Ice House & Ice Hotels

Ice Hotel (c) 2012 Untravelled Paths.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and in some places jolly frost-bitten! Especially the depths of a January midwinter. A century ago before fridges became the norm, many larger country houses had dedicated buildings built to house ice. Before we get to that, we are taking a topical detour to Ice Hotels.

Ice Hotel – Dining – A La Berg (c) 2012 Untravelled Paths.

These are becoming very popular, with such structures being built – on a seasonal basis – in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and our favourite is the less well know Romanian type. Specialist holiday firm Untravelled Paths have a very enjoyable taste of staying in a spectacular and unique ice hotel… 

Ice Hotel – Bedroom (c) 2012 Untravelled Paths.

The building of these sorts of structure have been the subject of television documentaries. Considering these big builds melt each year, it is almost a labour of love to repeat the rebuild annually. For our readers that can access the Youtube facility, here is a video well worth the watching.

Youtube Ice Hotel Mega Construction Video

… is like something from an Alistair MacLean film such as Where Eagles Dare

Alistair MacLean Hit Movie Style Transport

Alistair MacLean films aside, getting to one of the modern day Ice Hotels is for the vertically brave:

Ice Hotel – Access (c) 2012 Untravelled Paths.

If you fancy a night or two at the above Ice Hotel, whether for inspiration, or excitement, there are details on the dedicated website…

Or telephone Untravelled Paths on UK 0871 662 9521.

For other ice hotels, the wonderful photo montage gives a very sparkly view of this time of year for these curious buildings ….

Ice Hotel Photos

Moving on from ice hotels, we have ice houses. A while back we featured one for sale at St Cyrus. Since then, the St Cyrus Ice House…..

The Ice House, Kirkside, St Cyrus, Angus, DD10 0DA (c) 2012 St Cyrus Ice House Company

… has been sold. It appears that the new owners of St Cyrus Ice House (now converted) offer folk a taste of what it is like to holiday in such a structure …

Ice House Owner’s Website ….

Ice House Holiday Booking Website ….

Of course ice houses come in many different shapes and sizes …..

Example – Croombe Ice House (c) 2012 Chris Allen

They are, of their nature, a whole architectural discipline well worth studying. A few websites for anyone wishing to delve a little deeper into the freezer …

Plus a nice photo montage…..

Ice House Photos

The nature of ice houses are such, that they tend to be fairly rare on the sale list. Even when they do appear, there is usually a very expensive manor house or castle attached! Most ice houses having been built as a small functional part of a much larger estate. However, they do, from time to time come up for sale when larger estates are broken up into more manageable lots. For example we have located an ice house for sale within the woods is Craighead Well on the Letterfourie Estate. The agency narrative advises “Within the woods is Craighead Well, which might supply the nearby house site, a mineral well and a former ice house”.

Before we end this listing, it is important to reproduce a photograph of what a finished project and renovated ice house can look like…..

Laird Henderson’s Ice House (c) 2007 Channel 4 / Tiger Aspect.

This marvellous creation and blend of old with new is by Laird Henderson. This ice house featured in television presenter and architect George Clarke’s inspirational television property series, the Restoration Man – Ice House Episode.

Hopefully, the above entries in this week’s Unique Property Bulletin have provided a seasonal illustration of what ice houses (and ice hotels) have to offer, and what they can become. If you would like to follow in Laird Henderson’s path, we have the starting blocks of an ice house at Letterfourie for you….

For Sale – Spot The Ice House ! (c) 2012 Savills

Alright we did say these were rare. We have managed to find the general location of this ice house for sale, but you will need to contact the agency selling the thing to ask for a copy of the title deed, or location plan demarcating where the ice house is, and what land and access rights are included. Good luck.

Location: Ice House & Land, Drybridge, Letterfourie Estate, Buckie, Banffshire, AB56 5JP.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Equivalent of Freehold)..

Guide: Ranges From £135,000.

Contact SavillsTel: 01356 628 628 – Mr Ruaraidh Ogilvie.

Online Brochure …..


Wharfing It – Please Point To The Coffee

Wharf House, Staffordshire (c) 2012 Kingston Behague

Wharf House is a nice looking Grade II listed home, situated in the Trent & Mersey canal conservation area and occupying a delightful south facing canal side position within this desirable Staffordshire village. Dating from around 1775, the site was originally known as the Navigation Coffee House, which was then replaced by the Barton Turn public house in 1800 and then in the 1830’s with the Three Crowns Inn, which was to become Wharf House.

