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Swaffham Bulbeck house boasts delightful period living

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Burlings Cottage, Swaffham Bulbeck
Burlings Cottage, Swaffham Bulbeck

Burlings Cottage is a refurbished, grade II-listed residence in a lovely setting.

On the market with Redmayne, Arnold & Harris, this charming, detached family home boasts accommodation of around 3,000 sq ft and is laid out in an interesting, well-thought-out way, complemented by its impressive period features.

On the ground floor, the entrance door leads to a small lobby and the dining room – a lovely room with ceiling beams and a large inglenook fireplace and door to the garden and a concealed staircase.

Another door leads to the family room, again with wall and ceiling timbers. The kitchen/breakfast room has been completely remodelled and refitted by the current owners and has a door with steps down to the cellar.

The hall/study area has useful storage cupboards and stairs leading to two of the five bedrooms. Access from the kitchen/breakfast room leads to the large rear reception hall with a door to the cloakroom, single and double doors open to the rear garden and access to the drawing room – a fine space with a large fireplace and recently-installed wood-burner.

On the first floor there are four bedrooms. The master bedroom is accessed via the dining room and has a recently refitted shower room. Bedroom 2 is accessed from the staircase in the kitchen/breakfast room and also has a refitted en-suite bathroom.

Outside, there is a driveway providing parking and access to the rear courtyard where there is a small fishpond.

There is also a detached outbuilding which has been converted to provide annexe-style accommodation including an en-suite double bedroom, utility/kitchen area, reception hall and office/studio. The outbuilding also includes a garage.

The remainder of the gardens are located at the rear and are laid to lawn.

Helena Bailey, who is originally from Suffolk, is the present owner and has lived at Burlings Cottage since 2015.

On what first drew her to it, she said: “I think the village location. It’s right opposite The Denny in Swaffham Bulbeck, which is a massive village green, and the village has a pub and a shop and it’s a really good community – and it’s 12 minutes into Cambridge, subject to traffic.”

Having previously lived in Wickhambrook, Helena moved to Swaffham Bulbeck to be closer to Cambridge and Ely, where her three children were at school.

She notes that her cottage is like a TARDIS, what with all the space it’s got inside. “From the outside, it looks like a normal cottage,” said Helena, “but then when you go in, it’s really spacious.

"I’ve always lived in old properties and I was just amazed at the flexibility of the layout.

“Because you’ve got three separate staircases, it really suits slightly older children. Everyone gets their own space away from each other, which is quite nice. One of my kids says it’s like having your own apartment!”

Period features of note inside the home include original beams and fireplaces, while there are further period delights to be found outside.

“I think because the outside buildings were once agricultural - at one point they were stables and things – you get a sense of that history of it,” said Helena, who believes the original core of the cottage dates back to the 17th century.

“Although I’ve converted all the outside space, it just feels like it’s a house that’s meant to be lived in. It feels like every room has its space and a purpose – it just feels loved and every person who’s lived here has added to it.”

The main addition undertaken in Helena’s time there is the conversion of the old stable block into a separate annexe, although that is by no means the only thing.

“Since we’ve been here, we’ve renovated the kitchens and the bathrooms - they were done a few months ago - and the house has all been done up since I’ve been here,” said Helena.

“It was nice before but they were an elderly couple, so everything’s been modernised a little bit.”

The family are hoping to move to the Suffolk countryside as the children are no longer at school in Cambridge. “I think Cambridge is great when you need to be there a lot – it’s such a thriving city – but I don’t really need to be near a city any more.

"I’m excited about a new adventure, but I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to go. I love the house, absolutely love it.”

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