The Chillvester House Story

GillA Victorian country house with high ceilings and large, airy rooms, set in 7 1 /2 acres, built in 1888 for the land Agent of Lord Lansdowne, owner of the Bowood estate which the house overlooks. Gill posing for the BBC in her kitchen.

John is a consultant occupational physician and, with considerable knowledge of the area, is happy to help visitors plan their days. Gill, a keen horsewoman and cattle breeder, likes to maintain her culinary skills and reputation for good food – broadcaster Derek Cooper gave her 11 out of 10 for the ‘Best British Breakfast’ !

We have three large double bedrooms (double or twin beds) each with en-suite bathroom (with a hand-held shower, but a large shower room is available, and bathrobes are provided); colour, remote controlled television; tea/coffee tray; clock/radio; books, guide books and maps.

The dining room Almost all the vegetables and salads are home or locally grown and we take a great pride in the cooking. As we prepare freshly every day we need to know in advance if you want dinner on your first night here. Not having a restaurant there is no choice of menu, but I always ask visitors if they have any likes or dislikes and work round that. We can cater for most diets given a little notice. The house is licensed although we do not have a bar, preferring to serve drinks when and where they are ordered. We have a short but comprehensive wine list.

The house itself is Victorian, built of Bath stone and has large, airy rooms; it is centrally heated and there is constant hot water! There is a drawing room, sitting room (with television, newspapers and magazines) and, of course, the dining room. Visitors dine together at one table and there is almost always a dinner party atmosphere. Sometimes we join guests for dinner but, as I do almost all the cooking, we usually join them for drinks before or coffee after dinner so that I am not always leaping up and down and disturbing everybody. The drawing room

The hall Breakfast is `what you like when you like it’ although I find that most guests settle for something between 8.00 and 9.00 depending on their plans. If at all possible I `stagger’ the timing to save a mad rush – and breakfast is not always the time for lively conversation! There is always a wide choice of cereals, fresh fruit and cooked dishes; various teas and `real’ or de-caffeinated coffee; jams, jellies and marmalade – usually home made.

All these things are rather a non sequitur as we are still really the private country house of a professional family. However, having travelled widely ourselves, we believe we know the sort of things that may help and interest our visitors.