The UK’s most unusual houses: inside the year’s quirkiest conversions and historic home sales


We may not be able to agree over Brexit, but one of the few national characteristics that unites the British is our obsession with property.

Buying it, renovating it, selling it or even just gawping at it, our homes are how we express our creative side.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up our pick of 2018’s most unusual homes – from ancient castles with striking interiors to a plethora of converted Victorian water towers.

Towers of power

Converting former industrial buildings into modern, comfortable homes is not for the faint of heart (or shallow of pocket, for that matter).

But the most popular unusual home of 2018 – and star of its own episode of Grand Designs – was a 150-year-old water tower in Kennington.

Property developer Leigh Osborne and his partner Graham Voce bought it in 2012 for £380,000 and it went on the market earlier this year for £3.6m.

It didn’t sell in the end, and can now be booked for short stays through Airbnb – for just £140 per night.

Covering 4,500sq ft across ten floors and featuring an incredible two-storey glass cube, it’s a jaw-dropper.

Another water tower in south London also proved popular this year.

Ladywell water tower, in Lewisham, is 120ft tall and was listed for £1.25m as a mixed-use development, with a total of seven flats and £70k income a year from telecoms masts on the roof.

A Swiss chalet on the banks of the Thames has its own heated, indoor beach

Party all the time

London’s most unusual party home was imported from Switzerland 135 years ago.

Situated on the banks of the Thames, at one point it was a derelict boathouse.

It’s now an opulent home with its own heated, indoor beach and a 24-carat-gold bathroom.

In Essex a pair of water towers that have hosted parties of up to 250 people also hit the market.

Built by the Courtauld family in Halstead, Essex in the mid-1800s, they supplied water to local textile factories.

The main tower is spread across six floors, with a massive glass-fronted archway – spread over two levels.

Kings and queens

Artist Stuart McAlpine Miller put his 13-bedroom Scottish manor – The Gart – on the market for £1.75m – less than the price of an average flat in Kensington and Chelsea.

“We wanted to create an art gallery within the house,” said Miller’s wife, Nikki.

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The Gart, Perthshire comes with 12 acres of stunning Scottish countryside

With a 100ft-long reception room, gin and whisky bar and a magenta pool table, it makes a bold statement.

A fairytale castle on the Isle of Man – dating back to the 1830s – also went on sale, for £4 million.

The castle is located high on Douglas Head, with spectacular views across the bay.

The eight-bedroom listed property was once home to the artist John Martin who painted ‘The Plains of Heaven’, on display at Tate Britain.

The 30-acre Ackergill Tower estate near John O’Groats was put up for sale by the founder of bed retailer Dreams, with a price tag of £3.9 million.

The castle is reputed to be haunted by the 500-year old ghost of Helen Gunn, known as the Beauty of Braemore.

Conversions

A railway station with no timetable and no tracks – aptly named the Old Railway Station – has two vintage train carriages in the garden, the original waiting room and even the former platforms.

The house in Coalport, Shropshire was once Coalport West station and opened for business in 1862 on the Severn Valley line, linking Hartley, near Droitwich, to Shrewsbury.

An award-winning home spectacularly built into one of London’s historic 19th-century viaducts was listed for sale for the first time.

The property is a masterclass in intelligent, innovative design, concealing a surprising 1,600sq ft of space within its unconventional shell.

Scroll through the gallery above to see more of the quirkiest homes that went on sale in 2018.

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