1. A rich history
The Wentworth Estate was the brainchild of builder WG Tarrant, who acquired development rights to the 1,750-acre estate in Virginia Water, Surrey, in 1922. Based on the success of his nearby venture St George’s Hill in Weybridge, he set about developing an exclusive retreat of country cottages around a golf course, with plots protected by covenants to preserve the nature of the estate. A century on, little has changed (apart from the size of the houses). “Wentworth is without doubt one of the most prestigious locations in the UK and, outside prime central London, arguably one of the most valuable,” says Trevor Kearney, Director in the Country Department at Savills.
2. A range of architectural styles
There’s no such thing as a typical property. “Each one is completely individual,” says Kearney. “They range from a handful of smaller family homes to large modern-day mansions. There are charming older-style houses designed by WG Tarrant, Art Deco masterpieces, Palladian and Georgian-style homes and Modernist glass boxes. Values can range from around £2.5 million for a smaller home ready for redevelopment to magnificent ultra-prime properties of up to £30 million.”
3. A trio of the world’s finest golf courses
The Wentworth Golf Club has three championship courses, all of which rank in the country’s top 100. “The fact that the Estate is built around one of the most prestigious golf courses in the UK is a huge draw for golfers,” says Kearney. “The Wentworth Club is an amazing facility for families, golfers and estate residents.”
4. Strict rules around development
When it comes to architecture, it seems anything goes – within reason. “As with all private estates, there are strict rules one has to work within when building a new house – but that is what helps preserve the character and elegance of the Estate,” says Kearney. While not prescriptive in terms of building design, the guidelines are clear in other areas: plots cannot be subdivided or contain multiple properties, while a strict ‘plot ratio’ dictates that no new building can exceed 22% of the size of its plot.
5. Some truly standout properties
One of the Estate’s most historic homes, Cherry Hill was built in the 1930s by visionary British architect Oliver Hill, and was once the country estate of US ambassador John Hay Whitney. “I love everything that Cherry Hill offers in terms of quality, style and history,” says Kearney. “It was inspired by the calm and cogent white Modernist houses of the 1920s, especially those designed by the German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It would make an amazing family home, but it is more than that – like a Basquiat or a Picasso, it’s a piece of real history and investment.”
6. The most luxurious of lifestyles
It’s not all about golf. The Estate has much more to offer, and all within 25 miles of central London. “It has it all in terms of security, local amenities and location,” says Kearney. “You have a ‘country’ lifestyle, but are less than an hour from Mayfair and Heathrow Airport, and moments away from the fun of Ascot Racecourse, Guards Polo Club, and incredible hotels and country clubs such as Coworth Park.”