Wharf House, Interior (c) 2012 Kingston Behague

Wharf House has subsequently been converted into three dwellings, each of great character with the largest – Number One – retaining many original features including panelled doors, fireplaces, exposed timbers, sash windows and a superb stair case rising from the hall to the third floor. It is Number One that is being sold. The property has been carefully restored by the present owners whilst benefiting from remodelled bathroom facilities to the ground, second and third floors. A nearby plot of land of approximately half an acre, currently used as a small holding, is available for sale/rent by negotiation. Barton under Needwood is a highly regarded Staffordshire village with an excellent range of amenities including shops, Barton Marina, public houses, dentist, doctors surgery and schooling for all levels, including John Taylor High School. The nearby A38 provides access to the larger centres of Lichfield, Burton On Trent, Birmingham and Derby plus the motorway network.

Your “local” looks like an interesting venue …

Wharf House, Staffodrshire (c) 2012 Kingston Behague

Outside: The property has a hard standing area to the front and pathway leading past the front lawn with low wall, inset trees and shrub border. The lawn provides a seating area with views toward the canal and bridge. There is a paved area to the side with steps to the side door and access via steps to the cellar.

Location: Wharf House, Barton under Needwood, Barton Turn, Barton Under Needwood, Staffordshire, DE13 8DZ.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £320,000.

Contact Kingston Behague Agencies Tel: 01283 535243.

Online Brochure ….

Direct Weblink Difficult To Provide – Please Search Agency Website….

Then click “Property Search” and enter 320,000 as BOTH minimum and maximum price range. This should bring up Wharf House. If not, please phone the agents on 01283 535243 and ask for a paper version brochure to be sent out in the post.

Alternatively this backdoor weblink might work …

or possibly….

Wharf House – Canalside Barton PDF File


Time For Tea

Former Barn Tearoom, Hastings (c) 2012 Mark Duncan

We had a former coffee house as our second listing in this Bulletin so it seems right to serve up some tea for readers with a different appetite. We have never listed a former tea room before. Or to be more precise, a Tea Barn.

This one is all the tastier as it has two things we just love. First the haggle factor. As a building that has failed to sell at auction it is available without the pressures of an auction deadline. This allows for time to arrange more due diligence, survey, finances etc. Probably just as interesting is the fact that the seller may well consider a lower offer, and you dear reader may have a bargain to buy.

The second thing is a planning permission in place for residential use. Whether a new buyer wishes to have this barn for commercial or residential use is of course their decision. Regular readers will know our view. Unique Buildings PLUS Unique Lifestyle. With this tearoom, we would recommend seeking an amendment in the planning permission to have a Tea Barn Business, and an associated part for residential use. The best of both worlds – an unusual place to live and a business to provide a living. Worth a thought perhaps?

Former Barn Tearoom, Hastings (c) 2012 Clive Emson Auctioneers

Auctioneer’s narrative:

The Barn is located in an idyllic area at the end of a very long drive and tucked away in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The property is considered ideal for the conversion for which planning has been granted. The current Planning Permission provides for conversion to a five-bedroom dwelling with an open plan living/dining area, together with an office suite, which overlooks the private garden area. There are also six parking spaces to the side of the property.

Location: The Barn, Fairlight Place, Fairlight, Hastings, East Sussex, TN35 5DT.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £180,000FAILED TO SELL AT AUCTION: 11-12-12: Lot 91.

Contact Clive Emson Auctioneers Tel: 0845 6036614 – James Emson or Emma Attrell.

Online Brochure ….


Glamping Site ?

Former Leisure Equipment Retail Facility, Southampton (c) 2012 Clive Emson

Firstly our thanks to Clive Emson auctioneers for providing two candidates to feature in this week’s Bulletin. This camping equipment sales facility may just be an interesting site to seek planning consent for mixed residential and business use. It is located in part, in a residential area. As with the previous Tea Barn listing in this Bulletin, we would gently suggest this current camping retail area be considered for a Unique Buildings PLUS Unique Lifestyle endeavour. Why? Well we featured an unusual underground type of building in an earlier Bulletin

Glamping Pod (c) 2012 by kind permission of

As featured in the Unique Property Bulletin 30 September 2012, last entry on that Bulletin. Further information on this unique subterranean Glamping Pod genre available from, or by contacting StormPods directly on 01496 300 129.

