Buy a castle and have something to be really Queenie about

Castles aren't just for royalty. Ruth Bloomfield finds fortress homes for sale, moats and all
So, this is just a thought but, as the nation succumbs to Jubilee fever — or at least the joy of a four-day weekend — why not consider going one better than most by buying a house with turrets, a moat and a dungeon.

Six years ago Robin Macdonald did just that and he's been living like a monarch ever since.

Caverswall Castle, Stoke-on-Trent, is surrounded by a moat
£3 million: Caverswall Castle, Stoke-on-Trent, complete with a moat, dates from the 13th century

The buy-to-let property millionaire, brought up in a three-bedroom semi in Manchester, had made his fortune and was looking for a trophy country house, when he stumbled upon the decrepit but lovely Caverswall Castle near Stoke-on-Trent. Macdonald, 41, was hooked by the romance of the place and bought it in 2005 for £1.8 million, following a line of owners including include a Saxon warlord and the Wedgwood family.

Since then he has spent a "ridiculous amount" of money restoring the Grade I-listed 13th century building.

"How many rooms has it got? I really should count it up," he says, "20 bedrooms, 14 reception rooms, 17 bathrooms, and numerous other bits and bobs. I'd say 50 to 60."

Somewhat unsurprisingly Macdonald then began to realise his 21,000 sq ft property was a little large, and he missed his family and friends in Manchester. So now the castle is for sale with Strutt & Parker ( for £3 million.

Trains take 90 minutes from the nearest mainline station, Stoke-on-Trent, to Euston. "And the courtyard is big enough for a helicopter to land," MacDonald points out.

Bath Lodge Castle, in Somerset
£1.9 million: picture perfect Bath Lodge Castle, in Somerset, has a hot tub in the grounds

The home counties has a dearth of commutable castles but for something a little closer to home Bath Lodge Castle in Somerset was built in 1806 as a gate lodge for Farleigh Castle. It is on the market with Country Manor Estates ( for offers over £1.9 million.

The building looks like it comes direct from central casting, but it has had a 21st century facelift. In its grounds lurk a hot tub, sauna, outdoor shower and barbecue area — just the place to host a very impressive Jubilee party.

As an alternative to all this grandeur, but equally regal, Kingsmere House in Walton-on-Thames was built for King George V, the Queen's grandfather, as a gift to mark his Silver Jubilee.

Sadly the King died before he lived there, and it was used for royal visitors until the 1950s when it was sold off. This unique piece of royal history could be yours for £3.5 million (

If you want something a bit more lock up and leave you could consider Netley Castle in Southampton, originally a fort built by King Henry VIII and later rebuilt in the Gothic style. Netley has been carved up into apartments and Winkworths ( has a three bedroom flat on the market for £795,000. A private patio replaces rolling gardens but it does have mod cons including a designer kitchen and an ensuite bathroom.


Killochan Castle, near Girvan, is worth the trek to Ayrshire and would make a fabulous holiday home for a huntin' and fishin' family.

The gorgeous 14th-century castle is said to be one of the finest in Scotland. It was designed to resist aggressors with shot holes in the turrets and a space over the front door through which boiling oil can be poured over any unwanted guests. A dramatic but effective way of saying don't come for the weekend.

Torosay Castle, Isle of Mull
Offers above £1.65 million: Torosay Castle, Isle of Mull, comes complete with spectacular views

Even more remote is Torosay Castle on the Isle of Mull. This A-Listed castle looks the part, but is virtually a new build, having been designed in 1858, but that can be forgiven because of its astonishing coastal views.

It is on the market with Knight Frank and Savills ( for offers above £1.65 million.


Ogle Castle in Northumberland, which dates back to 1341, has an almost cottagey feel with low, beamed ceilings. With nine bedrooms this mini castle is on the sale for £1.5 million with Sanderson Young (

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