Home Tourist attractions A 19th century country house in Devon built to look like a castle is put on the market

A 19th century country house in Devon built to look like a castle is put on the market

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A Victorian fairytale castle overlooking the Devon coast has been put on the market for an undisclosed sum.

Watermouth Castle, near Ilfracombe, has been run by the same owners for 45 years and is considered one of the county’s top tourist destinations.

Situated near Watermouth Harbor – once a haven for smugglers – the Grade II* listed castle is set in a stunning position with breathtaking views.

The building was erected in the mid-19th century and is not a real castle, but a country house built to look like one, according to its Savills listing.

It is located in an Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin.

A 19th century fairytale castle overlooking the Devon coast has been put on the market for an undisclosed sum

Watermouth Castle, near Ilfracombe, has been run by the same owners for 45 years and is considered one of the county's top tourist destinations.

Watermouth Castle, near Ilfracombe, has been run by the same owners for 45 years and is considered one of the county’s top tourist destinations.

Situated near Watermouth Harbor - once a haven for smugglers - the Grade II* listed castle is set in a stunning position with breathtaking views

Situated near Watermouth Harbor – once a haven for smugglers – the Grade II* listed castle is set in a stunning position with breathtaking views

The building was erected in the middle of the 19th century and is not a real castle, but a country house built to look like one.

The building was erected in the middle of the 19th century and is not a real castle, but a country house built to look like one.

It was later transformed into a tourist attraction offering a mix of rides, activities and play areas.

The castle was built in 1825 by Arthur Davie Basset for his wife, Harriet.

In 1916, the castle was used as a convalescent home for Army officers injured during the First World War.

Then, during World War II, it became the headquarters of PLUTO (Pipe-Line-Under-The-Ocean).

In 1945 the last descendant of the Basset family finally moved on and Watermouth Castle fell into disrepair.

In 1977 the nearly abandoned castle was purchased by Richard Haines and his family, who turned it into a tourist attraction.

It now offers a mix of rides, activities and play areas including: Gnome Land, Merry-Go-Land and Adventure Land.

There are also seven apartments which are used as short-term vacation rentals and an indoor swimming pool.

The castle has a large and impressive entrance hall with a fireplace, woodwork, a staircase and a gallery.

The hall and the rooms that follow from it now form the museum part of the attraction.

Exhibits include a wide variety of Victorian and Edwardian artifacts, a working ‘N Gauge Model Railway’ and a working ‘Convertible Organ’.

The castle was built in 1825 by Arthur Davie Basset for his wife, Harriet.  In 1916, the castle was used as a convalescent home for Army officers injured during the First World War.

The castle was built in 1825 by Arthur Davie Basset for his wife, Harriet. In 1916, the castle was used as a convalescent home for Army officers injured during the First World War.

Then, during World War II, it became the headquarters of PLUTO (Pipe-Line-Under-The-Ocean)

Then, during World War II, it became the headquarters of PLUTO (Pipe-Line-Under-The-Ocean)

In 1945 the last descendant of the Basset family finally moved on and Watermouth Castle fell into disrepair

In 1945 the last descendant of the Basset family finally moved on and Watermouth Castle fell into disrepair

In 1977 the nearly abandoned castle was purchased by Richard Haines and his family, who turned it into a tourist attraction.  It now offers a mix of rides, activities and play areas including: Gnome Land, Merry-Go-Land and Adventure Land

In 1977 the nearly abandoned castle was purchased by Richard Haines and his family, who turned it into a tourist attraction. It now offers a mix of rides, activities and play areas including: Gnome Land, Merry-Go-Land and Adventure Land

There are also seven apartments which are used as short-term vacation rentals and an indoor swimming pool.  The chateau has an impressive grand entrance hall with a fireplace, paneling and staircase and gallery

There are also seven apartments which are used as short-term vacation rentals and an indoor swimming pool. The chateau has an impressive grand entrance hall with a fireplace, paneling and staircase and gallery

The hall and the rooms that follow from it now form the museum part of the attraction.  Exhibits include a wide variety of Victorian and Edwardian artefacts, an 'N Gauge Model Railway' and a working 'Decapped Organ'

The hall and the rooms that follow from it now form the museum part of the attraction. Exhibits include a wide variety of Victorian and Edwardian artefacts, an ‘N Gauge Model Railway’ and a working ‘Decapped Organ’

The property’s basement, known as “Dungeon Labyrinths”, contains a selection of fairytale entertainment, exhibits and attractions and is also open to visitors.

The basement leads to the courtyard, which includes the underground theater currently operating as an attraction of water, music and light shows, the main cafe, a gift shop, restrooms and an animated show.

The site is nearly 12 acres in total, with an additional 52 acres of woods and parking.

The popular family attraction is on the market with Savills.

Justine Morris, associate director of the estate agency’s leisure and commerce team, said: “This is a rare opportunity to acquire a popular and profitable tourist attraction that has been in the same family for nearly a half-century.”

“The opportunity now exists for the new owners to continue to develop the significant tourist attraction.”

Watermouth Castle remains open to the public.

It currently operates on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The attraction will also be open during the October semester.

For more details see the property listing with Savills.