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April 2022 / Travel / by Liz Skone James

UK Travel: Edgar House, Chester

Boasting one of Chester’s finest addresses, with interiors and facilities to match, Edgar House sets a new standard in holiday homes – one that will be very hard to beat.

Words by Liz Skone James & Ali Howard

The spring sun is shining but there’s still a winter chill in the air. We are undeterred by the temperature, though – wrapped up in luxurious woollen blankets from the boot room, we’re making the most of the sprawling terrace at Edgar House, our home from home for a very special hen weekend. The grand Georgian house sits in a prime position overlooking the rushing waters of the River Dee, set directly on Chester’s Roman city walls. Mere moments from the shops and amenities of the city centre and a short stroll from the famous racecourse, even Kirstie and Phil would find little to criticise in this location. We pop the cork on our Champagne and clink glasses, toasting, amongst other things, our very good fortune to be here. 

Previously an award-winning boutique hotel, Edgar House is now the first property in Daisy Joy Escapes’ select portfolio of exceptional holiday homes (work is currently being undertaken on two equally special properties in the Lake District and on Anglesey, which are due to open over the next year). The interiors offer a welcoming mix of luxury and cosiness. This might be a sprawling Regency mansion, but here, grand stone fireplaces and ornate crystal chandeliers are met with contemporary plush velvet sofas to dive into, complete with cosy throws made for snuggling up in. At the heart of the house is an enormous, open-plan L-shaped living area, which accommodates a 12-seat dining table, an inviting fireside sitting room, and a sleek and chic kitchen with all mod cons – and then some: top of the range Miele appliances, a Quooker tap, and a Nespresso machine bring a touch of luxury to leisurely breakfasts sat around the large kitchen island. 

We have our pick of seven sumptuous bedrooms, all en suite, some with riverfront balconies and each with its own design personality. The Copper Suite boasts a private lounge room, an en suite with a huge, gilded rainfall shower, and the pièce de résistance: an in-bedroom traditional copper bath, impossible to get out of, for all the right reasons. Quirky modern wallcoverings are juxtaposed with pattern rich headboards that don’t hold back on scale; crisp white bed linen and fluffy white towels bring high end hotel standards to the bedrooms – yet carefully considered bedside books remind us that this is now more home than hotel.   

Finding little to tempt us away from this haven, we enlist the services of The Cheshire Dining Experience on our first night at the house. With their Michelin-trained chefs and experienced front of house team, they offer restaurant quality fine dining at home. The evening begins with gin and tonics, complete with artfully carved apple garnish, served in front of the blazing fire. As we sip our drinks, comfortably sprawled on the world’s largest sofa, we chat to the friendly team who are at work around the vast kitchen island.

The cooking smells are irresistible, and fortunately we don’t have long to wait before we’re shown through to the dining area, where the table has been laid and the candles are lit. The scene has been set for a very special meal indeed. We start with seared tuna, served with fresh apple carpaccio, fermented cucumber and avocado purée. Deliciously light and delicately flavoured, it comes exquisitely plated with the perfectly pink tuna and vivid green accompaniments standing out beautifully against modern, matt black tableware. Were it not for the fact we have our slippers on, we could be dining at any of Michelin’s finest. Tender sous vide fillet of beef follows, rolled in ash, and accompanied by a quenelle of truffled, glazed cheek, and a creamy potato terrine. Melt in the middle chocolate fondant with raspberry sorbet and miso marshmallow rounds of the meal. Service is attentive but discreet throughout, with the team answering questions, explaining techniques, and ensuring that wine and water glasses are never empty, but allowing us space and time to enjoy each course. Utterly professional, they have cleared up the kitchen, leaving no trace of their presence, before we have even drained our final glasses of wine, and they pop around to bid us farewell before letting themselves out.

Perhaps the best thing about this type of dining is the fact that we have no further to travel after the meal than across the room to flop contentedly by the fire. And once there, feeling gloriously replete, we have only to muster the energy to head upstairs to bed. Later, enveloped in crisp white bedding, we are lulled to sleep by the sound of the river rushing past outside; it has been an evening that will be hard to top.

