Live Like A Laird
International Property & Travel|Volume 24 Number 4

Stuart Shield enjoys a stay at Skibo Castle near Inverness where the ultimate in Scottish hospitality is assured for members of the Carnegie Club

If any fans of Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh or the more recent worldwide hit period television drama Downton Abbey wished to experience what it was like to live in a grand household, I think it safe to assume not one would dream of being part of the downstairs life. The writer Julian Fellowes re-created the twilight years of British titled and landed gentry from the early 20th century period just before the Great War until the early 20s. This was a time when privileged families living in country castles and mansions across Great Britain enjoyed all the trappings of wealth with a small army of maids, butlers, footmen, grounds men and gamekeepers on hand to serve their every need.

Fortunately, many of these country estates survive with some being in an excellent state of repair. Most are paid for by the tens of thousands of visitors who want to peek inside to get a brief sense of the life they could have had if born a blue blood over a century ago. Today a very small number of extremely wealthy individuals have acquired these grand properties, being fully aware that the expense and upkeep of the property and grounds amounts to the same as having the heating fuelled with bank notes. The extravagant running costs are no different to the readjusted cost of running the same estate in the 19th century.

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