Country houses for sale

Country Life’s 10 most incredible properties of 2019, from cottages and mansions to the 20-bedroom castle that went up for sale at £500,000

We love nothing more than a beautiful home at Country Life — these were the most popular property stories of the year.

The private island in Scotland for sale with 660 acres, ancient ruins and its very own ferry

With some properties it’s hard to know where to start,’ we wrote in July of Inchmarnock, a spectacularly pretty 660-acre island in the Firth of Clyde, offering private island life just 40 miles as the crow flies from Glasgow.

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One of the most incredible privately-owned homes in Britain’

Our property correspondent Penny Churchill has seen it all in her many years with Country Life — yet she was still clearly caught up in the excitement about this place in Dorset: ‘The glories of Athelhampton House and its 29 acres of exquisite formal and informal gardens bounded by the River Piddle, are too numerous to list here,’ she wrote, before doing her best to do exactly that.

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The fine farmhouse in a heartbreakingly pretty spot on the Isle of Arran

We realised, when writing this piece, that it would be easy to be swayed by the gorgeous, sunny day on which the images of this waterside house were taken. ‘Yet since when does anyone buy a house thinking about how it’ll be at its worst?’ we wrote. ‘Instead, let’s focus on the joys of this five-bedroom family home, set in 32 acres of land, and for sale via Savills at a price which will make city dwellers weep: £650,000.’

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A nine-bedroom castle in Scotland for sale at just £400,000

The historic stronghold of the Gordon clan came up for sale this year — but as you might have guessed by the price, it was not a project for the uninitiated: ‘It’s the challenge — and the opportunity — of a lifetime’ we reported.

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Your own loch and 65 acres of Scottish countryside for the price of small flat on the outskirts of London

The headline was absolutely honest: just £250,000 was the price tag of this magnificent little property in Perthshire. ‘The house needs some updating, but at this price, how could one say no,’ we wrote. It sold soon after.

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The 20-bedroom, £500,000 castle: What happened next

A bit of a departure from our normal property coverage, for this piece we looked back at the work that went on at Ribbesford House after it went up for auction with a guide price of just £500,000. The brothers who took it on had a fascinating tale to tell.

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Devon’s grandest mansion’, a Grade I-listed home with an eight-figure price

Mamhead House’s ups-and-downs intrigued Penny Churchill when she wrote about Mamhead, as she detailed its years as everything from a grand country home to offices. There is work to do, she concluded, but it is ‘an opportunity to preserve and enhance a unique estate that has remained, quite magnificently, untouched by time.’

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A house with a floorplan that’s ‘like a Cluedo board designed by Picasso’

There was a reason the main image of this house was taken from some distance, and through trees: there is a LOT of work to do. But a 10-bedroom house awaits whoever takes it on — agents Strutt & Parker are still looking for the right person.

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A Cotswolds estate ‘the likes of which may never be seen again’

Lower Court Farm may not have had a name to get the pulse racing, but it was an ‘extraordinary piece of land in a prime Cotswolds location, which offers as great an opportunity as Penny Churchill can remember.’

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Why those ‘win a house for £10’ raffles should come with a health warning

And finally, a piece not so much about a house as a piece about this unusual method of ‘selling’ a property.  The moral of this story turned out to be one of the oldest in the book: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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Best country houses for sale this week

From a truly magnificent Shropshire stately home to a string of delightful thatched cottages, enjoy our pick of the finest