Lansdowne House


A truly unique




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Lansdowne House...

Romantic Weddings in the Wairarapa

Vintage Style Weddings - our speciality

Special Wedding Anniversaries

Wedding Reaffirmations

Milestone birthdays

Family reunions

Leaving functions

Celebratory luncheons

Cocktail parties

Christmas Parties

Private functions

Product launches

Romantic weekend getaways

A dog friendly venue


"Nobody does it better"...





"In the early 1920’s, Hugh Williams, a solicitor and wealthy land owner who was also a quiet, kindly, gentle man, fell in love with Helen Jones, a remarkable woman who had been a Governess to the children of the Governor of Fiji. She had returned to New Zealand and  not wanting to be beholden to anyone, she  had taken a job as a bar maid in the (now demolished) Midlands Hotel. “I love you Helen” he said. “Please marry me.” “No”, she said, “I am not of your class and you would truly be marrying beneath yourself”.  An unconventional man even for those days, Hugh persisted to pursue Helen and finally she agreed to marry him. But sadly, Helen was right. The society matrons of the Wairarapa ostracized her and made it very clear that she was not welcome in their homes. So Hugh spoke once again to his beloved wife. “I will build you a home, so special and so grand that all the ‘so called’ elite both here in Masterton and beyond, will beg for the privilege of an invitation to your beautiful home”.  And thus, at the cost of 8000 pounds, Lansdowne House was built!"


Constructed on the site of New Zealand’s first commercial vineyard, Lansdowne House is a three story ‘tudor’ mansion of some 12000 square feet, built in the style of a grand English country estate. The building boasts the best of English and New Zealand building materials. The wood work is hand selected, native Rimu and Totara with all the mullioned lead light windows imported from England. The grand staircase is beautifully proportioned and all the rooms, both reception and bedrooms are on a larger than life scale with 3.6 metre wood ceilings. Indeed, each of the floors amasses over 4000 square feet (370 square meters). 

The real uniqueness of Lansdowne House is that 80 years after it was built, it is still largely in its original state with all the timber panelling, 6 working fireplaces and superb wooden floors still in excellent order. The originality of the building was the main attraction for new owners, Richard and Kadia Merralls who moved from an 1880’s farmhouse north of Auckland to take on the new challenge of restoring Lansdowne to its former glory. This restoration has been a 'labour of love' for the last two years and will be an ongoing project. However, the major first stage has now been completed and Lansdowne House is ready to open its doors once again.


The work completed on Lansdowne has transformed the old mansion. The floors upstairs and down have been sanded to restore the original colour and gloss. The main downstairs reception rooms which are used extensively for weddings and functions have had 12 spectacular chandeliers erected as well as pelmet mood lighting in a soft yellow or warm red for romantic after dinner dancing. The bar/drawing room has been painted in soft buttermilk to complement Kadia’s large blue and white plate collection. The buffet room with its large, 1850 antique dining table has been painted a vibrant red and the plate rail going right around the room has allowed Kadia to display more of her collection of English plates and bowls. Three huge open fire places add an ambience unequalled today and the rooms look out on a secluded brick courtyard bordered by an original brick icehouse, as well as huge trees, a well established garden and several water features. Guests often comment that it is very peaceful.


As you move upstairs there is another breathtaking chandelier in the stairwell. The wide, wood panelled staircase has two landings and a large leadlight window and has been fitted with a new carpet runner in a rich traditional style with brass rods and finials. At the top of the stairs there is a wide hallway extending the length of the house to the top veranda. All the rooms on this floor also have top quality light fittings and antique furniture which reflect the grandeur of the house. One of the great finds during the restoration process was the 8 matching, antique, French alabaster lights which now adorn the upstairs hallway giving it a magical night time ambience. For the lights still to have all the original brass fittings was a truly amazing discovery.


Moving outside you quickly become aware of the magnitude of this stately home. The grandeur of the house itself is reflected in the magnificence of two huge trees, a white chestnut and a massive elm which stand guard proudly over the driveway leading to the house. From there the drive curves  past three majestic willows and then leads on to impressive lawns and gardens with roses and several water features including a babbling waterfall with an arched bridge and a pond with ever increasing goldfish. This is a calm and restful area where you can read the morning paper under the willows, enjoy the solitude of the bricked courtyard or just lean on the bridge and watch the fish at play.


