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Online House Hunter: Living in Downton Abbey

Alan Cleaver
oakley 300x198 Online House Hunter: Living in Downton Abbey

Oakley Hall: With a chance to buy a two-bedroom flat in this property

THE fall of prices in the housing market could mean – writes Phil Boucher in today’s Independent – that you could snap up a bargain castle or manor house, particularly if it needs some serious Tender Loving Care. But the article – and hat’s off to the sub editor who came up with the headline, Downturn Abbey – reveals you’re still going to need a couple of million pounds at least in your back pocket.

I’ve written before about how you can end up living in a castle for a much more conservative amount of cash by buying or renting a flat in one wing of the castle. However, with the return of period drama Downton Abbey (filmed at Highclere in Berkshire) I thought I’d point out some of the mansion houses currently offering flats to buy or rent. You do need to bear in mind you are probably going to be part of a complex and so closer than you might like to the neighbours and there may be restrictions on any decorating or improvements you’d want to carry. You’ll also need to be clear on who pays for the maintenance of this historic pile. But the temptation of inviting friends round to dinner and watching their jaws drop as they come up the driveway might blind you to any minor annoyances!

A browse of the Independent property search engine reveals a good case in point: a two-bedroom flat for sale in the very impressive Oakley Hall (pictured), near Cirencester for just £295,000.  After your friends have been wowed by the driveway, they will be greeted by the palatial entrance hall and commanding staircase. There is a communal garden.

Or how about living in the west wing of a Grade I listed palladian mansion in Rutland? The property reflects the 17th century building and its rich history. In fact the mansion was split into its current six properties in the 1990s by the architect Kit Martin and won him Country Life’s Genius of the Place Award in 2007. The two-bedroom flat in the west wing is on the market for £325,000.

At £1,200,000 is a three-bedroom flat for sale in Sevenoaks, Kent. Emmetts House is set on National Trust property and looks across the North Downs national park. There are three bedroom, three bathrooms, reception rooms and a private tennis court.

Up the road from ‘Downton Abbey’ (Highclere) is Newbury, Berkshire where you will find this four-bedroom apartment for sale in the west wing of Deanwood House. It is on the market for £795,000. I suspect any potential buyers will be won over within seconds of walking in that astonishing entrance hall or walking up the historic staircase.

Many mansion houses rent out apartments and in Wellington Square, Cheltenham, you will find this two-bedroom flat available at £1250 pcm. It’s set in a castellated town centre property that will have you searching the Yellow Pages for a butler to serve you your meals!

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