x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Scottish castle for price of Dubai villa

A clutch of Scottish castles are coming to the market including the childhood home of Game of Thrones star Rose Leslie.

According to the estate agent Knight Frank, Lickleyhead Castle, in Insch, Aberdeenshire, comes with seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, drawing room, dining room and a gardener’s cottage in four hectares of grounds. Knight Frank
According to the estate agent Knight Frank, Lickleyhead Castle, in Insch, Aberdeenshire, comes with seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, drawing room, dining room and a gardener’s cottage in four hectares of grounds. Knight Frank

Fancy becoming the king of the castle?

For anyone with a spare million pounds or so, dozens of castles in Britain, Ireland and Europe are coming to the market as the country house market shows signs of recovery.

And many of them are going for less than an upmarket villa in Dubai.

One of the most notable is the 16th century former home of the Game of Thrones star Rose Leslie in Insch, Aberdeenshire, which the 26-year-old Scottish actress’ father has decided to sell.

According to the estate agent Knight Frank, Lickleyhead Castle, which lies 45 kilometres north-west of Aberdeen, the oil capital of Scotland, comes with seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, drawing room, dining room and a gardener’s cottage in four hectares of grounds.

The castle, which is thought to have been built in 1560 on the site of an earlier structure, was first mentioned in a document in 1499. After belonging to the Leith, Forbes, Duff and Lumsden families, the castle was bought by Don Guillermo de Landa y Escamdon, the governor of Mexico City, and Rose Leslie’s great great grandfather, for his daughter Maria Luz, who had married into the Arbuthnot-Leslie family, and in whose ownership the castle remains.

The Leslie family now lives in another home, the 12th century Warthill Castle in Rayne, Aberdeenshire. It’s thought the family felt it no longer needed two homes within a few kilometres of each other.

With an asking price of £1.3 million (Dh7.6m), the castle comes cheaper than many prime Dubai villas.

Other Scottish castles currently on the market include Myres Castle, the former seat of the earls of Fife near St Andrews, comprises 10 bedrooms, a library and a billiards room and is set in 18 hectares of grounds. It is currently on the market through both Knight Frank and Savills for £2.5m.

Castle Gogar, an ancient five-bedroom baronial turreted mansion In Edinburgh on 1.5 hectares of land is being marketed by Knight Frank and Savills for £2.9m.

And part of Bonaly Tower, an 18th century fortress renowned for hosting meetings of Edinburgh writers, is also up for sale. The building has since been converted into flats. Knight Frank is marketing a three-bedroom apartment in the tower for £795,000.

Q&A

Why are there so many Scottish castles on the market?

With an estimated 3,000 castles having been built in Scotland, there are always a fair few on the market at any one time. However, with the country house market showing signs of recovery and sterling still weak against the US dollar making purchases more affordable for overseas buyers, many advisers are saying that it is a good time to sell.

What’s the most expensive?

The 2,000 hectare Kinpurnie estate, near Blairgowrie has recently come on the market for an asking price of £29 million (Dh170m) – making it the most valuable Scottish estate ever to come to the market.

But what’s the most expensive that has sold?

The Cherrytrees estate near Yetholme in the Scottish borders which sold for £8m in 2008.

Are many big estates sold?

According to Savills, 15 Scottish estates have sold for more than £4m have been bought by private parties since 2007.

lbarnard@thenational.ae