IT is a “once in a generation” chance to hold the keys to one of Hampshire’s oldest and most spectacular manor houses.

Set in 20-acre grounds with a tennis court, stables and two small cottages, Kilmeston Manor has come on the open market for the first time in more than 100 years – and it could all be yours for a cool £5.5 million.

The picture book building, near Alresford, has been owned by the Smart family since 1902 but current owner Ann Smart wants to downsize from the home which includes eight bedrooms, four grand panelled reception rooms, a study and a billiard room.

Andrew Rome, from estate agents Knight Frank, said: “This is a classic Hampshire manor house in an extremely special spot in one of the best hamlets in the county. It is a once in a generation opportunity.

Properties like this don’t often come on the market.”

The Grade II-listed house, which dates back centuries, features a huge walled garden, two fields and a number of outbuildings.

And any future owner will buy the property knowing that it once played host to Royalty – George IV came to hunt in the area.

Mr Rome added: “The house is significantly cheaper than it would have been, say in 2007.

“People with a lot of money won’t be affected too much by the recession. It is causing quite a stir. There is quite a lot of work to be done on it but it will be worthwhile. This is a rare chance to buy something beautiful.

“You might have to wait another 107 years to have another chance.”