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The Old School House, designed & built by "the King's carpenter", John Abel, in 1632 as part of the adjoining Lady Hawkins School, used to be the headmaster's house. Since 2006 it has been our much loved family home and in our absence we hope guests will enjoy its welcome feel as much as we do. The upper storeys rebuilt in the 1870s, are full of light & space with 4 bedrooms: 1 double bed, 1 double bed and single, 1 twin, 1 with child's cabin bed for two. A large upstairs bathroom with shower, bath & WC. On the ground floor the double-windowed kitchen / breakfast room with range cooker, dishwasher, fridge/freezer, microwave, toaster, kettle, Belfast sink, salvaged wooden worktops. Large & comfortable sitting room with sofas, chairs, rugs, Clearview woodburner, Flatscreen TV & DVD & range of books, CDs, games. Second sitting room / dining room with open fire, piano, dining table. Lower ground floor Utility room: washing machine, Butler sink, WC & Shower. South-facing windows with beautiful views across the valley, original oak floorboards and shutters throughout the ground floor, flagstone lower ground floor. Large well-stocked garden.
The house has a lovely garden for guests to use. There is a wide stone flagged patio, wildlife pond and fig tree bordering the large open lawned area which then slopes steeply down to a 'secret' lower garden with a rose-clad arbour, vegetable garden, fruit trees and cottage garden plants. Outdoor furniture includes: table, benches, parasol.
Aud, who lives nearby and manages the house for us while we are away, is usually there to welcome guests and ready to assist or answer queries but she assumes most guests prefer to be left in peace. So, interaction is minimal unless you want it to be more, in which case don't hesitate to contact her.
Kington (population 2,500 or thereabouts) is a genuinely unspoiled and unpretentious historic market town on the English-Welsh border. Our 12 year old son, who currently lives in Nairobi, describes it as, 'fun, friendly and safe'! Until the 1960s it was a major hub for sheep and cattle drovers (the main street and medieval alleyways with their high burgage walls are visible remnants of this former life) and it still serves what is a largely rural farming community and it has retained a weekly livestock market (Thursdays). But nowadays visitors come all year round and Kington provides a welcome and down-to-earth escape from urban and city life... You won't find a trace of a Costa coffee shop here, instead there are local independent cafes and shops (including a deli, organic vegetables, wet-fish, bakers, butchers), and traditional pubs (some brew their own ales), plus an award-winning local museum.
There's plenty of good food and drink to be found, much of it locally produced.
Surrounded by the naturally beautiful Welsh border countryside, on foot or by car there is much to enjoy locally. We love a walk on Hergest Ridge along the Offa's Dyke Path (the cottage is at the foot of the ridge) across to Gladestry, or a cream tea sitting outside on the Edwardian verandah at Hergest Croft Gardens (6 minutes walk away), or a pint by the fireside at The Harp in Old Radnor.
From late May onwards almost every weekend there is a local festival or fete to be found and November and December weekends are usually busy with local Christmas Fairs. Well-known local festivals and events include: the Hereford Art Week (early September), the Rough Ride Cycle Event (August), Hay Literary Festival (end May-June), How the Light Gets In (Globe Hay end May -June), The Royal Welsh Show (Builth July), Sheep Music (Presteigne), Presteigne Music Festival, Titley Jazz Festival, Kington Vintage Show (mid August), Kington Show (a major agricultural event held in early September), Kington Walking Festival (September).
Kington is ideally situated for visitors to mid-Wales and the Marches, walkers, canoeists, cyclists. It is in easy reach of Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, Leominster, Rhyader, Builth Wells, Brecon, Presteigne, the Black Mountains and Golden Valley. And Aberystwyth and the coast are just 59 miles away and easily do-able in a day.
We love it here.
Nearest airports : Birmingham International (74 miles), Bristol (92 miles), Cardiff (93 miiles), Manchester (119 miles) and East Midlands (114 miles) - distances vary but for all allow 2.5 - 3 hours.
Nearest railway stations: Leominster (15 miles), Hereford (20 miles). From these there are direct trains to Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, London, Fishguard/Holyhead.
Local bus services connect Kington to: Hereford, Llandrindod Wells, Presteigne, Lyonshall, Eardisley, Weobley.
Local taxi services are available (best to pre-book) and recommended if arriving by train in the evening hours as buses stop running quite early. A car is not essential.
Do ask if you need travel advice or local taxi numbers.
Complimentary tea, coffee, milk and sugar are provided.
The house has gas central heating but guests are welcome to use the open-fire and or the woodburner. We provide a complimentary big basket of logs in winter. More firewood can be purchased and is available on site.
Children are very welcome.
a maximum of two well-behaved dogs, with own bedding, are also very welcome. Dog owners are requested to discuss arrangements with us beforehand.
Weekly cleaning and change of bedlinen for extended stays.
The price per night is for up to six people, minimum two nights. Weekly rates are available, from £600 - please contact us.
The Old School House may be rented separately or together with The Old School House Cottage ( converted barn sleeps 2+ - see separate entry).
Please contact us for discount rates during low seasons or if booking the Cottage and Old School House together.
Our changeover day is usually Fridays but please ask if you require a different start day as this may be possible. Arrival from 3pm, departure by 10.30am. Both short-stays and long-stays available, please enquire.
Strictly no smoking in the house please.
One well-behaved dog, with own bedding, is very welcome. Dog owners are requested to discuss arrangements with us beforehand so as to avoid any misunderstandings.
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