Written by Carly O'Brien | 3rd September 2018

Lifestyle

Buying a country estate (or part of one)

Britain’s stately homes are the envy of the world. On a visit to Waddesdon Manor, Easton Neston or Stowe, we can’t be alone here at Michael Graham in wondering what it must be like to live in such an awe-inspiring property.

Although the weighty price tag and maintenance costs of a sprawling country estate rule out the dream for many, there is a solution. Buying a wing of a stately home offers a way to enjoy all the splendour of a country estate lifestyle, but at a fraction of the usual cost.

Wings are self-contained, family-sized homes within a castle, manor house or stately home. One huge benefit they offer to buyers searching for a historic property is that any costly alterations using the specific materials and specialist builders to comply with English Heritage have already been completed. Grand architecture is important to these buyers who are often downsizing from a country house and want the same lifestyle but without the associated costs and hassle. High ceilings, big windows and original features are non-negotiable, but freedom from astronomical heating bills and endless maintenance jobs are a welcome relief.  Wings are also a popular choice with second-home buyers who want a bolt-hole in the country. The security of a community of residents in a converted country estate gives invaluable peace of mind when you lock up and leave and head back to town.  Buyers can also be families who see it as the safest form of countryside living, a place where their children can whizz around on bikes and play in the safety of extensive private grounds.

Fewer and fewer stately homes are being sold as one lot these days and conversions vary considerably. There can be between 3 and 25 properties within one estate, so it’s vital to be clear about what you’re looking for. If you buy a wing, you may well have a private garden and terrace as well as access to acres of communal gardens and grounds which can include anything from woodland to paddocks. Conversions often have managing agents and there will usually be a service charge to factor in for the general upkeep of those grounds and the building. Technically it might not all be yours, but you can indulge in the fantasy that it is. 

Take a look at the Michael Graham properties below if you’ve ever dreamed of the Downton Abbey lifestyle. 

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