with having a morning tea in the kitchen, reading the newspaper on the terrace, taking a bath, strolling around in the park, having afternoon tea on the terrace again, preparing dinner in the kitchen, making a fire in the music room, reading a book in the library and finally having the sweetest dreams in the four-poster bed. We couldn't imagine it any better.

Thanks so much, Timothy and Menno, for this outstanding experience!

Sascha stayed in Jun 2013

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