Balaton Lodge: a Newmarket property once used for training horses and as an animal charity's home
Offering six bedrooms, five reception rooms and a basement gym, and set in almost an acre of beautiful, landscaped grounds, Balaton Lodge in Newmarket is an exceptional and wonderfully spacious family home in a much sought-after location.
The property, which is on the market for £2.5 million, is believed to have been built in 1890 and was initially called Zetland Lodge.
It was originally used as a racehorse training establishment and was eventually renamed Balaton Lodge – after Lake Balaton in Hungary, the largest lake in central Europe – by trainer William Waugh.
Its association with animals did not end there. In 1946, Dr W.R. Wooldridge, who four years earlier had founded the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, lived there and used it as the charity’s home.
Although it has been modernised, many attractive period features remain, including open fireplaces, high ceilings and bay windows.
The present occupiers – who asked not to be identified – have been living at Balaton Lodge, in Snailwell Road, since 2002.
A married couple with four children, two of whom have left home, they hope to move to a new-build near Cambridge to be closer to their children’s schools.
In their 15 years at Balaton Lodge they have installed a new kitchen on three occasions and overseen tasteful extensions to the sitting room and games room, with the help of an interior designer.
The dining room was redone about two years ago and a gym was installed in the cellar – which, prior to that, had been two separate rooms – around six years ago.
The extension was one of the first changes the family made soon after moving in and the project took nine months to complete.
“Basically, this used to be the patio,” said the lady of the house, originally from Birmingham, gesturing towards the part of the sitting room that now backs onto the well-maintained garden. “When we bought the house, this room was so slim and tiny it wasn’t really big enough for a family.
“The extension meant we could use it as a family room and a playroom for the children. I love it because it’s very light and airy – and very relaxing.”
She added: “For a family, this is a great house. It would be lovely if it could go to another one.”
Describing her taste in interior design, the lady of the house said: “I’m more into subtler colours, not bold heavy colours, and hopefully people like it.”
As well as its opulent interiors and gorgeous gardens, the views from upstairs look out onto picturesque horse racing gallops owned by Sheikh Mohammed, known for his fine collection of thoroughbreds.
In conclusion, the homeowner said: “It’s a beautiful-sized garden – very spacious, very homely.
“I remember when I first stepped in, it just felt like home. We love it here, but logistics-wise, we need to move towards Cambridge.”