Island Hall, Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire
Island Hall is an important mid 18th century mansion, owned and restored by an award-winning interior designer. Located on the banks of the Great Ouse in the centre of Godmanchester, this family home has Georgian rooms with fine period detail and interesting possessions relating to the owners' ancestors since their first occupation of the house in 1800. Godmanchester was, in Roman times, a major settlement at an important crossroads and became one of England's earliest boroughs when it was awarded its charter in 1212. Beyond is Portholme, reputedly the largest water meadow in Britain and an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Island Hall has approximately one and a half acres of formal garden with a large river frontage and a two-acre ornamental island in the river – from which the Hall takes its name – linked to the mainland by a Chinese bridge. ‘Christopher Vane Percy’s idea for this green garden is that it be idyllic and “is a bit fluffy”, but there is little fluffy about it. Instead, it is a designer’s garden par excellence.’ Leslie Geddes-Brown, The Gardens of England: Treasures of the National Gardens Scheme.
‘[Mr Vane Percy] has completed the house's restoration: not only has it been redecorated but the 18th century cupola over the stables has been rebuilt, the island bought back and the Chinese bridge reconstructed. The long task of returning to the garden to the vision of the “stillest repose” which Octavia Hill enjoyed is now well advanced. She saw the house as a reminder “of what that deep attachment is to an inherited spot of old earth, rich with memories of days long ago.” By some miracle, that attachment has endured.’ Michael Hall, Country Life. ‘The point about Island Hall is its magnificent first floor saloon, a room normally found in a much larger house. As a consequence much of the ground floor was given over to an impressive hallway and a very fine staircase.’ Simon Thurley, English Heritage.
Tour features ground floor rooms of house, plus three first floor rooms and a guided tour of the grounds.
Candlelit tours in November, Christmas tour by candlelight in December.
Your illuminating commentary on the house and garden and their history very much added to the pleasure of our visit, and we also enjoyed the tea in such beautiful surroundings, and so charmingly served.
Leave the A14 at the Godmanchester turn off and follow the sign to Huntingdon and Godmanchester. After half a mile, pass through the town centre (with the Chinese Bridge on your left and the church spire on your right). Just before the pelican crossing, turn left into the Mill Yard public car park (free). Island Hall is a red brick house set back from the road to the north of the car park.
No dogs or stilettos . Because our properties are old and fragile, unfortunately we cannot include children under 14.
Ground floor only.