Earlshall Castle, Fife
This 16th-century former hunting lodge was expertly restored in the 1890s by distinguished Scottish architect Robert Lorimer, who added its world-famous walled garden with charming topiary lawn. Its eight reception rooms include the magnificent Long Gallery with ornate painted ceiling. Set in 34 acres of its own parkland and woodland, Earlshall is perfectly placed for enjoying the golf at St Andrews.
An Culu, Co Kerry
A castle that looks traditional – turrets, moat and all – yet boasts all the mod cons, including an underground grotto-style swimming pool and a lift to all floors. Surrounded by forest with the waters of Kenmare Bay lapping at the property’s southern boundary, An Culu offers fabulous views at every turn. Situated on the Ring of Kerry, one of the most beautiful coastlines in Ireland, it offers excellent opportunities for both sea fishing and fly fishing.
The Beverston Castle Estate, Gloucestershire
The actual Grade I listed castle maybe uninhabitable, but its ruins are an integral part of this ravishing Cotswold estate that comprises a seven-bedroom 17th-century house, five cottages, farm buildings, farmland and woodland, a walled kitchen garden and extensive lawns and borders. The castle and estate are close to the town of Tetbury and within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding National Beauty.
Brechin Castle, Angus
Brechin is steeped in history. With links to Scottish kings, it originates from the 12th century, although most of the present house dates from the 1700s. The castle occupies a commanding position high above the River South Esk (from where one can fish for salmon) and boasts a 13-acre walled garden considered to be one of the finest in Scotland. With a well-preserved Category B listed stable block close by, Brechin Castle is a magnificent property full of potential.
Castello Neve, Tuscany
Those of a romantic disposition, be prepared to fall in love. Located in a tiny hamlet near the Tuscan hill town of Cortona, perched on a hill with panoramic views and frilled by terraced gardens, this fairytale castle is a patchwork of architectural styles and materials. An inner courtyard uses bricks from an ancient Roman road that crossed the hills from Tuscany to Umbria, while the south wing is probably late Renaissance, with Gothic revival additions.
Devizes Castle, Wiltshire
A textbook English castle with castellations, turrets, mullioned windows and canopied fireplaces, this Grade I listed beauty dates from 1830, although a castle was first built here in around 1080. Sitting high above the pretty market town of Devizes, the property occupies a principal section of the castle and enjoys access to private terraces and the beautiful landscaped gardens. Grand entertaining spaces combine with cosy corners, secret spiral staircases and luxurious bedrooms to create a delightful family home.
Laruns, Pyrenees Atlantiques
Built for defence in the 14th century – with thick stone walls and narrow slits for shooting arrows – this lovely chateau has been made more comfortable in the intervening years with the addition of mullioned windows and latterly a swimming pool and garage. Original features abound, however. Its centuries-old stone staircase has been worn down by the tread of many feet, while past history is even more evident in the coat of arms over the doorway that reads ‘Wisdom starts with a fear of Jean de Gère’.
Chateau, Loire Valley
Built in 1855, this pleasingly symmetrical, quintessentially French chateau has been beautifully restored and offers elegant living space in the most wonderful surroundings, close to the charming town of Laval. If you keep horses this is the perfect purchase as the 19-hectare grounds include 15 horseboxes and a meadow, plus woodland, large pond, workshop, caretaker’s flat and two further outbuildings that have been made into flats.