We have big plans for exploring Chester, but find ourselves so happy at Edgar House that we are content to spend our days lazily enjoying the facilities. While the grand L-shaped room is where most of the action takes place, breakout spaces are equally luxurious and thoughtfully designed. The cinema room provides the cosiest seating, ideal acoustics, low lighting, and a state-of-the-art Sonos surround sound system, which proves perfect for lazy movie afternoons and high-octane karaoke sessions alike. The basement games room is brilliantly designed to mimic a private bar, complete with fussball table, a retro-inspired (but naturally high tech) jukebox, and a specially commissioned piece of street art adorning the back wall. All we need do is pop upstairs and grab a beer from the repurposed London telephone box turned drinks fridge – a humorous nod from Chester’s fair city to ours. 

We do, though, venture out to take a leisurely stroll around the city walls on our last morning – enjoying the inquisitive looks of passers-by and feeling ever so important as we let ourselves out of the front gate, directly onto the raised walkway. Built by the Romans, with a history stretching back over 2,000 years, they are the oldest, longest and most complete set of city walls in Britain. At just over 3km, the circular walk affords an opportunity to enjoy a whistle-stop tour of this beautiful city, taking in views of the river Dee and the Shropshire Union Canal, too. We marvel at the remarkably preserved 17th century timber framed houses, gaze out over the manicured green of the racecourse, and snap pictures of the imposing medieval cathedral and the remains of the castle, built in 1070 by Hugh d’Avranches, the first Earl of Chester. Underneath the gilded Eastgate Clock – the most photographed clock in England after our own Big Ben, apparently – we find the perfect spot for a group picture. Having spent our stay happily ensconced in Edgar House, it is the only proof that we were actually in Chester. Given our time again (yes please!), we wouldn’t do anything differently.  

Midweek stays from £3,950, 3 night weekends from £4,850, weekly from £6,950. To book, call 01244 259 400 (daisyjoy.co.uk; @daisyjoyescapes)

The Cheshire Dining Experience offers bespoke menus to suit every occasion, call 01829 742594 or email hello@thecheshirediningexperience.co.uk to make an enquiry (thecheshirediningexperience.co.uk)

Easter holiday’s special offer

Book a family stay at Edgar House during the Easter holidays and enjoy the complimentary extra of a ‘Magical Teepee Sleepover Party’ from a range of concierge extras.

Parties are styled with your child/ren’s choice of delightful themes, such as ‘In The Wild’ (perfect after a day out at Chester’s world-famous zoo!) or perhaps the enchanting ‘I Believe in Unicorns’, or ‘Rose Gold’, for some more ‘grown up glamour’. Individual teepees, each with their own mattress and soft bedding are bedecked with twinkling lights, organic balloons, lanterns and garlands with themed ‘treats’ tray. The Teepee Sleepover parties are suitable for children aged between 3 and 12 years – hire of the decorative goods, teepees and bedding, as well as 90 mins ‘set up’ and break down costs are complimentary in the Easter Holiday offer.

3 nights stay for the House is from £3950 (weekend 3 nights from £4850 and a week from £6950)

Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea

Celebrate the Platinum Jubilee in enviable style this June with a long weekend’s stay

Stay at Edgar House for the Platinum Jubilee Holiday weekend, June 3rd – 6th , and enjoy an afternoon tea experience, with teas provided courtesy of tea sommelier and tea designer, Bernadine Tay, founder of Quinteassential (quinteassential.co.uk) Bernadine has created blends for luxury establishments such as The Midland Hotel, Hakkasan and for Amanda Wakeley , and even for HRH The Queen.

The only question now is will you opt for ‘Imperial Earl Grey’, which Bernadine blended after taking tea with the descendent of the speciality tea’s eponymous creator, in his Northumbrian home – or go for something more unusual, perhaps the ‘Green Flamingo’ or ‘Tales of Africa’ blend?

‘Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea experience’ includes your selection of three of Quinteassential’s loose-leaf teas, with a selection of delicate sandwiches and delectable cakes, courtesy of Daisy Joy Escapes’ favourite artisan suppliers, to treat you and your guests during your stay.

3 nights min stay at Edgar House is £5250 for the Jubilee Bank holiday weekend including the celebratory Afternoon tea experience, arriving on Friday 3rd June and departing Monday 6th June.