Top Places to Buy a Country Home

Middle Eastern Sheikhs, Eastern European oligarchs and Scandinavians sportsmen are travelling to the UK for their own piece of Downton Abbey.

These wealthy foreigners have been arriving in the UK in droves and snapping up multimillion-pound farms and country estates throughout the country. According to the estate agency Savills, these buyers spent £54 million on Scottish estates in 2013.

Farmland has now hit a record high at £6,882 an acre – more than doubling the price over the last decade.

“The rise and fall and rise again of the English country house postwar is very exciting,” says Philip Eddell, head of country-house consultancy at Savills. “With so many sons and heirs being lost, and tax so high, it was curtains for many. But there is now enough money out there to revive them.”

So where are the best places to buy a country home in the UK? Here are some of the places that are attracting buyers from around the world.


Its iconic rolling countryside, woodland walks and small market towns means the Cotswolds is on everybody’s country home location wish list.

“If you go anywhere in the world and say you live in the Cotswolds, people know where you mean,” says William Leschallas, a director at Jackson-Stops & Staff.

This region of England has been named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the traditional properties and the cosy towns give you a quintessentially English country experience. The Cotswolds are quiet and made up of hamlets of generations-old farming families where every resident is your neighbour.

A number of villages in the region provide you with the true ‘untouched village’ feel that many seek for a place to live away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Depending on where in the Cotswolds you are located, you can be in London in less than two hours, and Birmingham and Oxford in less than one.

Before purchasing your dream property is the Cotswolds, ensure that you are protected against power outages. You should find out what the longest power outage was in the area so you know whether you need a back-up generator or stores of water. Because the region can be so isolated, you may be the last served in the case of power going out – so if you have an electric pump for your well you won’t be able to use tap water.


Moving to Devon is a number of people’s idea of a ‘dream retirement’. It is well located, with a number of good transport links, including two airports in Exeter and Bristol. Beaches and lakes, as well as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve make this a pleasant place to live.

Even if you’re not looking for retirement, Devon is still a great place to invest in a country home. The sea is always a stone’s through away – making it the perfect place to surfers and boaters alike. For those who prefer the rough seas for water sports, finding a home on the north coast like Croyde Bay will keep you happy. If you prefer spending time on a boat on the open sea, Dartmouth and Salcombe in the south areas are perfect.

Of course, being close to water means there is also a risk of flooding. Amanda Harman, of Aon Private Clients Estates Team says; “The great thing about many major country houses is that the principle residence is often in an elevated position, overlooking the lands of the Estate. If buying a less prestigious property, the Environment Agency website has to be one of the first ports of call. Visit the area and note the location of rivers and lakes as well as the proximity of the sea and the topography of the land. A visit to the local pub and shop will always let you know when the last major incident occurred and how devastating it was.”

If you’re thinking of commuting from here to London, it probably isn’t as feasible as getting to somewhere like Cornwall. On the train, London is still over a two-hour train ride from Devon.

Not to worry, there is plenty going on in Devon on the weekends from food festivals, to fairs and theatre nights – so you don’t have to go to London for a fun night out!


Scotland is a favourite among Scandinavians for the estates with sporting opportunities like grouse-shooting and salmon-fishing. The Highlands have spectacular scenery and large open spaces that inspire adventure – not to mention the region was featured in the latest James Bond film!

Estates in Scotland are some of the most spectacular, with plenty of heritage built in: castles, old abbeys and a number of other noble residences with extensive gardens and wooded areas. For those who love outdoor adventure, choosing a country home in this region will give you the ability to take part in mountain biking – with some of the best available in the UK at Glentress and Innerleithen – horseback riding and sailing.

Ease of access is one thing that should be considered when looking for a country home in Scotland, as some areas can be quite remote. Depending on the location of your main residence, homes in Scotland tend to be for longer holidays rather than weekend trips.

Be sure to find out where your closest highland club is for all the best events!

When considering a rural property in Scotland, be aware of the risk of rural theft. The impact of the recession is especially evident in rural communities and even more so in Scotland. “In the last year to 18 months as well as the things commonly targeted across the UK we have also seen an increase in the theft of livestock and metal theft in Scotland,” said Bob Carruth, of the National Farmers Union in Scotland.


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