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Country Houses: A Great British Tradition

The country house, whether a Georgian gem, Victorian Gothic wonder, delightful Edwardian house or a more modern and minimalistic property, the appeal of this very British property entity, sitting within its own private grounds and looking out over undisturbed and peaceful surroundings, has never been stronger.

As a firm, we have specialised in the sale of country houses for the length of our pedigree, which stretches back over a hundred years and looking back through the archives the great delight in marketing them is as evident today as it was in the past.

Of course, details and points of note within today’s brochure have changed considerably compared to those required in 1921 but many of the core elements on today’s wish list were just as desirable as they are today. These include a quiet peaceful countryside setting, the ability to enjoy the gardens and grounds and to have a house of scale, with space not just for the family but for friends to come and stay. The renewed interest in the outdoors, gardening, trees and nature in general can all be enjoyed from the usually extensive grounds, indeed some still have their walled gardens which can form part of the new owners weekend projects of bringing them back to life!

The house itself is of course key. Very often the period features, both inside and out, such as fine cornicing, period fireplaces, panelled doors, astragal windows, crow steps and maybe even a portico or turret, are often greatly hoped for, together with rooms of scale and proportion. However, the purpose and use of particular rooms may change as how we live today is not as we did decades ago. However, the great benefit of the country house is it offers size and therefore flexibility.

Over the last 24 months, Galbraith has seen a lengthy flurry and considerable demand for the typical country house from both national and international buyers, across its network of offices from Hexham to Elgin and Inverness in the Highlands and all the other offices in between. Rod Christie, from our Highlands region, says “Holme Rose comprised a magnificent residential estate with a substantial Georgian country house, various cottages, lands extending to over 350 acres including delightful amenity woodland and private fishings on the River Nairn. Holme Rose house and grounds sat at the heart of the Estate and was undoubtedly the central draw.  It offered the grandeur and style befitting an important house of this nature with the benefits for being only 10 minutes from Inverness Airport.  Significant interest was achieved once viewings were permitted in June 2020 resulting in an excellent offer being accepted. ” 

Rannoch Lodge, Perthshire is another example which attracted strong buyer demand. A period house, set within about 30 acres of immediate gardens and grounds, on the highly scenic banks of Loch Rannoch and dating back to the 18th Century. Indeed it has a wonderful history of including some notable guests including a young Winston Churchill, Andrew Carnegie and Elizabeth Taylor, who is believed to have dropped in by helicopter.

The unusual Balcary Tower, in Dumfries and Galloway, marketed by David Corrie from our Castle Douglas office went under offer within eight weeks, whilst The Edge, which also found a buyer quickly, might appeal to those with a more contemporary style. David finds the current market, whether for a period or modern country house, reflects a pattern found across all the offices of Galbraith “The demand for a country house has never been higher and the limited supply means that competition has never been greater.”

Woodburn Hill, Northumberland, recently under offer, generated strong interest with several buyers intent on purchasing it. An idyllically positioned country house, with enviable views over the countryside, Woodburn Hill offered the buyer a period house and great amenity set in over 100 acres of grounds including river frontage, woodland and outbuildings.  Sam Gibson our estate agent in the north of England said “Over the last twelve months we have seen buyers having a greater desire for privacy and seclusion and so a country house such as Woodburn Hill fitted this criteria perfectly. Interest was not only local but also from the south east, East Anglia, Yorkshire and London.”

The quintessential Fife farmhouse of Wester Kinnear Farmhouse, attracted a huge amount of interest. Dominic Wedderburn, from our Cupar office says “It’s highly accessible location, only a few minutes from the Tay Bridge and all the amenities and opportunities offered by the resurgent city of Dundee being within easy reach, together with the privacy and space Wester Kinnear Farmhouse offered with a paddock and steading range, meant it ticked a lot of the boxes for the buyer looking to upsize and live the rural dream.”

There are, of course, country houses which are only ever marketed privately as the desire for a discreet sale can sometimes be preferred by an owner. With a very up to date mailing list of buyers keen to secure their perfect country house, Galbraith is in a strong position to meet this request from clients.

If you are considering a sale please do contact Galbraith and we can discuss your requirements confidentially.