How to buy a slice of luxurious Scottish manors

Buying a stake in a stately home can have a lot of benefits, particularly for downsizers, finds Kirsty McLuckie

Thursday, 25th May 2017, 10:53 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:06 pm
Houston House in Renfrewshire. Picture: JP

Purchasing a stately home in its own landscaped grounds is out of the reach for all but a handful of buyers, but there are ways of achieving all the perks of a historic home without the multi-million pound price tag, or the management and maintenance of owning your own prestigious estate.

Many of the grandest estate houses in Scotland have been converted into apartments where owners can enjoy the best rooms and features, while sharing the cost and work involved in maintaining the property and garden.

While in most cases it is still not a cheap option, purchasing part of a property like this does equate to an exclusive address and it is an increasingly popular move with downsizers, particularly those moving from sizeable detached homes.

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Room sizes in such homes will fit a collection of antique furniture, and access to amenities such as formal rose gardens, grand terraces and tennis courts allows co-owners to live the life of a laird or lady with a degree of security living next to others.

Often these homes have bespoke period features and a history dating back centuries.

Buyers can choose whether they want an apartment which incorporates a ballroom, a state dining room or a more modest conversion of the upper or lower floors but still with all the satisfaction of living in your own domain, albeit with a few close neighbours.

Houston House in Renfrewshire has an illustrious history with links to Glasgow tobacco lord Alexander Speirs.

The present building was built between 1872 and 1905 to a design by David Thompson, which involved the building of a number of wings to create the house while incorporating remaining parts of Houston Castle which dated back to 1160.

It was divided into six discrete apartments between 1994 and 1997.

The Garden Wing of Houston House, which is now for sale, still represents a home of over 3,500sq ft.

It is over three floors and shares the great hall in the centre of the building with other residents. This is an impressive room with panelling, pillars, ornate decoration and chandeliers which can accommodate 100 guests, perfect for a wedding or hosting grand parties.

The Garden Wing itself has a breakfasting kitchen and dining room, plus fourth bedroom and bathroom at garden level, a beautiful library, morning room and reception hall on its middle floor and three bedrooms and two bathrooms at first-floor level.

It also has possibly the best of the views, with south-westerly aspects over the immaculate gardens and rolling lawns. The apartment has its own private walled garden too.

No 74 Spylaw Road in Edinburgh is a B-listed house dating from 1820 and was converted into apartments in 2006. Currently available is a three-bedrooomed main door flat with its own garden,

The flat incorporates the original drawing room, which measures 30ft and is now open plan to the kitchen. Floor-to-ceiling windows give access to the private south-facing terrace.

Properties at Donibristle House in Dalgety Bay, Fife, offer buyers a slice of history too.

The category A-listed estate has links to the Earls of Moray.