A Place For All Seasons!




Richard and Kadia Merralls are now celebrating 13 years at Lansdowne House! Over that time they have embarked upon a massive restoration which has been an on going ‘labour of love’. Every room inside the house has been renovated and restored and many, many people have now had the pleasure of marvelling at its grandeur, learning about its history and admiring the plethora of antiques. Those who have stayed all comment that it has been an unforgettable experience, something to tell their grand children! Without exception everyone has said that pictures can never do the place justice. You have to see it to appreciate its size, its magnificence and its special qualities.   


The House - One of a kind! 



Built on the site of a much older house still evident in the Servants’ Quarters, the main structure of Lansdowne House is now more than 90 years old. What makes it absolutely unique is that most of it has remained unchanged since the day it was built. From the beautiful Rimu panelling to the 6 working fireplaces, the superb wooden floors, the Butler’s Pantry, the leadlight windows and the original green safe, it is all still there and used every day just as it was intended to be.

Downstairs you will find the huge ballroom able to seat up to 120 guests comfortably or, for smaller groups of fewer than 35 people, the enormous Rimu panelled doors can be pulled across for more intimate dining. The 12 spectacular chandeliers, the warm red and soft yellow pelmet lighting, the abundance of flickering candles and the open fireplaces all contribute to the atmosphere which cannot be replicated in modern buildings.

The bar/drawing room is painted in soft buttermilk to complement Kadia’s large blue and white plate collection. The dining/buffet room with its large 1850 mahogany dining table has been painted in vibrant red and the plate rail going right around the room has allowed Kadia to display more of her English plates and bowls. Both of these rooms look out onto a secluded brick courtyard with a striking water feature. It is bordered by the original brick icehouse and enclosed with formal plantings of buxus and vibrant red Dublin Bay roses.


As you move upstairs the breathtaking stairwell chandelier sparkles above you. The wide panelled staircase with its two landings, carpet runner with brass rods and finials and large leadlight window provide the perfect backdrop for a bride to descend downstairs to her wedding on the arm of her father, mother, or indeed both together – there is plenty of room!

The upstairs rooms are spectacular – large, traditional and filled with antiques. The honeymoon suite, named the Williams Suite after Hugh and Helen has been painted in a rich red and soft cream – red being the colour for good luck. It combines antique furniture and an open fire with luxurious bedding and a well equipped ensuite featuring the original hand basin. The Eastwood suite at the other end of the wide hallway has a wrought iron four poster and like the Williams Suite it combines antique furniture with top of the range bedding. This suite along with the Scott bedroom share the huge family bathroom which contains the original claw food bath and hand basin as well as the largest ‘walk in’ shower in Masterton. The Scott room has twin antique beds with matching dressing table and tallboy as well as a display of antique evening hand bags and gloves.


As you move outside you quickly become aware of the magnitude of this stately home. The grandeur of the house itself is reflected in the magnificence of two huge trees, a white Horse Chestnut and a massive Elm which stand guard proudly over the driveway leading to the house. From there the drive curves past three majestic Willows and then leads on to the impressive gardens with five large Golden Ash trees as well several water features including a babbling pond with ever increasing gold fish spanned by an arched bridge. As a symbol of good luck our brides walk over the bridge on their wedding day and on to the rose arbor of red and white roses in the shape of a horseshoe set out with white chairs and topped with a wrought iron gazebo. This is a calm and restful area, somewhere to sit and reflect and to watch the Tuis and the Fantails at play.


Set in the gardens with its own private driveway this is a classic 1970’s architecturally designed three bedroom home with all of its original features in tact. It is the perfect retreat for couples wanting a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, for small wine groups touring this fabulous wine region or for wedding parties & family groups wanting to catch up with one another. Equally the Villa is an ideal ‘home away from home’ for visiting medical Consultants and professionals needing a quiet place to complete work or for relaxation. The Villa meets the needs of many and guests comment that not only is it much larger than it looks it is also warm, cosy and peaceful with the added bonus of bookshelves loaded with books and games for some old fashioned R & R!