The point of mentioning this popular new style of holiday/living accommodation is the other half of the equation – where to build them. Here at Southampton there is an established place that has planning permission to display these popular, almost Hobbit style houses (warning, do NOT click this Hobbit Style House weblink button – unless you want your head turned and to go on a unique adventure).

Anyway, with a little luck, you may obtain permission from the council to carve out a little of the large quarter acre site for your own dwelling in this style, as well as start a business selling unique type of Glamping Pods.

Again, just a thought.

Former Leisure Equipment Retail Site – Quarter Acre (c) 2012 Clive Emson

Auctioneer’s narrative:

Situated just off the A27, adjacent to the Haskins Garden Centre, this roughly rectangular plot extends to 0.27 acres (0.11 hectares) and at present trades as the “Leisure Trail” providing leisure and camping equipment. The site is considered suitable for continued retail/commercial use, or alternatively the site may be suitable for a number of future uses including re-development, subject to all the necessary consents being obtainable. Interested applicants are advised to make their own enquiries with the Local Planning Authority, the Southampton City Council, Civic Centre, Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 7LY. Council Planning Department Tel: 023 8083 2603.

Location: Former Leisure Equipment Retail Facility, Mansbridge Road, West End, Southampton, SO18 3HW.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £280,000 FAILED TO SELL AT AUCTION: 12-12-12: Lot 111.

Contact Clive Emson Auctioneers Tel: 0845 6036614 – Rob marchant or Dave Henwood.

Online Brochure ….


Old School – Not Old Fashioned.

The Old School, Knightsford Bridge (c) 2012 Knight Frank

This is a beautiful renovation of an old school in Worcester which is not old fashioned, but does pay respect to the earlier charms of this fine building.

Agent’s narrative:

A period character combined with modern living in the popular Teme Valley. The Old School is a wonderfully spacious and unique red brick period property dating back to 1888. It was converted into a house in 2000 and retains many original features. There is also a one bedroom annexe forming part of the property.

The Old School, Wonderful Galleried Feature (c) 2012 Knight Frank

The drawing/dining room is a unique and breathtaking space, being part vaulted to the roof with wonderful ecclesiastical windows to two sides flooding the room with light. The generous kitchen/breakfast room with original parquet flooring is well fitted and there is a door from the kitchen out to the rear terrace. From the drawing/dining room and kitchen, doorways lead through to the light garden room also with a door out to the rear and a study and cloakroom complete the ground floor accommodation. The generous master bedroom is galleried to the drawing/dining room with glass panelling and boasts a contemporary en suite shower room. There are three further bedrooms and a family bathroom.

The Old School, Knightsford Bridge (c) 2012 Knight Frank

Private gardens surround the property and there is parking and a detached double garage.

General Summary:-

4-5 Bedrooms

4-5 Reception Rooms

2-3 Bathrooms

Approximately 318.22 sqm

Garden & Patio

Secondary Accommodation

Private Parking

Location: The Old School, Knightsford Bridge, Knightwick, Worcester WR6 5PJ.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £550,000.

Contact Knight Frank Agencies Tel: 01905 746887 – Shelley Stephenson.

Online Brochure …


Gorgeous Gogar – Classic Castle 

Castle Gogar, Edinburgh (c) 2012 Savills

Every now and then something really nice comes along. This is one such building. A little richy rich on the price tag, but a wonderfully evocative structure, and in an excellent state. Even the Dungeon is a well appointed place to hang out. Here is the agency narrative:-

An immaculately restored castle set in the green belt. Castle Gogar is reached by a long, tree lined drive off the A8. The castle is set in approximately 3.6 acres of its own grounds with magnificent mature trees in a private setting in the designated green belt. Edinburgh city centre is six miles away and the airport is close by. There are traditional Scots Baronial façades. The southern elevation features a front facing crow step gable with spired roofs to the corbelled towers either side.

