Here’s yet another of those “Pick One” posts.  In this case, it’s castles.  If you had to live in one (and assuming that you could set up a decent shooting range / clay station on its extensive grounds), which one of the following would you choose?

  • West Dunbartonshire
  • Powys
  • Exeter
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • (ignore the one in Fife because it’s basically just a pile of rocks)
  • Wigtownshire
  • Aberdeenshire
  • Northumberland

Assume that all are actually habitable (not always a given in Britishland, regardless of price), and have decent insulation, electricity, hot water and so on.

As always, resist the temptation to say “I’m just happy with my lil’ ole place in Tennessee / Texas / Montana / wherever, and I don’t wanna live in Communist Britain.”

Play the game.


  1. The maintenance costs alone will kill most peoples wallets immediately. See all the chimneys? They are multiple chimneys – that is, count the clay chimney pots on each chimney to figure out how many fireplaces there are. Each requires a fire and supplies, in the winter. That alone would be an all day job. While the idea of living in a castle seems cool on the surface you don’t have to dig very far to realize it’s just not feasible for most. Having said that, the first one, in Scotland, looks pretty cool because it doesn’t look like a castle, looks like a big house. It doesn’t have the tell tale stepped parapet walls around the top. I like it’s proximity to a large body of water. Also, it has plenty of room for 2 moats. TWO? “Why 2 ghost?” Well, there will be automated twin-50’s mounted on all roof corners and when an attack occurs the first moat will quickly fill up with dead bodies rendering it little more than a human land bridge. The 2nd moat, the one closest to the castle, fill be filled with all manner of life sacrificing devices, organic and non. The moats need to be far away from the castle so as to discourage the attacking trebuchet’s from depositing dead and infected cattle bodies over the walls. That shit can get nasty real quick. Oh yeah, 300 gal boiling oil cauldrons high up at all entry points.

  2. Mark me down for Aberdeenshire. I’m also assuming that like owning a larger Yacht , the purchase price is only the beginning of the expenses. I suspect the all in yearly expense is about 25% of the Purchase price. but i do have a few questions for the agents. Do I get to have people call me ” Laird” ? Does the Game keeper come with the property? Or will I have to find one of my own? What’s the rules for having serfs? What’s the customary number of staff? Do I have to own a fleet of old Land Rovers? Are there more than 3 days of sunshine a year? If so, which ones?

    ….. and most importantly, will I be expected to have to deal with that crowd of in-bred half-wits down the road at Balmoral .

      1. A detail easily remedied by the village carpenter. Sort of like complaining that the Castle only comes with only 60 acres while the estate next door has 20,000 hectares.

      2. That was the first thing I noted when looking at that wonderful bar –
        one could never have Kim over for drinks, he’d just prattle on about the damn thing not being there.

  3. Each of them makes me think of California: maybe a nice place to visit but no way in hell would I want to live there.

  4. Since I despise both hotels and apartment houses, there is really only one choice. Wigtownshire looks small enough for even someone as anti-social as me. It is still big enough for the select few guests I might tolerate. The rest might serve as a very upscale version of the sort of party houses I hung out at on weekends in my misspent youth, but like those party houses I wouldn’t want to live there.

  5. Well, Bardowie in Dumbartonshire has “beautifully wooden furniture” (!?) but Craigcaffie Tower is small enough to live in without being mobbed by staff.
    Frankly, I’d rather use the money to buy and renovate Bannerman’s Island.

    1. Bannerman’s Island is a cool place, but not where you want to be from December to March when the Hudson freezes over. Then again, I suppose that anyone with the means to both buy and restore a castle on an island could also afford a helicopter to get on and off it.

      1. The only place in North America that isn’t miserable at some point in the year is around San Diego.

  6. Okay, I will play. I will make an offer on Craigcaffie as it is small, and rentable for when I am not there. I liked the one on the lake as well.

  7. I would pick Powys Ten-bed castle. As cheesy as it sounds, I really love the room with the windows, the couch and the cast iron fireplace. A room like that is so peaceful and relaxing. Get yourself a hot cup of coffee or tea, a fleece blanket and curl up on the couch with the fire going. You just can’t beat that experience.

    I also think the room with the glass roof is amazing. Imagine not needing fake light from lamps that just end up to give you eye strain and headaches. This natural light does wonders for the mood and relaxation of a person.

    If I did have the money to purchase this place, Mr. du Toit is of course ALWAYS welcome to come over for a visit, and yes a range would be installed soon after purchase!

    Now, can Rachael Ray be the head chef and Queen of this castle? I know fantasy…

  8. OK, I’ll play! Assume I won the Powerball lottery, kinda silly to worry about upkeep, taxes and such. So assume money is no object, choice only on appeal.

