Celebrity Surrey homes make for a famous property market
PUBLISHED: 08:10 28 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:18 05 June 2015
Surrey is a bit of a hotspot when it comes to celebrities, but what sort of houses do they live in? Here, local property expert Paul Dixon takes us on a guided tour of a few...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2014
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Earlier this year, I was sitting next to the open fire of a period pub, in what I think is the most tranquil village in the Cotswolds, when in walks Fiona Fullerton. FF, you might recall, was an actress who became a property adviser come writer and most recently featured on Strictly Come Dancing.
Back in 1984, Fiona played the part of Pola Ivanova in the Bond film A View To A Kill. Now, as it happens, I also had a small part in that production, which was shot at Pinewood Studios. I could forgive FF for not remembering me, as the passage of time had been a lot kinder to her than me. The very elegant Fiona told me that she had bought a house not too far away in Cheltenham, where she had happily settled.
Subsequently, I heard she had something of a fracas with a neighbour over a tree she cut down. A view to kill for, indeed.
This Cotswolds episode started me thinking about ‘our’ part of the world and celebrity property in Surrey. Here, then, is a brief round-up of what is going on…
In the heart of the salubrious gated community, St George’s Hill in Weybridge, Knight Frank (0203 324 7353) are marketing a country mansion called ‘Kenwood’ that was owned in the 60’s by John Lennon. Although I never met John, I did meet ex-Beatle Paul McCartney when he was shooting a picture called Give My Regards to Broad Street. Lennon wrote some of his tracks at the house, before leaving in 1968.
Extending to something like 12,000 square feet, this impressive residence was originally constructed in 1913 by a local firm of builders. The selling agents say the house now has a “luxury finish” and includes six bedrooms and six reception rooms. There are also mature gardens of one-and-a-half acres, where an indoor pool complex has been added. Views to the Surrey Hills are an added benefit. If the price tag of £13,750,000 is not for you, then just ‘Imagine’…
Having long divided his time between LA and his Rydinghurst estate in Cranleigh, Beatles legend Ringo Starr has recently decided to part company with the spectacular Surrey property.
The 200-acre estate was bought back in 1999, from previous owner Count George Bardeau, for just under £2m and is now expected to sell for almost 10 times that amount.
“When you’ve grown up around the dusty backstreets of Liverpool, you don’t ever expect to end up comfortable and settled in the leafy surrounds of Surrey,” he told Surrey Life earlier this year. “It’s a world away from everything I knew, but a fantastic world, and a beautiful place.”
The 17th century house, which was completely redesigned by celebrity interior designer Nicky Haslam, includes an indoor swimming pool, stable block, four cottages, indoor riding school and a walled garden.
Rydinghurst is currently on the market with Knight Frank (01483 565 171), with the price available on application.
Over in Thursley, near Godalming, Savills (01483 498056) are marketing the country house ‘Milhanger’, which was constructed in 1907. Roger Taylor, the drummer of rock group Queen, lived there from 1979 to 2003, when he sold it to the current owners.
The well-proportioned accommodation includes six to seven bedrooms and, as you might expect, a 54ft indoor swimming pool.
A detached barn, known as ‘The Country Club’, was formerly used as a rehearsal/recording studio and is ideal for anyone looking to set up their own rock band. There is also a two-bedroom cottage and a Grade ll listed watermill, not to mention a stable yard with 10 boxes and an all-weather manège, so this one is ideal for equestrian enthusiasts too. The grounds, including a stream and lake, extend to 74 acres, but you’ll be looking at a price-tag of £7,950,000.
My old, well not so old, comrade Peter Andre recently asked me to advise on the sale of his home, which is in a private park
on the Surrey/West Sussex borders (Robert Leech Estate Agents: 01342 837783). Having arranged a time to drop in, I found on this occasion Peter had promptly gone out. The upside was that his lovely fiancée, Emily, was there to talk about the recent changes she had made.
The six-bedroom house was built by upmarket developers Lusso homes in 2010. There is, of course, a comprehensive media system, but the real feature is the stunning, southerly views from the rear terrace.
On previous visits, the house had something of a ‘bachelor pad’ feel, down to a black table cloth on the dining table. That is in the past. There is now light,
open space, pastel colours and a warm feel to their home. Perhaps Emily should be on 60 Minute Makeover instead of Peter. Price available on application…
King Constantine II
How about a house fit for a King? Once owned by Greece’s King Constantine II, ‘Stanyards’ is a large Victorian manor house that dates from 1883, situated on the outskirts of Chobham.
On the market with Winkworths (01483 498145), it was the home of King Constantine and his wife, Queen Anne-Marie, in the 1970s. As well as the 10-bedroom house, there is a also a separate annexe, a swimming pool and eight acres with a lake.
When the king was in residence, he made a few changes, one of which was to install an over-size bath, which is still in place today. Oh well, it’s all Greek to me! Price £4,995,000.
And finally, we couldn’t resist including this one, even if it did already sell ahead of its planned auction earlier this year.
A well-known landmark in the area, the fairytale-like Ruxley Towers, near Claygate, has long caught the attention of curious passers-by. Needless to say, the intrigue increased even further when Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood moved in with his then squeeze Ekaterina Ivanova. The pair lived there for two years before going their separate ways.
Built in the late 1800s as an addition to Lord Foley’s large country estate, the seven-storey Surrey tower features octagonal rooms, vaulted ceilings and culminates in a roof terrace capable of hosting the perfect cocktail party.
You can’t always get what you want – but let’s hope the previous owner of this iconic Grade II listed building did…
• Paul Dixon is a columnist, property consultant and member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He provides a bespoke service on behalf of both buyers and sellers of country houses and estates: firstname.lastname@example.org