For sheer, rugged splendour, Lapland has nothing on north Northumberland, and Santa?s cuddly reindeer could not hold a candle to Chillingham Castle?s famous long-horned cattle, which still roam the estate?s 365-acre park.

But if you fancy a walk on the wild side, head for England?s northern tip, where FPDSavills (0131?247 3710) and Sale & Partners (01668 280801) are selling the delightful former dower house to Chillingham Castle, near Alnwick, on behalf of the Violet Tankerville Charitable Trust. The Estate House at Chillingham (Fig 1) stands in an area of extraordinary natural beauty, where the landscape ranges from the windswept Cheviot Hills to the vast, lonely beaches of Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh.

The last resident of the Estate House was the Dowager Countess of Tankerville, who died in 2003, having dedicated her life to preserving Chillingham?s wild cattle. The substantial 18th-century house, listed Grade II, sits in nine acres of formal gardens and grounds at the heart of the estate, close to the pretty Northumbrian village of Chatton, with its popular Percy Arms Hotel. It has four reception rooms, eight bedrooms and two bathrooms; the dining room, with its ornate Flemish brick fireplace and 17th-century oak panelling, is splendid.

Although in need of renovation,the Estate House ?will handsomely repay the fairly extensive modernisation needed to make it into a family home?, says Jamie Macnab of FPDSavills. The agents are inviting offers of more than £515,000 for the Estate House, and offers in excess of £145,000 for its former walled kitchen garden and a 1.4-acre area of parkland.

Less rugged and remote, but no less magnificent, is the setting of Copt Hewick Hall (Fig 3), near the cathedral city of Ripon, North Yorkshire?a rare, small Yorkshire estate for which Strutt & Parker (01423 561274) are seeking offers over £2.5 million. The handsome Regency house stands in the middle of its 86 acres of park, woods and farmland. Requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence during the Second World War, the Hall was later sold to the Comptons of Newby Hall, and was then home to the Ronaldshay family, before being bought by the current vendors in the early 1990s.

Copt Hewick Hall, listed Grade II, is a well-used Yorkshire country family home, says Charles Yeoman of Strutt & Parker. The house includes four reception rooms, a conservatory, a breakfast kitchen, six main bedrooms, four bathrooms, a two-bedroom apartment, a two-bedroom annexe, a lodge and a garden cottage. Sporting facilities include stabling and paddocks, a tennis court, a swimming pool and a small lake, as well as in-hand shooting rights.

Against the dramatic backdrop of the Snowdonia National Park, the glorious Lleyn peninsula in Gwynedd, north-west Wales, juts out into the Irish Sea. Halfway down its length, Plas Boduan (Fig 2), also known as Bodfean Hall, sits in 25 acres of listed gardens and woodland walks, four miles inland from the coastal resort of Pwllheli. The original Plas Boduan was built in about 1500, and for most of its

history was owned by the Wynn family, one of whom was a friend of Anne Boleyn. In her will, she left him lands at Bodfean given to her by Henry VIII, and for years, furniture made for her was kept at the Hall.

The present Plas Boduan is a fine Georgian house, listed Grade II, with a later modern wing built in keeping with the Georgian original. Comprehensively restored and refurbished in the 1970s, the main house has a reception hall, three reception rooms, an entertainment suite, a ballroom and seven bedroom suites. The grounds include an Italianate garden, lakes with cascading waterfalls, a jungle garden, parkland, a paddock and an arboretum of ancient trees. The property also has a heated swimming pool, a hard tennis court and two estate cottages. Joint agents Knight Frank (01432 273087) and J. Merfyn Pugh (01758 701888) quote a guide price of £2m.