    Well, #7, Aberdeenshire, was a lead pipe cinch until I saw the bar had no foot rail! Heaven forfend! 😀

    I’d take #2, Powys for the following reasons. In the first shot, I like the garden. The flat rock wall, the rustic look, doesn’t look like a damn prissy French palace garden. It looks like a place I’d love to read a book with a pipe or cigar.

    While I’m not a fan of the drawing room in shot #2, the wife would love it, and I love the sun room, which would be cigar friendly. That would keep her out of my hair, her in her drawing room, me in the sun room most of the time. A fine situation.

    The view, from the wide shot, looks incredible. And judging from the photo, there would be zero traffic noise.

    Moving on to Strutt & Parker’s listing page, shot 4/22, that’s a sitting room I like. Display some pistols in the cabinets, get rid of the mirror and put up a nice painting, and it’s perfect. I love the dining room #6/22, as well. But the kitchen. #7/22! I love to cook, that’s wonderful. Actually, I might trade the sun room for #8/22 for my pipe/cigar room. Love the millwork. The bath in #12/22 is a bit too cold/modern for my tastes, but with the PowerBall win, that can be remedied. In #14/22, looks like you could launch clays over the bluff in the lower left for the occasional shotgun practice. Again, love the garden style, and #17/22 is perfect for al fresco dining in warm weather.

    Yep, this one is perfect. Or … what the heck, I just won the PowerBall, right? I could just put a brass foot rail in the bar at Aberdeenshire. 😀

  9. East Dunbartonshire, of course. Why have a castle if you don’t have your own private dock to go sailing?

    Choice #2 would be Powys, because with that river you bet there’s good fishing.

  10. Okay, I may be able to offer some local knowledge. 🙂 And I’ll admit my bias up front.

    Anything on the west coast of the Scottish mainland is out: it’s rainy and full of midges. Anything in Wales is also rainy. Despite Ireland. Northumberland is grim, so that’s out too.

    So the two places to enjoy a castle from your list are Aberdeenshire and Exeter. Aberdeenshire is the sunniest county in the country and is rich farming land (I’ll extend that latter to Angus & Moray), but Exeter is also sunny and a lot warmer. But Exeter doesn’t have whisky. And Exeter was in my day a favoured haunt of Hooray Henriettas in search of a MRS degree. So Aberdeenshire it is. Just be sure to put on your pullover. And your thermal underwear in winter if you’re well inland.

  11. Obviously rule 1 of the game is that we have the opex to maintain and operate.

    In that case I’d take Exeter. Best climate, you could do day trips to London.

  12. Don’t really cotton to Wales or mid/upper England, have visited Scotland many times. Aberdeenshire would suit me just fine, they have several nice ones to choose from. Will let you all know as soon as I win the Lottery.

    That said, my family castle ruins are located near Totness (Devonshire), there is just enough there that one could (given sufficient resources) buy it back from the National Trust then rebuild the manor house. Last time I was there visiting, the gate house is standing and one wall of the manor remains standing. Been a while, maybe they have rebuilt a bit more since.

    See here for details.

    Lots of land, plenty for shooting ranges.

    Lady luck please smile on me….

  13. The Aberdeenshire castle seems cheap (I live in Fairfax County, VA, and it’s ~the same price as the slightly above average house in my neighborhood). I can’t keep up with the yard maintenance on 1.09 acres, and every time a panel truck or van pulls in my driveway, it’s $1K or more. I gotta figure upkeep on these places, on top of taxes, is approaching $100K/year minimum PLUS a full-time groundskeeper and who knows what else.
    My BIL in Wales has a Graded house and when he replaced his slated roof several years ago it was well over $80K and while nice, it is no castle.

    Since we’re only playing, the Exeter castle would be my first choice, but as an eminently practical man, the Aberdeenshire squat is the thinking man’s choice.

  14. Aberdeenshire.


    I just need to pillage a few affluent commies in the coming unpleasantness and go expat.

  15. Easy peasy, Aberdeenshire, I’d LOVE to go back to Ballater. I suspect you’d like it too, Kim.

  16. I like the last one, Coupland Castle. Live in the guest house then rent out the castle for visitors.


  17. I love Wigtownshire, but I can guarantee that my knees won’t.
    So I’d have to go with Coupland, or 2nd choice Powys or Dumbartonshire.
    Not that I’d complain if you gifted any of them to me along with the funds for upkeep.

  18. Powys, of the castles listed. Having said that, there are some chateaux on the Loire that are truly breathtaking.

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