11 Mar

Could you run Downton Abbey?

Posted 11/03/2016 by: Reeds Rains

DowntonBack in December 2015 Aviva carried out research to establish the rough cost of running an estate the size of Downton Abbey. To give bit of context of the scale we are talking about, the stunning Victorian built Highclere Castle sits prominently in 1,000 acres of parkland, it has in excess of 300 rooms, 60 or so of which are bedrooms and 70 staff. This is what Aviva estimated the annual cost of maintenance would be:

  • Energy costs (Gas, electric and oil): £85,000+
  • Water:  £3,800 (Based 32 live in characters on Downton Abbey and not including costs of garden maintenance)
  • Staff: £383,400
  • Maintenance: £65,000
  • Security: £16,000 (For a modern CCTV system and a fitted home alarm)
  • Garden: £115,000

Total estimated minimum annual maintenance cost: £668,200

Aside from the associated maintenance costs, Highclere Castle, including its beautiful grounds is valued at an astronomical £72 million. We undertook a little bit of our own research to weigh up the annual cost of running an average property in comparison to that of a stately home. 

  • Energy costs (dual fuel - gas and electricity): £1,264
  • Water: £385
  • Council tax: £2,000
  • Garden: £600
  • Security: £606
  • Maintenance: £1,621

Total estimated minimum annual maintenance cost: £6,476

Understandably the cost of running an average property fluctuates depending on a variety of factors in the market. In addition, maintenance costs vary considerably from one year to the next. One year you may just spend the minimum required to maintain your property and of course with houses there are always unexpected outgoings from burst pipes to a new boiler. Other years however you might decide to splash out by redecorating a room or two or finally getting round to that extension you have always dreamed of.  While this might require a substantial financial outlay in the first instance the pay off long term will no doubt be worth it. Not only will you get to enjoy the outcome of your efforts but it will add value to your home should you want to sell your property in the years to come.  So unless you have a spare £72 million plus stashed away for the meantime we will just have to make our homes feel like a castle.


By JB + UK_Planet (originally posted to Flickr as Highclere Castle 1) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons