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ScotlandÕs Most Expensive Property

09 June 2014

They say an Englishman’s home is his castle, but who says it has to be in England? Located just three miles from Edinburgh, Craigcrook Castle looks like a home fit for any fairytale. Architecturally Craigcrook sits somewhere between a Loire chateau and Downton Abbey. It is approached through wrought-iron gates and up a sweeping drive. Its towers and battlements look like something from an old-fashioned toy box. Abundant wildlife only adds to the effect. A kestrel hovers above the ramparts, a young deer strolls under a sequoia tree. Rabbits play on the grass near rhododendrons. The list of guests is a literary Who’s Who as well. Charles Dickens, Hans Christian Andersen, George Eliot and Alfred Lord Tennyson all stayed here. In the 19th century, Lord Francis Jeffrey, the owner at the time, would host artistic retreats for the literary giants with leapfrog on the lawn and sumptuous soirees. The castle became a centre of cultural gatherings, inspiring English poet Gerald Massey to write one of his most accomplished poems – Craigcrook Castle. It is an inspirational building with an amazing history, on the market for the first time in nearly three hundred years. Originally built in 1542 by William Adamson, it was transferred through several owners before John Strachan, Writer to the Signet, acquired the property. He then left it to the Craigcrook Mortification Trust in 1719. Now on sale for the first time since, Craigcrook is a £6m Grade “B” Listed gem. The earlier building was a typical Scottish z-plan, where each tower protects two faces of the house. Additions and changes over the centuries have obscured this design while adding extra living space. While it is a magnificent castle from the outside, however, on the inside Craigcrook is a bit of a surprise. Enter through an enormous heavy wooden door, walk up a stone spiral staircase and a warren of rooms waits. But here you won’t find the homestaged Euro greige that so many interior designers favour. For the past 48 years, the building has been let and used as offices. Bar a few curtains, carpets and an Orient Express clock hanging in the hallway, it is empty. The perfect blank canvas, in other words. Now the castle is waiting an adventurous owner to breathe new life into these walls. Plans have already been drawn up to convert the property into a five bedroom family home (subject to planning permission) by Lord Macneal Architects. It would make a fabulous place to live. The grand hall has original features, including oak floor boards, beautiful wooden panelling and a stately fireplace with a griffin tile mosaic. A bright yellow-wallpapered dining rooms boasts an elaborate ceiling rose and cornices. The snug, meanwhile, is regally decorated in sapphire blue wallpaper with wide windows that overlook the estate. No need for curtains when you have original window shutters. In one corner, a Alice in Wonderland-style door opens to a secret room. This time it is a twisting staircase, going up to a study, then the future bedrooms on the floors above. At the top, ramparts and crenellations stand triumphantly beneath an empty flagpole in this year of the Scottish independence vote. Wherever you stand politically, there is no doubt that this house will suit the independently minded. If this castle sells for £6m, then it will be Edinburgh’s - and probably Scotland’s - most expensive homes. Grand estates might fetch more, but not houses such as this one. But the initial investment doesn’t include the cost of renovating a property on this scale. The figure of bringing it up to speed could be anything from £1m-£2m, depending on the detail. It is hard to estimate the final cost at this stage. To off-set this expenditure, on the other hand, the house would be well placed to generate an income. It could double as a wedding venue, or even a small hotel. With four acres, including a gatehouse and stables, the leisure potential is open-ended. Being only a short drive from the centre of Edinburgh, the house is easily accessible via road, rail or the airport. It might look like something out of a Hans Christian Andersen story. But for the right buyer, Craigcrook is a real prospect with serious potential. Craigcrook Castle in Ravelston, Edinburgh is for sale at £6m through Sotheby’s International Realty (020 7495 9580) and Ballantynes (0131 459 2222) Source – The Telegraph

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