A castle is, almost by definition, a building that’s of great interest to the general public. It’s likely to be a historically significant building, even it doesn’t quite fit into the technical definition of a ‘medieval fortified residence’.
If you’re fortunate enough to own a castle, then you might want to transform it into something profitable. It’s perfectly possible to do this without compromising on the historical value of the property – though you are likely to encounter several significant obstacles along the way.
What type of business can you run from a castle?
Any business can be run from a castle, but if you’re going to justify the considerable cost of maintaining the building, and take maximum advantage of its features, then there are certain sorts of business worth special consideration.
Certain points in life deserve lavish surroundings. Few types of building meet this need better than a castle. Hosting a wedding requires that the site be able to cater for hundreds of guests, which might mean the installation of bars, toilets, guest rooms, and, of course, a space in which to conduct the ceremony itself. Happily, many castles provide suitable spaces for exactly that, and come with gorgeous grounds attached.
If your castle is based in a tourist-friendly part of the country, and offers great views of the surrounding area and easy transport links with the local attractions, then it might be suitable for transformation into a guest house.
Of course, you’ll need to consider the practical needs of your guests and whether they’re compatible with the existing layout of the building. Narrow, spiralling staircases are not going to be able to accommodate wheelchair-users, however much they’re modified. The needs of landowners from centuries ago are likely to be incompatible with the needs of a modern hotelier, and this should be borne in mind when you’re considering making a conversion.
Homes of particular historic significance can become tourist attractions in their own right – provided that enough of the existing building remains for your visitors to look at.
Where do the costs come from?
The building itself will cost considerably more than an ordinary home. Moreover, the scale of the building will probably mean that renovation and maintenance. In the UK, a pilot scheme is currently underway which will allow landowners to receive financial support from the government while they’re renovating a historical building. Whether or not you take advantage of this, you’ll be limited in the sorts of modifications you can make – which makes modern plumbing, insulation and double-glazing largely off-limits. As such, you’ll find that your running costs are significant.
Moreover, if you’re to keep the building in a condition that will continue to draw customers, you’ll need to invest a considerable amount in continual restoration. Not only will you need to get specialist professionals and materials in, but you’ll also need to think about construction insurance from a specialist insurer like Arthur J. Gallagher. These costs should be factored in well before you decide to buy the property in question.