Castle Gogar, Comfortable Dungeon (c) 2012 Savills

Castle Gogar is believed to date from 1625 when it was built as a traditional L plan castle by the architect William Ayton for John Cowper. The property was extended in the mid 1700s and again in the 19th century when the Scots Baronial features such as the tower and turrets were added. Castle Gogar was owned for over 200 years by the Steel-Maitlands, until the death of the last family member in 2002. The Castle was restored by the previous owners who acquired it in 2003 whilst the present owners have made a number of considerable improvements. Internally the castle has been immaculately restored but retains many original features. These include the vaulted crypt (or reception hall) on the ground floor, turnpike staircases, turrets with arrow slots and battlements. The Georgian rooms include a magnificent double bow ended first floor drawing room and beautiful panelled hall and dining room. The refurbishment incorporated everything one could ask for in a luxurious modern home. All the windows have been replaced with Ventrola sash and case windows and a modern heating system has been installed behind period style radiator covers. New panelling has been added using solid European oak. The bathrooms are by Villeroy & Boch and Heritage, and the magnificent kitchen and master bedroom are by Clive Christian.

Castle Gogar, Interior (c) 2012 Savills

There is, in fact, so much accommodation housed in many unique rooms, that readers are advised to click on the weblink below to see the full narrative along with the fine range of photographs.

Castle Gogar, Four Poster (c) 2012 Savills

Summary Detail:-

5 Reception Rooms.

5 Bedrooms.

6 Bathrooms.

2 Bedroomed, Self Contained Wing.

Sun Room.



Temporary Gym & Games Room.

Grounds of About 3.65 Acres.

Landscaped Gardens.

Paddocks & Stables.

Castle Gogar, Tree House (c) 2012 Savills

Location: Castle Gogar, 180 Glasgow Road, Edinburgh, EH12 9BQ.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Equivalent of Freehold).

Guide: £2,900,000.

Contact Savills Tel: 0131 247 3700 – Ben Fox or Jamie Macnab.

Online Brochure & Nice Range of Photographs ……


Please remember, in addition to our weekly Unique Property Bulletin every Sunday at 9pm, we also have a Feature Article every two months to help you find some very unusual places to consider as a unique home. Our current FEATURE has been uploaded and is available via this link ….

Click Here for Current Unique Property FEATURE ARTICLE


Click Here For Previous BULLETIN


and finally….


Garry Neville’s Amazing Home Design (c) 2012 Make Architects & Co.

Here is a hugely imaginative design commissioned by footballer Garry Neville. Even though planning consent has been passed, the project has been halted by Mr Neville due to neighbour consideration issues.

If you know of an alternate location where this design could – and in our hope should – be built, please get in touch.

Gary Neville House Design Photo Montage


However you get on, please consider letting us know about your unique adventures?

You can do this via an email – just click HERE Thank you.


Unique Property Bulletin

Unique Property For Unique People

Air Fields, Air Control Towers, Aircraft Hulls, Air Raid Shelters, Amazing Spaces, Barns, Bridges, BT Telephone Exchanges, Bunkers, Canals, Canal Boats, Castles, Caves, Churches, Cinemas, Coastguard Towers, Container Houses, Customs Houses, Dams, Distilleries, Earth Dwellings, Engine Houses, Fire Stations, Foghorn Buildings, Gasometers, Harbours (For Ships), Helicopter Houses, Hospital Buildings, Hotel Buildings, Ice Houses, Infinite Spaces, Islands – Private, Islands – Small Community, Jails, Keepers’ Houses, Libraries, Lifeboat Stations, Lighthouses, Lodges, Lookout Defences, Loos, Martello Towers, Ministry of Defence Buildings, Movie Sets, Multi Storey Carparks, Nuclear Bunkers, Oil Rig Modules, Orangeries, Police Stations, Post Offices, Printing Works, Pubs, Pump Houses, Queen’s House, Railway Carriages, Railway Stations, Rocket Stations, Schools, Shipping Container Houses, Ships, Ship Hulls Landbased, Signal Boxes, Steam Houses, Stately Homes, Subterranean Dwellings, Tide Mills, Toll Houses, Town Halls, Tunnels, Underground Railway Carriages, Underground Stations, Unusual Eccentrics, Valve Houses, Walled Gardens, Warehouses, Water Towers, Vicarages, Water Works, Wild Cards, Winch Houses, Windmills, Wind Turbines, X Factor, Yachts, Zoos.

If we have missed anything, please email suggestions via our website….

Feel Free To Contact Us