This Cotswold estate has its own polo field, tithe barn and cellar
Foxcote Manor is a preserved steam locomotive, built in 1950 in Swindon, Wiltshire, and one of the stars of the heritage West Somerset Railway. Foxcote Manor, the 17th-century house that the loco was intended to commemorate, stands on the edge of the tiny village of Foxcote, about seven miles outside Cheltenham, making it that object of desire — a huge property “in the heart of the Cotswolds”. This is still the hippest part of the English countryside, despite considerable rivalry from Norfolk.
For the past three years the house has been rented, but its most famous resident was Mark Vestey, a friend of the Prince of Wales and a professional polo player, who died in 2016. Rosie, his widow, is selling Foxcote Manor and its 59 acres, but she will retain the adjoining land. The most obvious buyer for the manor with its stables, paddocks and polo field is an enthusiast for this sport, but it would also suit someone who merely likes to garden. The house is on the market for £8 million. Rupert Sweeting of Knight Frank, the estate agency handling the sale, says that Foxcote would suit a family that want to put down roots for generations. This kind of dynastic house-hunter is usually relocating from somewhere in southwest London.
Whatever their other pursuits, the next owners of Foxcote must love the feeling of space (the three-storey property is 10,657 sq ft). On the ground floor you will find an L-shaped drawing room, a sitting room and dining room with a bay window, plus a kitchen, breakfast room, laundry room, gun room, a larder and pantry. There is an abundance of bedrooms, with seven in the main house and another two in the annexe. Party animals can strut their funky stuff in the tithe barn, which has a wine cellar and a squash court (as if dancing were not exercise enough).
Anyone who is relocating from London, but still needs to work there, can take a train from Kemble, which is 25 minutes away. The journey to Paddington takes about 80 minutes on the rather more prosaic Great Western Railway.