Review: Flore House, Flore, Northants
This jaw-dropping boutique country house retreat in a peaceful village just across the Warwickshire border boasts 20 acres to explore and impeccable interior design with a witty contemporary twist.
At the edge of the quiet village of Flore to the west of Northampton, and with incredible views across the surrounding unspoilt landscape, Flore House is a luxe boutique country retreat with an eclectic touch, bringing edgy London vibes to the countryside. Two individually styled suites are available in a private self-contained wing of this grand seventeenth century pile, or guests can hire the entire house for exclusive stays. Think opulent parties and unique weddings with the wow factor.
Everywhere you look, owner Georgie’s artistic eye for detail is winking back at you in the cheeky wall prints, modern vintage pieces, high-quality fittings and tastefully eye-catching decor. It’s utterly unstuffy and feels like a deeply luxurious and relaxing home from home.
Cool artwork lines the walls and quirky vintage finds transform every corner, fireplace and table top into a vignette. There are carefully selected books to devour in case you’ve omitted to bring any reading material, I got stuck in to Alexandra Shulman’s memoir Inside Vogue and pored over Soho House’s gorgeous Morning, Noon, Night, suddenly feeling desperate to redecorate my entire house to recapture the subtle yet brave styling.
Magnificent gardens beckon guests outside, with a terrace, formal parterre and wilderness areas beyond, making for an idyllic escape from the daily grind.
SCOFF AND QUAFF
The luxuriously quirky rooms are more deluxe bijou apartment than formal hotel. There isn’t a restaurant here, so each suite has a stylish kitchenette (copper sinks, oak worktops), which comes with all you might need for breakfast and refreshments, including champagne (of course) a tin of biscuits, a fresh loaf of bread in a linen bag, cereals, milk etc., presented in a neat wicker hamper. Did somebody say breakfast in bed? Oh, crumbs.
COME TO BED
There are two suites set apart from the main house in a private wing with its own external door and entrance hall where an irreverent Marilyn Monroe screen print juxtaposes a framed vintage map of Paris. There’s a capacious coat rack and a basket of towelling slippers in case you return from a walk with muddy boots.
Up the wooden staircase are Bayberry and Bramble suites. Mr Muddy and I were in Bayberry, the slightly larger of the two, which overlooks a courtyard. Bramble is smaller, but offers far-reaching views of the garden and grounds.
Each of the two suites has a sleeping area and a separate lounging space with a velvet upholstered arm chair for slumping into and an Anglepoise reading lamp. En suite you’ll find your fabulous traditional style bathroom with brass fittings, bright pops of colour and big bottles of toiletries from Green and Spring, produced by the award winning Cowley Manor in Cheltenham. Decent mirrors are in all the right places, an absolute essential that many places overlook and it’s the details where Flore House really knocks it out of the park.
There’s a DAB Roberts radio and a smart T.V. to keep you entertained, hair dryer in the large built-in wardrobe and cast iron radiators all with thermostatic valves to allow guests to set their preferred temperature. You’ll get your own key fob for the main gates to come and go as you please, so Flore House really does give the feeling of being a home away from home.
Everything has been carefully considered to keep guests feeling comfy, with inviting king-size beds and plush soft-furnishings. You’ll soon be picturing yourself at Downton, getting ready to go down for a glamorous party. That just me…?
Well, if you want to go full-on Lady Mary, why stop at a suite? You can also hire the whole property for a big bash or a family gathering and the decor in the main house is just as fabulous as you’d expect with opulent glass chandeliers, original oak panelling, feature wallpaper and off the wall taxidermy.
AROUND AND ABOUT
The house is located just a few minutes’ drive from M1 junction 16 (no, you can’t hear the motorway traffic from your room, as it’s the other side of the village), making it a perfect stopover, but if if you linger longer, you’ll find lots to keep your attention in this pretty part of the county.
Both Althorp and Holdenby House are close by and if you’re looking for peaceful country walks you’re in the right place with the picturesque ancient woodland at Everdon Stubbs and the Knightley Way long distance path within easy reach.
You’ll probably want dinner and drinks and there are some great country pubs close by including The Fox and Hounds at Harlestone. If you want to go even more posh, try Fawsley Hall’s Cedar Restaurant. They do magnificent afternoon teas and have a top notch spa too. We headed to Northampton for drinks at the ultra cool micro brewery and cocktail bar, Maule Collective (above), followed by dinner at Oren Pho, an unassuming Vietnamese restaurant where they serve the most incredible food. Closer to home, be sure to visit Re in the village, a zero waste refill shop where you can grab great coffee and cakes.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Anyone craving a pimped-up, cooler version of the trad rural weekend getaway, with a romantic but informal vibe and those looking for a super luxe but edgy venue to impress the guests.
Not for: If you want to be immediately surrounded by things to do, restaurants, shops etc, it might not be your cuppa tea. You will need a car to get around though you can Uber it back from the bright lights of Northampton.
The Damage: Rooms start at £145 a night for Bramble and £165 for Bayberry. Contact the hosts for details on exclusive hire and corporate events.
Flore House, The Avenue, Flore, Northamaptonshire, NN7 4LZ. Tel: 01327 341179