7 bedrooms | 7 Bathroom/shower rooms
Gibraltar House, Cookham, Berkshire, SL6. £7,200,000
Positioned High above the River Thames, this impressive and secluded, castellated period house dating from 1885, has expansive panoramic views, and incorporates a separate home office, ancillary staff accommodation and garaging, (totalling 7744 square feet – 719 m²).
The author of Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Graham famously wrote: “Believe me my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”: Kenneth was raised by his grandmother in Cookham Dean and may have taken his inspiration from stays at his family’s boat house just along the reach from Gibraltar House. What is extraordinary about the design of this unique historic mansion is that all of the reception rooms and bedrooms have breath-taking views up and down the river Thames, a picture-perfect landscape of willows, reeds, and a gentle river rolling past. The panoramic views extend across to the distant hills beyond Marlow.
The main house, with six bedrooms, lies some 32 feet above the river, and has winding garden pathways leading down to a private 206ft (63m) river front and mooring. A reception hall leads to a fabulous open plan kitchen adjoining a dining room area and a sitting room. The vendor, who has lived here for 26 years, loves the juxtaposition and versatility of the open fire during autumn and winter months and the ability to open up the bifold and French doors onto the verandah in the spring and summer to create an exhilarating feeling of space for indoor/outdoor living and dining.
A separate formal 32-foot-long drawing room, with oak flooring, is large enough for a grand piano, and also offers French doors to the wrap around verandah. This spectacular space has open fire places at both ends. The reception rooms have underfloor heating, air conditioning and a speaker system which can be operated (along with the TVs and CCTV and lighting) via a tablet linked to the Crestron media system.
The kitchen/dining room area is very well appointed for a chef and incorporates a four-oven gas Aga with a warming hot plate and a sub-zero wine fridge as well as a large centre island.
On the first floor the main bedroom suite incorporates a substantial dressing room as well as a bathroom ensuite with a glass ceiling over the sunken bath looking up through castellations to the stars. The ensuite also incorporates a seated shower and steam room. The principal bedroom is a very large room with excellent river views and a triple aspect as well as a lovely private balcony overlooking the garden. There are a further two en suite bedrooms on this floor, plus a fourth double bedroom with private balcony and a family bathroom. The private balcony is shaded by an enormous Beech tree, and has panoramic views along the Thames to the east.
A second floor has a very substantial retreat with its own ensuite and games room, a superb area for teenagers to escape to for slumber parties.
On the lower ground floor, a large guest suite and gym could be self-contained, as there is a kitchenette, ensuite and private terrace area. This floor also has a fabulous wine tasting room with 4 Eurocave temperature-controlled wine fridges capable of holding well over 200 bottles.
Across the level lawn there are two outbuildings. A triple garage with a tiled floor and an inspection pit has stairs up to a large home office with its own kitchenette and ensuite bathroom. There is also a studio bedroom/office with a separate bathroom, and storage room. A further storage room for boating equipment lies near the private mooring (the vendor has moored a 35-foot boat here).
The house has some interesting history. The present owner had a visit from one of the children that a Mrs Wolf took in during the war, to create a sanctuary away from the bombing in London. Most owners seem to stay for decades. The house was extensively extended by the present owners with a four-story extension, rewiring and plumbing throughout and the addition of the verandas through a local architect.
Neighbours are well hidden from the house by shelter belts and the hill opposite the house is cloaked in woodland rising to Winter Hill. The house is screened from Gibraltar Lane, a no through road, by a high brick and flint wall and imposing double entrance gates.
The nearby town of Marlow offers an eclectic mix of local independent and national retailers with numerous bars, cafes and restaurants around the town suited for any occasion. Marlow has Tom Kerridge’s 2 Michelin stars Hand and Flowers restaurant. The celebrated French restaurant, The Waterside Inn is at Bray only six miles away, and Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, also at Bray is a 3 Michelin star restaurant. The wider area opens out to yet more glorious rolling countryside and a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is excellent walking within the Thames Valley and Chiltern countryside.
Cookham is a beautiful historic Thames side village close to the village of Marlow. A comprehensive range of private and state schooling options in the area, both primary and secondary, include Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School which is three miles away in Marlow, Eton, Harrow, Wycombe Abbey, Caldicot Preparatory School, Sunningdale, Ludgrove and Lambrook Haileybury, and St Marys Ascot are all within half an hour’s drive. These are amongst England’s top prep and secondary schools The region is well served for sporting facilities including golf at Maidenhead, Marlow, Temple, and Henley golf clubs; horse racing at Windsor, Ascot and Newbury; polo at Smith’s Lawn and The Royal Berkshire Polo Club at Winkfield; boating and sailing on the River Thames and at nearby Henley, home to the renowned Henley Regatta. The elegant 17th Century Mansion Hotel Cliveden House and Spa is just 4.4 miles away, which offers an exclusive social and country club membership. Cookham is one of England’s most idyllic and desirable places to live.
This area has easy access to London via trains from Cookham station (1.8miles) to Maidenhead and then to Paddington, in 52 minutes. The new Crossrail/ Elizabeth line is due in 2022 to run from Reading to Paddington and into the city via Maidenhead in under half an hour. Or both the M40 and M4 provide access to London with a 28 mile – 45-minute drive to Knightsbridge (depending on the time of day).
Viewings by appointment only.
- 25 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, W1J 6HN
2 Bedrooms | 1 Bathroom