When the Unique Homestays events team sat around a table to brainstorm a venue for their springtime soirée, it only seemed fitting to pick a garden oasis that would symbolise the hope and fanfare that comes with the season. So, on a balmy May afternoon, homeowners were cordially invited to fairytale home Castle India for one of the company’s bi-annual get-togethers.

An image of a sub-tropical garden, with pool, surrounded by people

Left: an image of people walking along a pathway to an old castle. Right: an image of a lady wearing a white and red floral dress, stroking a golden labrador

The private country retreat joined the Unique Homestays portfolio in 2022 and is home to designers Frieda and Javvy, who split their time between Cornwall and London depending on the demands of their luxury B Corp interiors brand, House of Hackney.

On a hill overlooking a sparkling inlet where the Tamar Estuary meets the Celtic Sea, the Eden-esque estate comprises romantic 14th-century ruins, an ancient castle keep encircled by wildflowers, and a Georgian manor house that has been transformed by its current custodians in the image of Mother Nature herself, their signature maximalist prints licking every surface.

An image of two women stood between giant, potted palm trees in front of an outdoor pool

Left: an image of two banana trees in the sun, surrounded by sub-tropical plants. Right: An image of two people standing in a doorway to the barn, they are in the sun and the forefront is in shade

 

As well as catch-up on business goings-on over cocktails and canapes (provided by organic farmers and event caterers Kit & Kee), party guests were invited to peruse the house and wander the nine-acres of lush gardens that were conceived by previous owners and landscapers Isabel and Julian Bannerman.

Rambling roses, lupines and lilies brought bursts of colour and fragrance, while sub-tropical palms cast shadows on thick carpets of bluebells and primroses in the evening sun. Aromatic wild herbs scented the air, journeying from garden to orchard and down to the ornate pool hidden behind a secret arched gate.

At the lower reaches of the garden, the pool area was carved out in 1812, with structures imported from India as a romantic gesture from a previous owner to their lover. Over two centuries later, it reminds us that we are merely guardians of such age-old residences. Lucky keyholders to some of the UK’s most extraordinary homes, privileged to be able to share them.

An image of self-catering homestay, Castle India's pool area in the sun. It is surrounded by sun loungers and palm trees.

Left: an image of two men talking and laughing by the side of an outdoor pool. Right: an image taken across an outdoor pool of a sophisticated pool party.

An image of two botanical sun loungers, between large sub-tropical potted plants, by the side of an outdoor pool.

Left: an image of three women talking. They are surrounded by palm trees and are in the sun. Right: An image of a man wearing a suit and sunglasses talking to a group of people. They are in a tropical garden.

If you have an out-of-the-ordinary home and would like to join the social circle that includes celebrated designers and glamorous aristocrats, learn more about how to become a Unique Homestays owner. Or, if you fancy hiring Castle India for yourself, take a closer look at the iconic country pile that has graced the pages of Elle Decoration and Architectural Digest.

Images thanks to Oliver Reed.