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A Historic Estate in the Lake District | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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This 34-acre estate is listed for $4.74 million (£3.75 million) and sits on the eastern shore of Lake Windermere, part of the Lake District in northwest England. Known as the Town Head, the property has been owned by the same family since 1790. Credit: Andrew Testa for The New York Times

$4.74 MILLION (£3.75 MILLION)

This 34-acre estate is on the eastern shore of Lake Windermere, which is part of the Lake District, a popular tourist destination in northwest England. Known as the Town Head, the property has been owned by the same family since 1790, said Mark Holden, director of the Wilmslow office of Savills, the agency listing the property.

Set in a landscape of rolling hills, chestnut trees and manicured lawns, the estate includes the six-bedroom, 12,000-square-foot main house, a two-bedroom cottage, two coach houses, stables, a workshop and a boathouse. The large stretch of private lakefront — 1,640 feet, or 500 meters — is a rarity for a property in the area, Mr. Holden said.

Town Head is a Grade II listed historical site, a government designation that restricts the owner from making major exterior changes without local approval, Mr. Holden said, noting that the architecture is a mix of Georgian and Elizabethan, in contrast to the predominantly Victorian homes in the area.

The main house features a reception hall and a drawing room with a large bay window, pine floors and a carved marble fireplace. There are many period details throughout the house, including ornate moldings, sash windows, tile floors, arched doors and a butler’s pantry. In the library, the mantelpiece is made from “dent marble,” a fossilized limestone popular during the Victorian era. There is a mantel made of black marble in the formal dining room, which is large enough to seat 16 and has tall shuttered windows with views of the grounds.

The kitchen has high beamed ceilings, stone tile floors, a walk-in pantry and modern appliances, including an AGA oven. A glazed door leads from the kitchen to a patio. There is also a three-room cellar that includes a wine room.

The bedrooms are all on the second floor. The master has a bay window, with views of the surrounding woods and the lake. One of the bedrooms is believed to have a glass ceiling that was boarded up when electricity was installed, according to the listing. There are two bathrooms upstairs and an attic that could be converted into additional bedrooms, Mr. Holden said.

The two-bedroom cottage is attached to the main house, but has a separate entrance. It has a modern kitchen and a sitting room with a fireplace. There is also a day room above the docks, in the boathouse.

The grounds include a lawn used for croquet. A series of terraced gardens on the north side of the house includes a rose garden, flower beds and a vegetable garden. Most of the property is parkland, and some sections are used for grazing sheep.

The estate is a short drive from the villages of Newby Bridge and Windermere, where there are shops and restaurants. It is about a 90-minute drive to the international airport in Manchester and a little more than two and a half hours by train to London. A small regional airport, the Carlisle Lake District Airport, which primarily handles private aircraft, is about an hour away, and according to the listing, a lawn on the property has been used for helicopter landings.


Home sales in the Lake District have slowed in recent months, in part because of concerns over Brexit and the political turmoil surrounding the general election, agents said. A 3 percent increase in the stamp duty charged on purchases of second homes, begun in 2016, has also dampened the market. “Our market is driven by second-home buyers,” said David Capps, an agent with the real estate company Hackney & Leigh.

A survey of agents in May by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors found price growth in the northwest has “lost momentum and is predicted to slow further over the next three months.” Even so, pricing for the country homes and estates of the Lake District “hasn’t changed dramatically,” Mr. Capps said, as it is “a little bit isolated” from the cycles of the rest of the housing market.

“We always see a steady degree of activity,” Mr. Capps said. And with little new construction, “there is a finite supply of homes.”

Prices are up 3 to 4 percent in the last 18 months, said Jack Irwin, branch manager of Matthews Benjamin, a local real estate company. “Popular properties” — particularly those priced below 500,000 pounds (about $638,000) that can be used for second homes or holiday rentals — “can sell within days,” Mr. Irwin said.

Many buyers are also looking to convert the old mansions into boutique hotels, agents said.


The Lake District has traditionally drawn second-home buyers from Manchester and London. But in recent years there has been a surge of buyers from around the world, including those from the United States, China and South Africa, Mr. Holden said.

The drop in the value of the pound has made property in Britain more affordable for many foreign buyers, Mr. Irwin said, adding that he has seen an increase in overseas buyers in the last year and expects that to continue during “the uncertainty around Brexit.”


Real estate transactions in Britain are straightforward, agents said. There are no restrictions on foreign ownership, and mortgages are available to qualified buyers.

A solicitor or licensed conveyor handles the legal transfer of property. A 10 percent deposit is usually required, once the contracts have been signed.

Although simple, the process could take as long as three months, especially if a mortgage is involved, Mr. Capps said.


Lake District National Park site: lakedistrict.gov.uk

Official Cumbria tourism site: cumbriatourism.org

Government buying information site: gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/overview


English; pound sterling ($1 = £0.79)


Buyers are charged a stamp duty on a sliding scale of 1 to 12 percent, depending on the sale price. An additional 3 percent stamp duty is charged for second homes. The stamp duty on this property as a primary residence would be about £360,000 (or about $455,000), at the asking price. The solicitor’s fee and the cost of a property survey usually add about £5,000 (or about $6,321) to the buyer’s costs.

Agent fees are usually paid by the seller, and are typically about 2 to 3 percent of the sale price, and an additional 20 percent value-added tax on the commission.

The annual council tax on this property — the equivalent of a local property tax — is £6,605 (or about $8,350), Mr. Holden said.

(The New York Times)