High Kelling house is a national finalist

A stunning historic home in north Norfolk is a finalist in the search for England's favourite house.

Voewood at High Kelling near Holt has been named in the shortlist alongside fellow Norfolk contender Elsing Hall near Dereham.

The award run by Country Life and Savills estate was launched in the autumn and nearly 150 nominations were received from people who chose houses they knew or admired from afar, as well as from owners themselves.

The 12 finalists have been split into four regions and the judges, including the Oscar-winning writer and creator of Downton Abbey Julian Fellowes, will be visiting all the properties over the next few weeks.

Voewood's most striking feature is its Arts-and-Crafts brickwork fa�ade. After 70 years' use as rest and convalescence homes, the interiors have undergone a sensitive restoration under the current owner.

Its grounds, featuring a rose garden and a walled garden, were laid out when the house was built and are Grade I listed.

Judges will take into account a number a elements including the layout, appearance and setting and setting of the homes.

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Among them will be pottery designer Emma Bridgewater who said: 'The perfect house has that sort of mysterious, back of the wardrobe quality that opens into a different world.

'For me, it's not about splendid isolation or grand scale. It's more about that strange mood that some houses have which gives a sense of completeness. The sense of transition that takes you out of the humdrum into somewhere special and that can happen regardless of scale or grandeur - it's rather magical.'

The winners are due to be announced in the spring.

Voewood is a popular wedding venue, and also runs public events. Forthcoming dates include a creative writing weekend with author Raffaela Barker on March 4-6, willow workshops starting on February 23 and music and humour from John Renbourn and Robin Williamson on April 28. More details from 01263 713029, www.voewood.com.