Short stay: Edgar House, Chester, UK

Formerly a boutique hotel, Chester’s white-painted Edgar House is one of the city’s most iconic residences. Today this Georgian property serves as a luxury holiday home that can sleep up to 16 people in sumptuous comfort whilst overlooking the River Dee. Purchased by entrepreneur Mark Ellis in 2021, it is the first in a series of high-end properties that make up Daisy Joy Escapes, with holiday homes in Anglesey and Cumbria to follow soon.

The welcome

We were given a warm, in-person greeting – a rarity for self-catering accommodation where nowadays it’s commonly self-access via a key obtained from a security box – by Caroline, the house manager, who kindly gave us a short tour of the property and explained how various things worked. Welcome folders within Edgar House provide additional information to make the most of your holiday and Caroline assured us she was only a call away if we needed anything.

The property

The main entrance to Edgar House takes you into the top floor of this property that sleeps up to 16 people. On this floor alone, there are five generously-proportioned bedrooms, all en suite, and each with their own character. The Horse Room (Bedroom 1), with its subtle horse-print wallpaper, and The Zoo Room (Bedroom 2), with its slightly bolder animal print walls, each draw on two of Chester’s most famous attractions and have balconies with views of the city wall and River Dee below.

The Aubergine Room (Bedroom 3) with its striking aubergine curtains and sofa, The Blue Room (Bedroom 4) and The Copper Suite (Bedroom 5), with its own living space and eye-catching copper bath set against exposed brickwork, are the remaining rooms on this floor.

The main communal living space is on the floor below where a snug leads on to two further en suite bedrooms, and an open plan dining room, lounge and kitchen (and larder / utility room just off it).

The snug and library offers a homely vibe with interiors that blend tradition with bold designs, fun artwork and modern comforts.

The Roman Room (Bedroom 6) has a king-sized bed and headboard set against a feature wall with wallpaper depicting the heads of Roman emperors with mirrored bedside tables and bold lampshades either side. Pictures of Roman urns on the walls and an antique mirror depicting a Roman goddess, combined with emerald tones, a sofa and dressing table, complete the look.

The Grey Groom (Bedroom 7), as its name implies, has grey tones, some comfortable chairs and a fireplace.

Each of these bedrooms has its own terrace that leads directly out to the grounds at the rear.

As well as being en suite, all bedrooms have their own TVs, full length mirrors, hanging space, safes, ironing facilities and hair dryers. They can also all be configured as either double or twin rooms.

The bathrooms throughout the property are different but all spacious and luxurious, many with baths and all with rainfall showers. Handwash supplied is from Bramley, a small British business passionate about the countryside, nature and the environment. All their products are vegan friendly, contain 100% natural botanicals with no nasty chemicals or artificial colours.


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The remainder of the middle floor is made up of a large open plan living space, flanked by the kitchen and dining room on either side.

A generous kitchen island takes centre stage in the kitchen, on top of which is an induction hob. Multiple ovens, fridges, freezers and dishwashers mean that catering for a large gathering is not a problem. In fact, one of the services which can be arranged via the house’s concierge service is a professional chef to prepare menus for your gathering, here ‘at home’. In addition to all the gadgets you might expect, there’s also a Nespresso coffee machine and milk frother.

A telephone box that houses a Husky fridge and shevling for multiple Champagne flutes and ice buckets serves as a reminder that this special house serves as the perfect venue for a celebration.

The dining area is flooded with lots of natural light that comes through the grand Georgian windows and offers the perfect setting for family and friends to dine together.

In the basement of the property is a treasure trove of extras that includes a home cinema with surround sound and the neon-lit words ‘Movie Time’ on one wall.

There’s also a games room, with a feature wall by a local graffiti artist depicting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the words ‘Cool Britannia’, offering a fun space to enjoy table football, air hockey and darts, as well as having a “jukebox” that can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth.

Outside, against the constant background soothing sound of the weir below, there are grassy and flagged areas in which to relax. An al freso dining area for 16, as well as some comfortable wicker loungers, each with large parasols, provide some wonderful outdoor social spaces.

There’s a garden shed for bike storage and for the safe storage of garden furniture in the event of wet weather. Edgar House is also dog friendly and in completely enclosed grounds, and definitely met with the approval of our much-loved Springer spaniel, George.

Location

The rear grounds of Edgar House lead directly on to a stretch of Chester City Walls that runs alongside the River Dee. 

You really couldn’t ask for a better location within Chester, very close to the Roman gardens, amphitheatre, Chester Castle and the ChesterBoat moorings, and with the entire city centre’s bars, restaurants, cafés and shops within easy walking distance.

Our plan had been to go to an Autumn meeting of Chester Races, also nearby, but sadly this had to be cancelled out of respect for the recent passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Chester is a remarkable racecourse, however, and has held meetings since 1539 meaning that it is officially recognised (by Guinness World Records) as the world’s oldest active racecourse.

Nicknamed ‘The Roadee’, this flat course is a very tight circuit, approximately one mile round, sandwiched by the River Dee, the city walls and a railway viaduct. It has become the focus of the British racing world as well as the Cheshire social scene, hosting historic races such as the Chester Cup, the Chester Vase, the Ormonde Stakes, the Cheshire Oaks and the Dee Stakes.

Other nice touches

We were celebrating a family birthday and Caroline had very kindly baked a chocolate cake to mark the occasion; with it were two bottles of English fizz (Gusbourne Brut Reserve) and a birthday card.

Also provided were tea, coffee, bread, milk, butter, farm-pressed apple juice, Bournes clothbound Cheshire cheese and handmade apple chutney from the Cheshire Chutney Co., and the cupboards were already stocked with various oils, vinegars, herbs and condiments.  Magazines in the rooms and living space included Wallpaper*, Vogue, Tatler, Condé Nast Traveller and Great British Food, in addition to other reading material, board games and more.

Cost

Short breaks (from Monday to Friday or Friday to Monday) start from £3,500.

The best bit

The best bit about Edgar House is that it’s the perfect property for a multi-generational family gathering, be it a birthday celebration, a wedding party or some other special occasion. Beautifully appointed, and with sophisticated accommodation and plenty of outdoor space, plus a games room and cinema, and Chester in easy reach, means there is truly something for everyone.

The final verdict

This city bolthole is the ideal setting for a memorable getaway with family and friends. There is so much to do on the doorstep, yet the property itself is so stunning – and finished to such a high standard – that you’ll not want to leave.

Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Edgar House.

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