Duke of Westminster sells £450k historic lodge

The lodge

The Duke of Westminster - Britain's richest landowner - is selling off a historic lodge at a knock-down price. The property has been used by Prince Charles and Princess Diana (although not together) - and has an even longer association with a number of royals.

So why is it being sold off so cheaply?%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

The property

Lochmore Lodge is a former Victorian hunting lodge and could be a stunning property. The house has 15-bedrooms, six bathrooms, a library, dressing room, and a wine cellar. In all there are three staircases and 52 rooms in the lodge - on the side of a loch in Achfary, Sutherland.

The setting is stunning, with views over the loch to the mountains on one side, and the secluded woodlands on the other.

It has an incredible history too. It was lived in by the second Duke of Westminster until his death in 1953 - and then his widow Anne continued to occupy the house until 2003 - and they had a number of well-connected guests at the house.

Among the visitors to the very private property were the Queen, Princess Anne, Prince Philip, Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain. The Daily Mail has reported that Coco Chanel was also rumoured to have attended a party there.

The down-side

However, the property has not been lived in for ten years, since Anne's death, and has fallen into a terrible state. The estate agents, CKD Galbraith describe it as needing 'considerable refurbishment', and uses the phrase: "These rooms are currently in need of considerable repair but contain echoes of the time when Lochmore Lodge was in its prime" - which sounds ominous. Clearly whoever bought it would have to invest significantly in restoring the property.

It's also fair to assume that it would have to be brought into the 21st century too - as the property details state there's a 'TV room' and a 'pantry', rather than the cinema room and the indoor pool we have come to expect from magnificent houses nowadays.

One stipulation of the sale is that it must remain a family home - so cannot be split into flats - so there's no easy money to be made.

And even when you moved in, the property would continue to eat cash. The estate estimates that it costs between £20,000 and a £30,000 a year to run the home.

The Duke didn't think it was even worth keeping. He wanted to knock the building down and leave it as grassland. However, Historic Scotland stepped in and refused permission for its demolition.

There's strong competition on the market too. If you want something historic and dramatic in the area then you can get a property that's already in decent condition for £850,000. The agent has a 16-bed property on the market which you could move into tomorrow.

But what do you think? Would you buy it?
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